Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Falling Apart & HOPE Bundle Winner Announcement

Ever since I got the Christmas Quilt bundle, I've been waiting to make this card.

Full disclosure - I have a well documented fear of sewing machines. So that was not my attraction to this bundle in the least. As a matter of fact, it's amazing that I could overcome my suturaphobia (I just made that up but feel free to use it liberally) in order to even buy this bundle.

But I did because its geometry called to me like a little siren might.

I saw color and graphic designs in its angular parts and pieces and my mind went instantly to all the gel prints I have on hand for just such projects.

Now because I have a curious mind, I had to ask my friend Mel what this pattern was, because it reminded me of some southwestern motifs I'd seen in New Mexico.

It's called a Lemoyne Star pattern, and it's actually named after the founders of New Orleans - Jean Baptiste and Pierre Lemoyne. It was quickly nicknamed Lemon, apparently. If you want to research quilt patterns without ever having to touch fabric, I really like this blog paired with Mel.

I had pulled a NOT Gel Press print out of my pile specifically for my friend Kelli's Falliday challenge today to use colorful paper pieces and set it aside weeks ago. I'm calling it a NOT Gel Press print because it's actually the cardstock I was cleaning my brayer with during a gel press printing session. Sometimes those are prettier than my prints, and this one was a heart stopper. That heat map look I so love. My sister and I had been printing with some of the fluorescent Cryl colors and I really loved how bright they were.

Now I went crazy on the eclipse technique for this one. It's hard to see in this photo, but there are four layers of cardstock for every piece of the quilt pattern underneath the top colorful layer. So it sticks up quite a big off the cardstock and is very dramatic. Fun to piece together while listening to my latest audiobook - Incendiary - which is fascinating. I thought the sentiment from Feather Together was MADE for this bundle too. Really sweet for an encouragement card.

I'm headed out for a much-needed few days of fun with my tribe, so be watching for shenanigans on Instagram and Facebook, and don't have too much fun without me!

And since I'm late announcing my Hope Bundle winners from this post, AND since this print was created during the printing session for today's card, here are my winners! I'll be shipping your bundles and donating in your names next week! Thank you for your entries - you are amazing people - I loved reading your comments - it was inspiring.

  1. Randa McNair
  2. Joanne Howard
  3. Francie Schlesinger
  4. Sharon Stewart
  5. Arianna Barbara
  6. Nicole Redden
  7. Helen Beattie
  8. Fonda Rush
  9. Geri Stuart
  10. Barb MacAskill


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Few Thoughts on Peace

Everyone wishes for peace at every possible human level unless they're just psychotic.

But even the non-psychotic people who wish for peace do so at a macro level, which isn't that effective.

For example - we all want "world peace." Meaning - far too big for one person to pull off, sort of "over there" peace - wherever big conflicts are happening, we wish they'd stop. That's macro peace.

But on a micro level, sometimes we don't even try - and especially online.

Let's take any random post about something very benign. (I'll avoid the number of legs on a snowflake stamp for the time being, since it's so controversial.) Let's say Sally posts something like "I like pumpkin spice lattes" with a colorful fall background - and Sally is happy. Instantly, all the pumpkin spice latte haters fill up her page with comments about how much her PSL has done to increase global warming, harm the pygmy micro-leopard in the Congo, and graphic descriptions comparing the taste of it to the taste of the underside of Voldemort's big toe. This is quite typical in social media - and I'm keeping it clean and mild here for my blog's sake.

This does nothing to achieve peace. Peace is what the like button is for. Peace is keeping some opinions (I know - this is unheard of) unspoken while you acknowledge Sally's free will, dignity as a human, and her joy in enjoying something she loves.

Peace is also not achieved by ranting on a company's Facebook page after you got onions on your cheeseburger.

Peace is not achieved by starting a post with "I never typically post about X, BUT..." What follows BUT is never good.

Peace is not achieved by pointing out in Sally's photo of her lunch with heart emoji in the description that she's using a straw, and thereby again endangering the pygmy micro-leopard. That conversation has another context, and it's not the one with the heart emojis on her Instagram account. That's the kind of conversation that should take place in person, and only among friends.

Peace in the modern world, in my opinion, is missing its other half - quiet. You can achieve a lot of peace just by being quiet sometimes. And I truly do believe that micro peace is how we get to macro peace. And probably also how we help save the pygmy micro-leopard, which I would care deeply about had I not just made it up.

If I were going to have any sort of leopard, it would be a micro one, because leopards are scary.

So I come in peace today. And quiet. The quiet of a little snow falling on a wintery village from a colored sky. The video of this from last week is here.

Hope you have a peaceful day. :)


Monday, October 16, 2017

Julee Loves Coffee

I think it's safe to say that my friend Julee - the owner of Verve, might have a coffee addiction.

I'm basing this purely on the stamps she designs, of course. If you are also a devotee of the bean, as am I - she has a bajillion coffee themed sentiments, which always come in handy. 27, to be exact.

I had a Derwent Inktense background on my desk when Falliday Fest started, and I thought I'd use the Coffee Cafe dies to cut it into a coffee cup for the holiday beverage challenge by Kathy Baffone. I know that I like to be super caffeinated for the whole Octobernovemberdecember BLUR, and I think you should be too!

I love that these dies come with the heart shaped stopper die. I cut it twice - once in red and once in black and glued them together. I used my MISTI to stamp the Java background from Better With You in a row in Smoky Slate, and did the same with the sentiment on the cup from Always Time in Versafine - I stamped this probably eight times because it's cold press watercolor paper. (Man, I made poorly inked cards before the MISTI.) The sentiment so perfectly fits that cup - it's like they were made for each other!

That's a good holiday wish for anybody. Strong coffee and light burdens. I hope that's what you get.

Speaking of holidays - my newest online class is available now - it features the Santa's Suit Bundle!
Also - on that same page - there's my new, searchable Stampin' Up! sentiment database - check it out!

Oh - and you can win my Arkon giveaway for October one of two ways. Simply place an order in my store using host code M2U9DE6V - and you will be automatically entered once.

Then fill out this form below and you will receive one entry - or a second entry if you placed an order. Entries close October 31st at 11:59 PM.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy Fall, Y'all!

I know I've been hitting Christmas hard lately, so I am rewinding to fall today with a card I actually finished quite a while ago.

The background is left over from a very fun video I did that you'll hear about soon. But in the meantime, I'll just torture you with this adorable fall card.

I went into shopping overdrive in September and I got a lot of cute stuff. With Falliday Fest happening, I always give myself permission to get some new stamps in here for the challenges - and I swear I do my favorite cards for these challenges. It's a combination of the time pressure, the inspiration that gets me out of my creative ruts, and the fact that there are 30 creative prompts during the event.

This particular challenge was by Lisa Swarm - who pretty much inspires me every day on Splitcoast. She's so creative and such a positive presence. Her challenge was perfect for a fall card - we had to use items that began with the letters in the word ORANGE.

So I used - (O)range Copics, (R)ed Copics, (A)lcohol Markers, (N)ew Neat & Tangled stamps, (G)reen Inktense blocks and of course (E)nergy in my little jumping mouse! We only had to use four of the letters, but as you know I suffer from Full Set Syndrome, so I couldn't quit at four! So Happy Fall, Y'all, from an energetic mouse!
Hello Pumpkin by UnderstandBlue

Isn't he the sweetest?

For the background, I just spritzed the Ornate Background Stamp with water, rubbed some Inktense blocks onto it and stamped it onto Bristol Vellum by actually putting the paper onto the stamp instead of the other way around - that's my favorite way to use big background stamps to make sure I get good contact. This one was just a "pick up" print - where I was actually done with the technique, and was cleaning the extra Inktense off the stamp by creating paler monoprints with what's left.

For some reason, I'm drawn to images of animals wearing hats and scarves. Or heck humans wearing hats and scarves. It's just so much FLAIR! But this mouse is especially dapper with his teal and white scarf. He's both formal and casual for his leaf jump.

We actually got a small taste of cooler weather this week - a few days in the 60's which is pretty cool for us. We're usually sweating in October, so it was a nice reprieve before it heats up again and all the little kiddos are melting under their Halloween costumes.

I hope fall is treating you well!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Festival of (Six) Lights

I'm always looking for ways to stretch my stamps - either by using them for a purpose other than what they are intended for, or by the things I pair them with.

When I was trying out Merry Patterns on my team FB live a few weekends ago, I thought it might be fun to give a Hanukkah feel to this winter set, so I set out to give it a general festival of lights feel, just with color and the little candles from the set.

(Now before all the snowflake leg counters revolt and get all bejiggity about the fact that there are only six, not nine candles on my card, please know that I give you permission to repeat three of the candles in the design for a more technically correct Hanukkah theme, however, this is a card, and a feeling, and no one will die with just six candles.)

One of the reasons I love Hanukkah crafting is there's sooooo much blue! So much lighter and prettier than all our heavy reds and greens. So I decided to make these two shades of blue.

The way these layering stamps line up is pure magic too - so clean and precise.

Merry Patterns by UnderstandBlue

Such a bright, clean bunch of cards you can make with this set! It would make a great one for mass producing holiday cards with the MISTI for sure.

This card is for one of today's Falliday Fest challenges - but you can barely see the challenge portion on my card because - white card problems - but the challenge is to score lines on your card. There are actually two parallel lines scored on each side of the card panel the images are stamped on. Squint really hard and you can see them!

I hope your week has gone well - it's finally Caturday! Enjoy it to the fullest!

You can enter to win my Arkon giveaway for October one of two ways. Simply place an order in my store using host code M2U9DE6V - and you will be automatically entered once.

Then fill out this form below and you will receive one entry - or a second entry if you placed an order. Entries close October 31st at 11:59 PM.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Dendritic Printing

Shannon Horch had an amazing challenge on Splitcoast for Falliday Fest this week on Dendritic Printing. It is such a fun technique and the samples in her challenge gallery are amazing and all so unique.

I decided I'd try a twist on the technique using my Gel Press plates today - because normally this technique is done between pieces of glass.

As a person who lives in a house that is 100% slate tiles, and as a person who owns two little wrecking ball felines, I didn't feel like sheets of glass would be in anyone's best interest, so I made do with what I had.

One of the most common questions we get at Splitcoast is "Will X work with Y?", where X is a product mentioned in a technique, and Y is a product that the person owns.

Our answer is always the same.

just try it.

For some reason, people are terrified of their own tools. Think about a Y-Chromosome human going to Home Depot one Sunday morning to buy a hammer. He buys the hammer and comes home and starts hitting things with it.

He does not spend three hours on the internet wondering if he can hit this or that or if he will break it. He just uses the tool.

We as creatives need to just use our tools. Don't make them too precious. Don't worry about breaking them. Don't worry about a right way and a wrong way - JUST TRY STUFF. Some of it will work, some of it won't, and you might ruin some stuff. None of that is a problem. There are always more things to try and nothing you do at your desk brings about the end times, I can assure you.

So for today's guest spot over at Gel Press, I decided just to try it. Try a softer surface than the traditional one for this technique. And no one died. AMAZING!

So what dendritic means is basically forms that branch sort of like a tree. This effect is achieved by squishing paint between two hard surfaces, then pulling them apart and using each side to pull a monoprint.

So I thought what if I sandwiched paint between two flexible gel plates?

It was so much fun. Here's the result of that which is very similar to the classic dendritic printing technique. (All supplies listed below the second card.) Doesn't it look like he's swimming past undersea plants?
Dendritic Printing by Understand Blue
Then I decided to try something with Distress Oxide reinkers and an acrylic medium just for grins. It gives a softer look but still has the motion created by the technique.
Dendritic Printing by Understand Blue

And finally - here's one I did for her challenge sample -  with a more spooky feel. I used orange and white paints on black cardstock. I stamped the gate in white and shaded with colored pencils, and then stamped the raven and the gravestone in black and shaded with a white pencil. The moon is fingerpainted. I love the teeny dendritic texture on this background. Looks like miasma, which is a word I've always wanted to be able to work into everyday conversation.
Dendritic Printing by Understand Blue

This was such a fun printing session. Well all printing sessions are fun - but I really enjoyed trying something totally new - exactly what I needed this week.

So speaking of things I needed - with the help of one of my team members - I have created a database of Stampin' Up! sentiment stamps and dies. Sometimes when I am designing projects for in person or online classes I sit down and I think - do I have a stamp that just says "hi"? And there's not a good way for me to get the answer to that without taking tons of time to flip through catalogs or look at all my stamps, and I just don't have time for that.

So I have a searchable Google Sheets Database available that has the current catalog and the holiday catalog, and this database will be updated with each new catalog from here forward. It has the page # in the catalog, a column for whether it is a stamp or die, the name of the stamp set, the actual sentiment, and what catalog it's in. You can use ctrl+f to search for whatever sentiment you're looking for.

If you purchase access to this, you will have access to all future catalogs added to the file - for as long as I'm maintaining the database. I've already saved so much time using this I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am about it.

To purchase access, you can use the button below. The email address on your PayPal payment will be the one granted access to the google document. Enjoy!

So now - enjoy my very laid back experimental video on this fun process. I love being surprised every time I lift the cardstock. It's just magic.

Oh - and you can win my Arkon giveaway for October one of two ways. Simply place an order in my store using host code M2U9DE6V - and you will be automatically entered once.

Then fill out this form below and you will receive one entry - or a second entry if you placed an order. Entries close October 31st at 11:59 PM.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Snowman Gang

I was playing with this design over the weekend and showed a sneak peek of it on Instagram and Facebook and made it look like the snowmen were sneaking up on this cardinal, like those creepy angels in Doctor Who.

It's funny how you can completely change the mood of something with creative photography.

However, now that it's out there, I have a confession to make.

Snowmen creep me out.

Not cute stampy snowmen - those are adorable. But real snowmen. They're right up there with scarecrows to me. Why have a fake "person" if it's sole intention is not to come to life and kill you in some wintery version of Children of the Corn?? The clown vibe is strong in those charcoal eyes - I'm telling you.

Thankfully I did not have to grow up with snowmen - they couldn't get to us to eat us when it was 90 degrees at Christmas. But you northern people - watch your backs!!!

But like many things that are scary in real life - spiders, bears, scarecrows and snowmen - they are ADORABLE as stamps.

So for today's card, I used Bev's masking challenge for Falliday Fest to make myself a little snowman community, with an ADORABLE cardinal in the foreground, just peeking in from the edge of the frame.

I also wanted to make my friend Debby Hughes a card, so I did this on a YUGE watercolor card - I have never made a UK sized card before - they like their cards big over there - and so I wanted to try it for Debbie. The cards are Strathmore Watercolor Cards with envelopes that I bought in Santa Fe.

I kept the color palette limited because a winter palette is limited - especially by snow. But snow also picks up beautiful environmental tints, so I used blues and purples on the snow - colors listed below.

This was fun, and I'm not even a little bit scared. This set - Merry & Bright - is part of the new Simon Says Stamp Holiday Release, which starts today. So fun. The sentiment is from Forever Friends.

Don't let those little guys sneak up on you!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hey Little Turkeys!!

Hey turkeys!!

I'm bringing you a rare 3D project today! Turkey and pumpkin pie always make me do crazy things, and I cannot resist a good turkey craft.

This project was designed by my friend Jean Cross, who is doing the tutorial today at Splitcoast, and asked if I could do the video for her.

Video the cutest turkey project ever? What kind of a crazy person says no to that? Not I, little turkeys. Not I.

So I decided to make a non-traditionally colored turkey, because that's how this turkey rolls - and I went for an elegant black and Soft Sky combo. You will see the traditional design in my video - but for now - behold my sassy and unique turkey table decoration! The papers I used are listed below. The real WONDER of this project is my amazing cordless glue gun! Wait till you see it in action!

Here's a view of his glorious fluffy tail feathers. Would these not be adorable name tags for your Thanksgiving table?

I made the video with glee for Jean's tutorial, which you can find here or below. It's such a quick and simple and cute project - how can you resist?

Come on over to Falliday Fest and play with us!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I went rogue on my friend Lori's Falliday Fest challenge because I had this adorable stamp sitting on my desk that I could not resist using.

Her challenge is to use a bird or feathers on your card.

Technically I did use feathers, because I'm pretty sure a small flying pig/bug/man creature's wings have feathers on them, but of course I can't be 100% certain, because I can't find one in the wild in order to study it.

These wonderful whimsical Zinis stamps jumped into my cart when I was buying the new colors of Paper Artsy Infusions.

I think the flying pigbugman actually flitted around my studio this weekend, because I can no longer find the Post-It® note that I wrote my Copic colors on for this card, so I am sorry - I don't have them. But it's pink, orange, yellow and green :).

To put this together, it actually took a few steps. I colored him first on marker paper. Then I cut him out - just his body and the little ends of his antennae. But he had all this scratchy detail I didn't want to lose around the edges and I definitely didn't want to fussy cut those antennae. So I cut the white panel with the Stitched Circles dies. I also cut a circle of the black & white paper from Merry Little Christmas. I glued the circle into the opening, making it a little tilted so his antennae would show up on those white squares. Then I put that into my MISTI and stamped him on the panel - hanging off each edge of the circle a bit. Then I glued down the paper pieced colored images on top of the stamp image. The sentiment is from Prairie Cheer from Power Poppy. I love that sentiment - it's so true. People spend too much time on themselves these days. Send a flying pigbugman to someone - I promise it will make them smile!

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh - and you can win my Arkon giveaway for October one of two ways. Simply place an order in my store using host code  - and you will be automatically entered once.

Then fill out this form below and you will receive one entry - or a second entry if you placed an order. Entries close October 31st at 11:59 PM.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Little Trees

I'm so glad Bob Ross is still being preserved in everyone's hearts! I LOVED that show when we finally got a TV in the 80s. I thought he was magical. I loved his calm, funny presence and just his perspective on life. I remember when I found out why he used that quiet voice, and I never would have guessed it.

Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, "tough" and "mean", "the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work", Ross decided that if he ever left the military, he would never scream again. (source)

How sweet is that? And his little mountain scenes were inspired by his time in the Air Force.

Just a great influence on everyone's life, that guy. I stream his show on Netflix while I paint just to hear his voice and quirky wisdom. It's so encouraging that an art show - and a really good art show is still so popular.

So the other day when my friend Rachel posted about this stamp set on Facebook, I could not click Buy It Now fast enough!

Did you squeal a little?? I hope you did! I DID!!

How cute is that???

This card was for Dina's challenge today - I had to pick a tutorial that started with the first letter of my name - so I chose our Layered Autumn Leaves tutorial because it's beautiful and it could not be more perfect!

I followed her tutorial pretty much to the letter, but I stamped and masked him first, and then when everything else was done, I removed the mask and Copic colored him with the colors above. Sorry - I know it's a lot of colors, but he's BOB ROSS!

Sitting behind me as I type this is this amazing Funko Pop Bob Ross doll,

and on its way to me is the Bob Ross board game - the Art of Chill

So many fun things, so little time.

I knew Dina would love my challenge sample because she loves him too. So I kept it a secret until this morning when her challenge is live. 

I hope you join us at Falliday Fest - Bob Ross would want you to.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Alcohol, Anyone?

No - not a drink silly heads - an INK!!!

Today is the first day of Falliday Fest over at Splitcoaststampers, and it's our favorite two weeks of the year! We have 30 challenges, starting today and going through the 21st, as well as FOUR card drives, and TEN falliday (fall & holiday) tutorials! So I hope you join us!

My challenge today was to pick one of the alcohol techniques out of the tutorials section (just put the word alcohol in the search box) - and there are so many fun ones. Also, our first tutorial of the fest today is on Alcohol Ink Baubles by Heather Telford. I loved that she cut hers into ornaments and holiday scenes, so I used her tutorial for my own challenge sample.

It's been a long time since I got my alcohol inks out and now I'm kicking myself because they are so beautiful.

I especially love them on synthetics like Yupo and Duralar - I used the latter here. You can also do it with glossy cardstock.

But basically I just played and then die cut my pieces with the dies listed below. The sentiment is from Watercolor Christmas and I triple love it!

I filmed my playtime, and in this short video you'll see some tips about timing your ink drops as well as how to get two very different textures on your finished project.

I hope you enjoy it!

Come join me and my friends for Falliday Fest too - it's a ton of fun - you can find lost mojo and get great holiday recipes and time saving tips, and of course the chance to win tons of prizes.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sassy Modern Deer Alert!

Happy World Cardmaking Day!!

This is such a fun crafty time of the year - WCMD kicks off the OFFICIAL holiday crafting season, after all.

I do get to spend today stamping with my crafty friends too.

Last Sunday, on my team Facebook live, I decided to try something fun with the new Merry Patterns Host promotion.

I LOVE this stamp set - it's so graphic and fun - and I decided to do a mashup of my two favorite colors right now - Flirty Flamingo and Lemon Lime Twist.

I think I actually screamed when I lifted the lid of the MISTI and beheld..... MY SASSY MODERN DEER. BEHOLD THIS AMAZING DEER.

I paired him with the Honey Bee Bless Your Heart Set for a big, bold dose of awesome. I will be using this color combo again.

Falliday Fest at Splitcoast starts tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!

Crafty goodness happening right now:

Our buy three get one free Designer Series Paper sale is on!

15% off notecards & envelopes and select stamp sets from today through the 10th. Details here.

Get the Merry Patterns stamp set free with a qualifying workshop - you can do this online, on Facebook, etc.

Now go out there and be sassy!

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