Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Oh Come Let Us Adore THE CAT - Inking Royalty Blog Hop

I am super excited today to be a part of Brian King's Inking Royalty blog hop!

Brian and I are sort of matchmade friends.

We met at Leadership a few years ago, but only after about 100% of all of our friends said we HAD to meet each other.

They were all right. We were meant to be friends. We have so much in common - notably, our snarky and offbeat sense of humor, and our shared desire for the internet to be a positive place where people can get a break from the world. We accept each other's differences (he doesn't like corn or glitter or watermelon, and I don't like sweet tea or politics or math) like people should - with a lot of teasing and a sense of humor, which is really something the world needs these days. I'm very grateful for his friendship and for the amazing design sense he has. He sometimes shares his work in progress with me and I'm always asking "WHAT PAPER IS THAT?" Because he finds and uses things in fun ways I'd never think of.

But mostly, he's just a really, really kind and funny person, and that's also something the world needs more of. So I'm super honored to be a guest in his Tricked Out Treats blog hop today.

Everyone on the hop today is featuring something fun from the Holiday catalog, and since I JUST (like just this minute) got back from the Blue Cat Cafe and Austin Pets Alive today, I had to make a cat card.

But my crazy twisted TRICK on this Halloween card, is that I'm using Christmas paper!

There was this magnificent black cat at the cat cafe today that was a rescue from Hurricane Harvey - he had long hair and a bobbed tail and was completely regal. So I thought the "O come, let us adore him" in the background of my black cat against a silver moon was hysterically funny.

That is, after all, what all cats demand. Not too much to ask, right?

I used two sets of thinlits to get the Boo sentiment - in the supply list above.

So please hop along the list below and see what other tricked out treats my friends have in store for you - Halloween is one of my favorite crafting seasons, and I know all of these ideas will be amazing - I can't wait to see them myself!
  1. Lydia Fiedler at Understand Blue<< you are here

  2. Brian King at Stamp with Brian

  3. Jennifer Spiller at Westside Paper Creations

  4. Julie DiMatteo at The Paper Pixie

  5. Lisa Pretto at Ink Big Academy Stamps

  6. Shawn de Oliveira at Shawn Stamps

  7. Lynn Kolcun at Avery's Owlery

  8. Sheryl Sharp at Sharp Notes by Sheryl

  9. Robin Myren at Songbird Designs by Robin

  10. Racheal Shedeed at Bluebonnet Stampin'

  11. Jackie Beers at Blue Line Stamping

  12. Karen Browning at Karen Z Browning

  13. Candy Ford at Stamp Candy


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Witch Way To the Candy?

For the last few years, I've really focused on stamping each season in its time, because I always felt like I didn't devote enough time to Halloween and autumn/Thanksgiving projects. So I've tried to really balance my blog calendar and not letting Christmas run over these fun fall stampportunities. :)

So today is exciting because there's a special Simon Says Stamp Halloween kit being released right this minute!! This kit isn't part of their normal subscription - it's a special release and it's while supplies last, so don't miss out if you love Halloween as much as I do! The really cool thing about the thinlit that matches the kitty in the stamp set is that it EXACTLY matches the stamp - no border. So it's hard to tell what I did here, but I actually used the die to cut a hole in my galaxy background, and then I placed that frame around the stamped image on a piece of white cardstock that is behind the watercolored background piece - THAT is how perfectly the die matches the image. I created the background with Infusions and my spritzer, and when it was dry - I splattered it with white ink - all this is listed below. Then I used a Copic multiliner to etch the image with my stamp etching technique - adding those little lines. I used the spiderweb paper and black card base from the kit to finish it off. BUT WAIT - see the buckle on the kitty's hat? THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK! You get two small bottles of Nuvo Glow Drops in the kit - SQUEE! Here you can see a picture I took of it in the dark. So fun. I listed all supplies for both cards under the first photo. Some of the consumables will be available even after the exclusive kit sells out.

For the next card, I just wanted a simple black cat. So I embossed the cat image in white on watercolor paper, and then went back with the Infusions, lightening the kitty's face just a bit to reveal that sagey green that's in the black powder, because it's a perfect match for the pale green in the plaid paper in the kit, called Bootiful Night. I attached one of the braddies from the kit - I just removed the prongs and stuck two dimensionals behind the brad since I was attaching it to the card base and didn't want the legs of the brad to show on the inside of the card. It's so cute and glittery.

This kit is a while supplies last item, so if you like it, grab it! Here's a photo of the contents:

And check out the Simon blog for more inspiration from their designers - I can't wait to see it.


Gel ImPRESSionism Technique

I invented a technique I think you're going to love! I'm actually teaching it today at my retreat and I can't wait until they find out that they all will get to keep the Gel Presses they are using in class, thanks to the generous sponsorship by Gel Press

Would you believe me if I told you I created this beautiful, impressionistic painterly scene in two minutes? Tell the truth. I'll know if you're lying.

Well you'd better get your believe pants on, because it's true. When I came up with this, I seriously SQUEALED so loudly I scared myself. It's easy and beautiful. So here's the video - enjoy! But don't blink - it's QUICK. The sample above was created with the 3x5 press - because that's what we are using at retreat. I actually like that one better. However, if you're working on a larger card or want to cover more of it, use the 5x7 press I used in the video.

I hope you enjoyed that!

A few reminders -
  • I have a new online class available - you can see it here
  • This month's host code is  M2U9DE6V - use that when ordering for your chance to receive free products! 
  • We have the most adorable exclusive, limited time stamp set in promotion right now - see the details here

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Breaking Stamptember News!

I'm sneaking in a late night bulletin! Tonight's Stamptember release at Simon Says Stamp includes an EXCLUSIVE collaboration with my favorite people - Concord & 9th!

You guys know how much I love Greg & Angie, so I'm super excited to be showing you their new "Oh Hello" set with a ton of watercolor style elements and fun sentiments.

I just got done with Online Card Classes Rainbow Maker Class so I'm sort of in rainbow mode, and I thought this set was perfect for making rainbows.

On this first card, I used the largest image in the stamp set to overlap Distress Oxide Inks (listed below the card) in a traditional rainbow. Then I used my mister bottle with water and some Perfect Pearls mixed in to move the Oxides around, blend them and make them atmospheric. I love this look! The stamp images give it a structure, and the misting makes it abstract. The sentiments in this set are mix and match, so I picked a good one for a birthday card since I have someone in mind. Those beautiful sequins are from Neat & Tangled.

Here's so you believe me that this is super shimmery. Oh - and notice my fancy blue MISTI? My Sweet Petunia sells replacement tape rulers for the MISTI now in Turquoise and white so that you can customize yours AND make it match your studio bag! And I got her fancy new bar magnet last week. I LOVE IT. Both of those are in the supply list above.

For the next card, I went with dye ink and a reverse rainbow. Look how pretty it is flipped! I used several different brands of ink to try to get the purest of each color. Love the little triangles in the set.

I set the card panel up in my MISTI horizontally on the long side and centered the circle from the set. Then I just moved it to each side a bit for the next circle so they are all perfectly level. I stamped most of them several times to get a good solid image.

And then, because I couldn't resist.... a little creative masking of Oh, Hello for a custom sentiment. This card pretty much sums up my feelings about this hurricane season.

If you love this set as much as I do - you need to hurry. It's while supplies last, as are all their exclusive collaborations. You can see all of them here.

Now I'm off to bed! Remember Florida and the British Virgin Islands in your prayers tonight - they need it.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Noveau Retiform Technique

Today I'm the guest tutorial author at Splitcoast and I have such a fun technique for you.

Back in the olden days, when I had to walk to school wrapped in a wet sheet, uphill both ways and whatnot, there was a very popular technique called Retiform, where you would mask off sections of your card, and fill them both with sponged ink and with stamped images, to make an overall geometric collage pattern.

Back then, this was considered super arty and edgy. Here's a gallery of samples. As I did with the shaving cream technique not too long ago, I decided to modernize this technique a bit with stencils. You can make anything new again with all the fabulous stencils on the market. I also found that using a Rollagraph® wheel made the collage portion of this technique a snap. I call it Noveau Retiform.

In the olden days, when we had to cut down trees to make the blocks for our own stamps, this technique typically used earth toned colors - warm browns and rusts to give sort of a vintage feel, which I also changed up to be a bright, happy color scheme for my adorable little fox. In the video below you'll see how easy this is and no Post-it® notes required!

I made a quick video of this technique - and step by step instructions are available at Splitcoast as well.

I also decided to play around with the super fun Doll Faces wheel too since I had the handle out - first with a snarky card, where I masked out the floral border from Big on Birthdays just to leave the snarky sentiment. Then I paired that with a Cathy Zielske set, which is also hilarious. Cracks me up. I used the Pick a Pattern Washi and just kept it simple in black and white.

Then for my last Doll Faces card, I kept it a little more traditional, with a light watercolor on Bristol and a sentiment from Colorful Seasons.

I hope you go check out the step by step tutorial on Splitcoast today, and if you are in the path of Irma - I hope you are safe this week!

Speaking of Irma - my friends at Concord & 9th are being amazing as usual. 100% of their profits from their hope bundle to relief efforts for Houston for the entire month of September. So please take a look at that awesome bundle - I like when buying craft supplies helps people! Proud to call these people my friends!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Not Today, Orange and Brown - NOT TODAY! My Monthly Hero Hop and Giveaway

I know you've seen the news about Hurricane Harvey and what's happened in Houston. But I wanted to tell you some things you might not know about Texas and about Texans.

I was born in New York, but my parents moved to Texas on my third birthday, so as one of our bumper stickers says - I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. Even as a three year old, I wasn't ready for the state. For the first little while (my birthday is in August), I would faint in the heat. They put a big hat and gloves on me. But that didn't last long - I think you acclimate to heat faster than cold, and I never knew anything else but Texas from then on.

All my life, though, I of course noticed we were stereotyped - even as a young child I felt it. We were "flyover country", I heard that in every election of my life. Or we were rednecks. Or people made fun of us when someone with an accent was interviewed after a tornado. Even the show Dallas made fun of us. I always felt like the only movie that didn't was Giant, and I loved that movie. John Wayne too, respected Texas, as did James Michener and Larry McMurtry.

When I went to college (back to upstate New York), I saw people mentally subtract 20 points from my IQ when I opened my mouth and my y'all came out. People asked me if I rode a horse to school. Also - all the boys thought I was in love with them because I would make eye contact and say hi to every single person I passed. Sorry boys - I'm just friendly! Texas is, in fact, so different from New York, that a sparkly belt can mean people mistake you for a hooker - true story here.

In a class my freshman year, on the first day, during introductions, my professor actually MOCKED me - repeated what I said trying to recreate my accent. I stood up, described specifically what he could do with himself (much to the surprise of my acceptably accented New York classmates) and stomped to the Dean's office to drop the class and unload a tirade which I'm quite sure his grandchildren heard about. Texans know how to take care of themselves, which is what you're seeing on the news. You have to in a place of extremes. I grew up with strange creatures in my yard - horny toads, zebra beetles, roaches the size of Louisiana, copperhead snakes our dog would guard us from, poisonous caterpillars (learned that when I caught one in preschool and the teacher wigged out, put it in a jar and lectured us for an hour), giant crawdads marching up the street from the creek, butterflies the size of your head, tornadoes, hurricanes and on and on. Most of the things in the environment here are trying to kill you, and the rest are really, really beautiful.

From first grade through twelfth, we learned Texas history. Yes, there's that much of it. We were our own country after all - I still refer to my home state as the Great Republic. Even our amusement park tips its hat to our history - Six Flags Over Texas. Did you know Texas has the authority to divide into up to five states without federal approval? Has your state had a war for independence from Mexico? My schools were named after, among other things, presidents of our former Republic. PRESIDENTS. I went to Sul Ross elementary, Lamar middle school, Stephen F. Austin junior high.

I tell you all that because what you need to know about Texans is that we identify as Texans first before anything else. It's stronger than our national identity or any other group we are a part of. Even outside of this country, if someone asks me where I'm from, I don't say America, or Austin - I say Texas. And for this reason, our fellow Texans are the most precious living things in the entire world. THAT is why you see what you see in Texas right now. THAT is why our awesome grocery store chain, HEB, were the real first responders, and that's why the guy in the monster truck pulling a submerged Army vehicle out of the flood waters, or the guy in the bass boat, are our heroes. That's why it doesn't matter if people make fun of those exact people when you see them on TV. We know exactly who they are. They are our neighbors. They are our fellow Texans. And if they need help, we will help them. And if we need help, they will help us. And yes, without stopping to ask who they voted for, or what color they are, or who they are married to. That is who we are. And as Larry McMurtry said in 1968 "Texas is rich in unredeemed dreams." There's more where all this is coming from. We thank you for your prayers, donations, cards and well wishes. And we say thank you for applauding the character of the people of our great state. They deserve it.

NOW to some very exciting  crafty news - IT'S MY MONTHLY HERO DAY!!! It's so exciting when their kit lines up with a seasonal theme, and that's the case this month - it's all about fall.

In the spirit of Texas independence though - this year I'm liberating myself from fall colors and going 100% rogue. I'm focusing on bright, happy colors on my fall cards, and it's amazing what a difference it makes - it really helps show you how you can use your traditional fall imagery all year. Also - where I live in Texas, we don't have fall. We don't have much besides summer - so I can make this imaginary fall thing any color I want. BOOYA.

So let's start, before the kit sells out. I will start with the kit, because it's while supplies last - but remember - the add-ons are NOT limited time, so you don't have to worry about them selling out.

THE KIT IS AMAZING! I love sunflowers, and by all means - please make them blue :).

The flowers in the kit are layering, and come with matching dies, and oh. my. gosh. are they heavenly. LOOK AT THEM IN BLUES!!! (inks listed below). I used the coordinating dies from the kit, and I thought the sentiment looked nice in Indigo instead of black. See below for the unexpected color combo on the stalks and leaves!

BE STILL MY HEART on the add-ons! Geez Louise - if a company asked me what I thought would be the perfect stamp - my answer would be A STARRY NIGHT SKY. Starry Night is absolutely my favorite piece of art on earth. I love how Van Gogh saw the world, and I truly do believe he painted what he saw. If you love Van Gogh as much as I do and want to cry your eyes right out feeling like you get a glimpse inside his head, please watch this - it's beautiful. The full episode is also amazing.

I embossed the background with white embossing powder on watercolor paper, and then watercolored it with Daniel Smith watercolor (colors below). Then I used the Oval Infinity dies to cut a piece of watercolor paper for a little planet, and watercolored that and the kitty. The sentiment is from Dream Big and the kitty is from the Purr bundle. I love this card, I'm not gonna lie. And combining Neutral Tint with bright colors (or any colors) is something I never grow tired of - that's what I did on the planet with New Gamboge.

Now back to fall with a bright pop of pink! I had a Gel Press print that I had done with Quinacridone Pink paint that I dug out of my print pile so I could make the card that was in my head - just a high contrast, unexpected combo for fall. I inlaid just half of the inner pieces of the Autumn Icons die cuts in white - each of them are exactly divided into balanced halves, so I thought it would be fun just to do half. The sentiment is from the add-on set Color Layering Thanksgiving.

Now the next one really actually gets me in the feels even though it's hilarious. My sweet friend Angelique tweeted me a link to the sweetest birthday blog hop ever, from long ago, before my friend Leslie passed away. These were the BEST days on Twitter, and I treasure my friends from there so much. Our mascot became the blue squirrel from thence forward, and so when I saw this particular add-on, I knew that I had to make this snarky card for Leslie, and Angelique and that unique community that developed in such an unlikely place - the confines of 140 characters. So happy freakin' birthday, weirdo. :) I got you a blue squirrel. 

I masked the Color Layering Squirrel after I stamped him, and then stamped the nuts. He is GLORIOUS. I used the Circle infinity dies to cut a white circle and then a blue circle that I created with direct to paper using Summer Sky ink (also used on the squirrel). SO CUTE. SQUIRRELS DO NOT HAVE TO BE BROWN. The sentiment is Irreverent Birthday Messages.

Next up - a rainbow pumpkin! This die is from  Autumn Icons again, and I thought I'd try a watercolor die cut inlay. So I cut one pumpkin in black and one in watercolor paper. I watercolored the watercolor paper one and pieced it back in. I've linked to the watercolor below, but the colors I used are Quinacridone Pink, New Gamboge, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Aussie Red Gold. Then I used a grey pencil (below) to shade each section to give it dimension. I used my stencil brushes to create the background with the Glorious Petal stencil and Soft Granite Ink. The layers were cut with the Oval Infinity Dies and the sentiment is from the kit.

Now to the one that started my whole fiendishly bright fall trend - THE POP ART SQUIRREL CARD. I thought it would be fun to deconstruct the layered squirrel into three separate images and feature them on pop art colors. Now there was a tragedy on the way to this card. First, I masked off the squares using this tape on this cardstock. Then I painted each square with the colors of Radiant watercolor listed below. THEN I SPILLED A WHOLE BOTTLE OF PEACOCK BLUE RADIANT WATERCOLOR ONTO THE CARD. I did not cry but I may have cussed a little. However, I realized through the disaster, that that was the wrong color anyway, so when I redid it I did it with a much better blue. I left the tape in place and stamped the squirrel layers in Versafine before removing the tape. So hilarious. The Radiant colors used are Fuchsia, Chartreuse, Daffodil Yellow and Tangerine.

Finally - what fall card lineup is complete without cats?? I die cut the cats from Luna the Halloween Cat Stamp Set and matching Frame Cuts using watercolor paper and painted them and the hat and kettle. Then I glued them all down and stamped the bubbles in Green Apple ink. The hat and the kettle are popped up on dimensionals - you can see the shadows. The rest are glued down.

So want to see even MORE inspiration and have your chance to win the kit? Or a refund if you've purchased it. All you have to do is comment on every stop on the hop by 9/11 at 11:59 PM PT!

Here's what's in the kit:
Kit contents
1 6" x 8" Color Layering Clear Stamp Set
8 Coordinating Frame cuts
5 Ink cubes (Butter Bar, Cup O’ Joe, Orange Soda, Pumpkin Pie and Tangerine)
2 Brass sunflower charms 
2 Brass leaf charms
2 5.5" x 8.5" Pumpkin Vellum 30lb
2 5.5" x 8.5" Moonrock Cardstock 80lb

The kit value is $70, an amazing deal at $34.99. So go see my friends!

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