Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THE BIG REVEAL!!!

Well here you are!! It must be 2009!!

Thanks for stopping by - here are the secrets I've kept from you!!

My new blog launches today, on Day One of 2009!


It's called Project Reanimate and is something I've wanted to do for a long time. It begins with the fact that I've never liked the buzzwords for recycling. I don't even like recycling - it makes it sound like my water bottle was inevitably going to become a grocery bag, and that is not quite true. I don't like "green" for everything everyone does either. First of all, if I were naming it, it would be blue. But green doesn't really make sense if you're taking old tires and turning them into asphalt. Because if there's anything that's not green - it's asphalt!!! Finally, I don't like recycling things just to celebrate the process of recycling. I mean - I don't want a coat rack made out of toilet brushes - you know what I mean?

So when I made my bunny trees, and my cards with that old Red Clark on the Border book, I really tried to think about what I was actually doing. Each time I "recycled" something, I gave a little nod to what it had been in its former life. So on the bunny tree, I told you that it amused me because the magazines had started as trees, and then were magazines, and then I turned them back into trees! It tickled me, and it served a functional and fun purpose in my art. Same with the Christmas card made from the cover of my book of Christmas stamps.

I wanted to re-animate the thing they were at their core and be very playful, and still have pretty or cute or fun things that appealed to my peers. So I hope you'll join me.

Click here for the first project. I think you'll recognize me in there somewhere. ;)

SECOND - I got promoted!!! I'm so excited about this I can hardly stand it!! I have moved onto the real, grown up, serious Design Team at Starving Artistamps from my guest designer status!! You guys know how much I have loved working with the Doodle Factory images, the gorgeous natural images Tracey has created, and my beloved aboriginal creatures from Red Castle. I will get the opportunity to use many more of this great company's artwork soon, and be a part of a crazy talented team with people that just awe me. I'm very very grateful to start the year with this good news!

And, I've been sitting on this for a while until I completed some things I needed to get done - I WON SOMETHING VERY FABULOUS!!

I won a spot in the Indie Craft Showcase at the CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) show in Anaheim later this month!!!!!!!!!

And what is so cool about how a plan comes together, is that I won it with a Project Reanimate card! A bunny tree.

And if there's anything in the world I love with all my heart, it's a bunny under a tree! So thank you, universe, for rewarding that love!

I'll keep the exact card under wraps until it shows up on the Project Reanimate blog, but I will be at CHA, and so please tune in for updates from the show floor and the Indie Craft showcase!

Thank you for sharing my excitement over these small and wonderful things!

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year, a Big Reveal, and Two Used Kittens!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Are you ready for the big countdown?? I am! Of course I'll probably be asleep by 9, but you know what I mean!

So, to celebrate, on the stroke of midnight, I will be revealing three things:

1) MY NEW BLOG!! This is a new venture, and will be in
addition to this blog, but with a slightly different focus that I think you are going to LOVE. We will see. So come back here at the first signs of 2009 and get ready to click over to the new place!!

2) My promotion


3) My exciting news!!


Gosh it's almost too much!!


Add that to a fabby lunch with my upline today, and you have a perfect day!

Pam, Pamelita, or Spam as I affectionately call her, brought me these amazing pressies - she always makes us presents for Leadership. And the thing about her stamping that made me sign up in the first place to be a Stampin' Up demonstrator is her technical perfection. Her projects, like this one, are always flawless, perfectly coordinated and insanely cute.

This adorable gift bag had a little notebook for my trip, a jar of M&Ms and STARBUCKS GIFT CARD! Love you Spam!!

Do you think I'll get blog spam because I just typed spam like 30 million times? I hope not!!

Moving on, does anyone need two slightly used kittens? They always sit just like this, perfectly calm. They NEVER break vases, drag out yarn balls and eat them and make you pull 6 feet of yarn out of their mouths/bellies in something resembling a horror movie, or steal all your pom poms and hide them under the bed with Punky so that they can torture them when you're trying to sleep. They also never shoot around like popcorn on your bed after lights out or jump up from the floor to the top of your head while you're drying your hair, and then, alarmed by the hairdryer, they never extend their claws into your brain case and cause you to have repressed memories, an eye twitch and cranial bleeding.

If they did any of those things I certainly would not be offering them to you, my readers!!

Okay of course I would never give these loveable beasts away!! But they did do all of those things today, in addition to shedding fangs EVERYWHERE - it looked like a dental horror movie in here - they must be like SHARKS. Geez. But then they crawled up on me and purred and fell asleep and *sigh* - I loved them again.

Here's the first sneak peek of my UBlue Cyber Club/Hostess Club projects for January - have you signed up yet? If not, click here!!

I also wanted to say thank you for your friendship and comments this year. You have made my stamping time so much fun, and I'm so grateful for the new friends I have. I hope to "see" you all here in the coming year, and hope you have a happy, crafty, safe and prosperous 2009.

Well that's it for a few hours!! Don't forget to come back!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Madagascar Circus Cat Performing Live Nightly

But first - my sister's handmade gift this Christmas. It's a felted sweater beer coozie. She bought wool sweaters from Goodwill and felted them - washing them hot, and shrinking them down to leprechaun size, and then cutting the sleeves to make the perfect drink sleeves. They are AWESOME. And she rightfully points out on this one - It is also fuzzy. Doesn't get better than that.


Then, some scenes from the show playing nightly in my living room with the Madagascar Bat.

She works for Cheetos.

Check out these moves. Hard to tell in the photo, but she's FEET off the ground. Trying to catch her pom pom mommy that she loves so much.




I feel so good about myself today. I went from 1200 emails in my inbox to 23! I categorized, deleted and archived the heck out of myself.

Same with my reader - 112 I have been saving turned into just 4 that I want to make for club etc this week.

Three very exciting announcements coming up I can't WAIT to tell you about!!!

I won't even give you a hint.

Well yes I will.

I have a second blog debuting on January 1st. I think you will really like the theme!!

So just a few days till you find out!!

Then, partly because of that, a very exciting win for yours truly that.. well, you'll have to wait.

THEN - a stamping promotion!! (not a sale, a promotion for me!)

But that is enough hints for now. You just sit tight.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The UBlue Cyber Club and a WINNER!!! (or two...)

WOW - you guys are GOOD. Stay tuned for the answer to the blue vestments riddle, the winner, and why you are the best blog readers in the universe.

But first - an exciting announcement!!!

Many of you have asked me how to join my hostess club from distant lands, so in response, I have created the UBlue Cyber Club!

Here are the deets:

  • Beginning in January, I will no longer post my hostess club projects on my website. This will make my hostesses even more special than they already are, and it's a way to reward them and say thanks for participating.
  • Every participant of the club and virtual club will receive a PDF via email with color photos and detailed instructions for each project, as well as the cardstock and mailable accessories (brads, ribbon, etc.) needed to make the cards/gifts. Obviously, stamp sets, punches, etc. will not be included.
  • Remote participants will have three options to participate:
  1. Club Light - PDF + Instructions - $5 per PDF, no ongoing commitment, no strings, but no hostess benefits. Back issues available.
  2. Just the Facts - PDF + instructions + supplies - $10 per club, no ongoing commitment, no strings, but no hostess benefits.
  3. Lay it on Me - PDF, + instructions + supplies + hostess benefits - no fee, but a $25 minimum product order required monthly, prior to the start of club, with a commitment for 6 months.
  4. I'm so Mysterious - PDF + instructions + supplies + a chance at mystery hostess - no fee, but anyone who places a $50 order will go into a drawing for one month's hostess bennies - no ongoing commitment.
To enroll in any of the three clubs - all you have to do is email me.

The January club is January 3rd, so any Lay it On Me people will need to lay it on me by January 2nd! I will be posting sneak peeks of the projects between now and then.

So email me - can't wait to get you in the CyberClub!

So now on to today's mystery.

Wow - you guys are good.

A little background. I was raised Lutheran, and am a closet Catholic. The only thing that prevents me from becoming a full fledged Catholic is the fact that they have abbreviated the Lord's Prayer, and so I embarass myself regularly at Catholic weddings, by bellowing out that last bit after everyone else has stopped talking. Shocking for all involved. :) Well, and maybe this....

Blue vestments are not only not allowed in the Roman Catholic Church, they are forbidden contraband!! There are numerous quite passionate essays on the subject all over the internet. The Catholic Church uses violet twice - at Lent and during Advent - one of only five accepted vestment colors. Lutherans typically use blue, the color of hope, at Advent and stick to violet at Lent. For Catholics, the color violet is the color of a bit of gloom and mortification, and the only break, as in the Lutheran church, is a bit of pink - for Lutherans, the Rose of Sharon color, during the darker violet seasons.

However, in the Russian Orthodox church tradition as well as some Catholic traditions in South America feasts of the Virgin, the fifth Friday of Lent and other celebrations call for both light and dark blue, and in some traditions, not Roman Catholic, Indigo is seen as a variation of violet and is acceptable during Advent or Lent.

So, as tricky as my question was, the answer is steeped in a Lutheran tradition, where Advent is marked by the color of hope. You guys outdid yourselves!!

Anyone who commented and sends me an address will receive something - because I am impressed!!

Finally, I simply give to you, in a gorgeous blue & yellow number, our Pope, and congratulate Snappy Stamper and Kathie T who tied for the first correct answer! And Kathie, since you are Catholic, if you haven't read Peggy Noonan's book John Paul the Great - you will LOVE it!
Have a great evening!

Oh, and PS..


Since my nephew didn't know (he had a shocked and horrified "but I have believed Santa was real all my life" look on his face when I told him) I thought maybe some of you might not either. He is 21 and has escaped this knowledge for more than two decades.

The 12 days of Christmas is not the 12 days BEFORE Christmas, but in fact the days between Christmas and Epiphany - January 6th is Epiphany. White is the liturgical color for Epiphany.

I bought an extra stamping magazine (again!!) and will give it to the first person who knows when the vestments are typically changed to BLUE.

So there you go.

You also may not know that craft people do better in a recession, so fear not. I signed up to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator in May of 2001. The economic downturn after 9/11 followed closely, and my first two years still stand as my most successful years in my business.

Here's a little article that backs me up.

More Handmade Christmas Cards

Here are a few more cards from friends. On the closeup shot, notice how Shanna put a little dot of glitter on each one of the little patterns on the DSP - WOW.

Hope you don't have to work today (like me, grrr....)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

For the Love of.... (?)

I saw this today:

Then I will reflect upon myself, and consider, according to all reason and justice, what I
ought to offer the Divine Majesty, that is, all I possess and myself with it. Thus, as one
would do who is moved by great feeling, I will make this offering of myself.


And it made me think. And then it made me think of this:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a
single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".


The second one is from my beloved Erma Bombeck. If you have not read any of her books, you need to run right out and buy them all. You will laugh until you cry. She did use everything he gave her.

When you gave me your Christmas wishes, they were very much about love. Love of your art (more space to create it in) and love of all creatures, great and small. Creative people just LOVE things, living and inanimate. Owls, yarn, paint, paper, felted sushi, beads, buttons - I could go on all day.

Make an offering of yourself every day - don't get too busy. It's almost a new year, and you can fill 2009 with your divine given talent and make a lot of people smile.

So, in hopes of a smile, I offer you today, a beLOVEd fuzzy bird.

I used regular old craft felt (50% off at Hobby Lobby right now, btw) and my Sizzix Birds & Blossoms die - (the one I used on my Christmas card) to create my fuzzy black bird with a fuzzy pink wing.

Then, I stuck his fuzzy little butt onto an 4" square notecard I made out of our white textured cardstock.

I embossed the word "LOVE" and the bracket with my Empressor tool and the Punches Plus and Floral Frenzy Classy Brass templates.

I added a strip of a pink paint chip for a little more color, and a teeny rhinestone for his eye.

You know who loves my fuzzy bird? Two of God's most beloved creatures - teeny white wabbits. I got these heart squeezing little bunnies from Creative Thursday's Etsy Shop - have you seen her work? Her little paintings just steal me, and when you see this picture (click to see) I'm pretty sure you'll know why I had to have these little critters.

Hope you LOVE em as much as I do.

My secret blog project should launch in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Festivus!!!

Today I think I will celebrate Festivus for the rest of us. Please join me!!



On Festivus, I like to stuff myself with pie and do crafts. Wow - Festivus should last longer!!!

Note to self - go get some pie & Redi-Whip.

Now, on to the crafts. I'm pretty sure the fam won't peek before our gathering today, so I'll post the handmade Festivus gifts..

Remember way back when we all first discovered Stampin' Up! and the first thing we did was stamp little things and make magnets with Crystal Effects?

Well, I loved those, and so I went through my trusty Martha Stewart Living Magazine (Halloween edition) with my 1/2" circle punch and found some cute images to make magnets with this year.

My absolute fave was a dog food ad that had 4011 images of the can with this cute dog on it. I punched them out cuz I knew my sis would love that dog - it looks kind of like her beasts.

Then there were some other fun ones, like a teeny Home Depot, a little flirty M&M, a black cat - I couldn't stop punching!!!

Here are the steps. Get some:

  • Strong little magnets - mine were 3/4" magnets - made in the good old USA. 51 of them for $2.99.
  • Floral flat bottomed marbles - 2 lbs of them for $2.47. Unfortunately - made in China. I used 51 of them and it didn't even make a dent in the bag - huge bargain.
  • Crystal effects, or clear hobby silicone.

Now I could have used my 3/4" circle punch so that the image was the same size as the magnet, but the marbles are irregular, and slightly smaller than the magnets - what you don't want is paper sticking out the edge that will wear and be ugly. So I chose a smaller image that is completely covered by the marble.

Using a toothpick, smear your chosen adhesive on the magnet.

Gently press your image into it until the image is flat and centered.

Then, put a little bead of your adhesive on top of your image - you'll get a feel for how much is perfect after a few.

Take your marble, and gently press the flat side down onto the adhesive and apply even pressure until the adhesive moves all the way out to cover the edges of the marble. This will push any air bubbles to the edge. It's kind of magical to watch! Be sure you watch and make sure the adhesive gets all over the image though - it will leave a void if it doesn't.

Set aside to dry. You probably need at least several hours - overnight in a dry place would be ideal.

Please note - magnets are gross. Your hands will be all black and nasty after 51 of these, but it comes right off. I looked like a mechanic.

Take a look at some of these.. I love the little Campbell's Soup one and the green LeCreuset pot.

I took the little tins that I got at Memento Mall that had those cute Stampin' Up! pink binder clips in them and put five magnets in each tin. More than that and they all repel each other and don't stick to the tin. They are very strong magnets.

I decorated the outside with Ski Slope DSP and Patty Bennett's adorable penguins.

Then I baggged them up in some gorgeous blue lunchbags I got from Target (are they reading my mind?) and popped my little bookmarks in there and I think I'm all ready for Festivus!! How about you??

Christmas II


Saturday is the Christmas with my family - the parental units and siblings.

I have SUCH fun handmade things I hope to finish prior to 1:30 tomorrow to be ready in time! I will post pics on Sunday I hope! They're super cool.

In the meantime, I'd like to say thank you to the people who sent me handmade Christmas cards this year - each year, the number of people who send handmade cards grows, which makes me happier than you can imagine.

And the fact that you guys took the time to send me a little note just gets a downright glow.

There are many many more that aren't stamped that I love so much, but I know you guys want to see STAMPS! So enjoy the art of your colleagues. What talented friends I have.

You guys are too good.

Look at these beauties.

T G I Weekend!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Start Your Day With Battery Acid!!

I mean, I'm not recommending that or anything, but that's what I did.

I have a wireless mouse. (Had). It was snarky this morning, and so I figured the batteries were dead. So I pressed the little reset button on the botton and it continued snarking. Miffed that I had to replace the batteries, I opened it up, and saw that it was filled with something that looked like milk.

I have no idea why I instantly suspected Maddie, but I did. I mean - she doesn't have thumbs - she couldn't have carried a glass of milk in here! But when bad things happen, little Madagascar is usually at the top of the most wanted list.

Anyway, I start wiping it off, puzzled, and go to the bathroom to throw the towels away, at which point my hands start burning like David Palmer on that episode of 24.

I guess it was battery acid. How the heck does that happen???

Note to self - buy new mouse at lunch.

Now rewind to 3 AM, where I was woken up by what I think is a woman laughing. The cats are freaked. I go back to sleep (sort of) until 4, at which point the phone rang. Splotchy wigged out and went shooting over to the bedside table, resetting my clock with his feet, so now I have no idea what time it really is. I have your phone number now, lady. I also have your name. Thanks Caller ID!!

You better not get used to sleeping. I keep odd hours.

Note to self. Buy cat proof acrylic box to house alarm clock at lunch.

I figure I'd better get up since I don't know what time it is, and I'm one of like the FOUR PEOPLE ON EARTH TODAY WHO HAVE TO WORK.

Go check my phone and what do you know - some other freak had called me at midnight on my cell phone. That ringer was off, so that's a little better. However, while I do not have YOUR name, I do have your phone number. This should be fun.

Note to self - disconnect home phone service at lunch. Randomly call people whose numbers I now have.

Anyway, this fun project I found on the Pine is Here blog - one of my faves. So since I was up, I thought I would share it with you.

It's a 9x12 white self sealing envelope from the office supply store. (Of course for some reason I had like 50 of them in my garage!!)

Begin by folding it in half, seam and flap on the inside, with the flap on the right when it's folded.

Now start decorating this fun little organizer!!!

I decorated mine with the patterned paper from the Wish Simply Scrappin' Kit and the little snowman from Merry & Bright. This is some of the best Christmas paper we've ever carried I think.

I just attached the paper with Snail.

The right side with the flap becomes a large pocket for notecards, or anything you'd like.

Make a small pocket on this same side for gift tags or postage stamps if you are giving cards to someone in this.

On the left hand side, you can carefully slit the envelope down the left hand side, slip your cutting mat in there and cut a slit at the top to slide a little notepad into. Then reseal the edge with sticky strip.

Or, you could print out a full year calendar and attach it to the left side and this could be a birthday card organizer.

With the Christmas theme, it could be a shopping organizer.

Lots of possibilities, and very quick, simple and inexpensive.

Hope you guys are having a great day after Christmas!

If not, please note that today is National Whiner's Day, so feel free to whine about anything you'd like!

:) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blue Christmas


A very Merry Christmas to each of you from your friends at Understand Blue!!

I wanted to share my Christmas card with each of you - many of you received one, some of you in foreign lands, if you have not gotten yours yet, I'm sorry to spoil the surprise - hopefully they will arrive down under, in the great white north and other distant destinations before New Year's!

This card may be my favorite of the ones I've made. It's simple, it has so much of me in it and it has the Christmas story as a graphical element.

The card base is white. The "snow" is the Russian text of Luke 2, with Diamond Dust along the edge. The bird is 2008's greatest contribution to society - the color Pacific Point Blue, as is the snowflake ornament he carries.

I included a note on the back explaining the Russian text and the fact that when the Communists took religion from the Russian people, they created a secular tradition so that could continue to celebrate their beloved Christmas which included a figure much like Santa Claus, except that he wore blue. Now can you imagine why my Russian studies have such a special place in my heart?

I also wanted to share some of the neighborhood decorations I snapped pics of last night. Don't Christmas lights just make you feel happy?

I also saw the most beautiful nativity scene I've ever seen. I think I'm going to put one of these photos on a card and send it to these people. I wrote down their address. I thought this was just arresting.

Then I got all crazy and just left the shutter open driving past some of the houses and got some super cool pictures that probably only appeal to me.. :)

So Merry Christmas to all of you. Peace on earth, good will to men and furry creatures everywhere!

In case you didn't get a good look...


In the previous post - here's a closeup.

I Love Trees

I do. Maybe you do too. ;)

I thought this magazine type made these look like snowy birches.

You know those wintery scenes... Quiet snow, still trees.

Maybe a little creature sitting perfectly still.

Hope you have a peaceful Christmas Eve.

Speaking of creatures, check out the insolence on this one, who will be getting coal in his stocking. (Yes, he's a girl, but it's easier to call him "he.")

Let me translate for you.

"THHHHHBBBBTTTTT - I GOT HERE FIRST. I THOUGHT THEY CALLED IT A LAPTOP BECAUSE I'M S'POSED TO PUT MY LAP ON TOP OF IT."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Love is In the Air!!

It is!!

Two things - first of all - today is National Haiku Poetry Day, and as you know, I LOVVVVVVVVE Haiku!!! So stand by for today's Haiku.

Second - the Love You Much Promotion starts today!! Now that your cookies are baked, your Christmas cards stamped and mailed, all the fun of spring stamping begins - starting with Valentine's Day. And this little bundle is adorable!!

From today, through January 31, you can purchase this bundle for 20% off - so if you're not a demonstrator, it's like getting a demonstrator discount.

Awesome. It includes the Love You Much stamp set (which can be used long past February with those DANG CUTE LITTLE BIRDS, the Candy Lane Designer Paper, and the Heart to Heart Punch - all for $41.48!! (Reg. price - $51.85)

To order this for yourself for Christmas, just click here and choose "Shop Now" - item # 115405.

Now, for the haiku.

Today, it's raining.
Tomorrow, 72
And sunny. Texas.

Have a great Tuesday! Don't forget - my show is today!

Back tonight with a GREAT gift idea!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder Had a Blackberry

I'm certain of it. I actually proved it tonight with the help of a few lemons and the scientific method.

Stand by for details.

But first, a little gift for my neighbors this Christmas. Just a simple stack of cookies, wrapped with the fabby paper from the "Wish" Simply Scrappin' kit and tied up with a ribbon.

I just made a tube out of the paper, adhered it with sticky strip, and tied it around the outside of the tube after the wrapped cookies were down in it. I punched two holes near the top with my rectangle punch to thread the ribbon through at the top. I added a little gift card, accented with more Wish accessories, and the little stamped bird is from Hero Arts, colored with my Ruby Red Marker and my white pencil.

But what is in that little tube, you ask?

Well, grasshopper, I will tell you. To make these cookies, you will need a blackberry.

You know how everyone tells those stories about how Reese's or fried chicken or any food you love was created in a horrible cooking accident where a chicken fell into the peanut butter jar, someone licked it and realized it was the greatest thing ever?

You know what I'm talking about.

Well that's what happened with these cookies.

I'm out of toner in my printer, so I couldn't print this recipe when I got home. So I just emailed it to myself, and read it quickly on my blackberry, trying not to get sugar and butter on my phone.

Two things happened.

1) I said to heck with the food processor - I'm not cleaning that. So, since she first asks for just two of the three cups of sugar, I hand mixed two cups with the lemon zest.
2) Reading it quickly on my phone, I thought she forgot the third cup in the recipe, so I added it to my mixer just before the flour.

When rolling them, and scrolling down on the crackberry to the cooking time, I realize I was supposed to reserve that third cup and some of the lemon zest to roll the cookies in before baking.

Oops. Darn tiny screen.

Oh well - too late now.

So I bake them, and

o

m

g.

I think these are the best cookies I've ever had. They came out sort of macaroon-like, with a crisp and chewy outside, and an airy, moist inside with a sweet lemony goodness that comes from angels. Look how they fell, like popovers. MMM. I wouldn't have liked the sugar on the outside anyway, but THIS was a happy accident little pioneers would have been proud to call an "original recipe".

So all this to say - no way could the Ingalls women have innovated like this without a blackberry, clearly. You ladies aren't fooling anyone with your handmade bonnets - you were googling the patterns on your phone!!!

Anyway - they are heavenly. Do try.

Then, some 30 second thank you notes with kraft cardstock, patterned paper scraps and Sincere Salutations. Great quick project for all those holiday Thank Yous!!

And PS - to Eric - here's a link to the donkey!

Happy Monday!!
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