Monday, December 1, 2014

New Year's Return


As many of you know, on October 19th, our son was born 9 1/2 weeks early. Having a preemie in the NICU has been challenging, yet Steve and I feel very fortunate that Will's progress has been steady. Our friend Wendy Vecchi has nicknamed him Lucky, but as his parents, we are truly the lucky ones.

If you've been following our journey on the Caring Bridge website, please know how much we appreciate your concern, support, and encouragement. It means so much to us!

My intention was to return to posting on the blog this month. I knew things would be hectic with a baby in the hospital, but I miscalculated the number of hours I'd have available each day that weren't devoted to feedings, for example. Ha ha, the folly of a first-time mom!

In any case, unfortunately I must extend my blog leave for now. I hope to return during January and ask that you please check back with us. Until then, we wish you a very happy holiday season filled with love and laughter!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Funnies: Test For Future Parents & Inky Baby News!

Taken from an article by the UK Daily Mail (which you can read in its entirety by clicking here):

The Test For Future Parents by author Colin Falconer comprises 14 steps to follow before you have children and was originally printed in his book "A Beginners Guide to Fatherhood" in 1992 before finding its was on to parenting blogs in the UK.

Test 1: Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy
1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
2. Leave it there.
3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men: To prepare for children
1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself
2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2: Knowledge

Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour. Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3: Nights

To discover how the nights will feel: You can kiss goodbye to precious beauty sleep as soon as you have a child You can kiss goodbye to precious beauty sleep as soon as you have a child

1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 - 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.

2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.

4. Set the alarm for 3am.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.

6. Go to bed at 2.45am.

7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.

9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.

10. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.

Test 4: Dressing Small Children

1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hang out.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5: Cars

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.

2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.

3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.

4. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.

5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6: Going for a Walk

a. Wait.

b. Go out the front door.

c. Come back in again.

d. Go out.

e. Come back in again.

f. Go out again.

g. Walk down the front path.

h. Walk back up it.

i. Walk down it again.

j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.

k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.

l. Retrace your steps.

m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.

n. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7: Conversations with Children

Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8: Grocery Shopping

1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child--a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.

2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.

3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.


I'm not sure that we've come even close to passing the above "test." Nonetheless, Steve and I are delighted to announce the arrival of William Owen Wamhoff, who was born last Sunday. Due to previous losses, we were hesitant to say anything to you, our Inky friends, until after the happy event occurred.

Baby Will was born prematurely at 30 weeks + 4 days. He's doing very well in the NICU, and I've started a Caring Bridge site so that you can follow our updates about him, if you wish.

Since I'll be making twice daily trips to the hospital, in addition to other baby-related duties, I'm going to take a temporary blog break until December 1st. Thanks very much for your understanding, which I sincerely appreciate. I do hope that you'll come back to join me here in a little over a month. Until then, I hope you have a very happy fall and early winter season!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Colored Pencils Over Alcohol Markers & Share Your Thoughts Congrats

When I demo the colored pencil blending technique at shows, I often tell people about how I like to use two or three different shades of the same color (applying and then blending each color separately) because it adds depth and richness to the stamped image.

Starting with an alcohol marker base and then layering colored pencil over the top can achieve a similar, lovely effect, as shown in this week's card on the main Inky website:


Michelle Pearson created a bunch of Halloween treats using this trick! You can see how she starts with her stamped images (four pumpkin kitties from Cube-0207, Cat 'n Jack Cube) and colors it with Copic markers:
 
Then she layers colored pencils on top, which makes a huge difference in the images' appearance:

Here's one of those mischievous kitties shown on an altered notepad, also colored using the same technique:

And, just for fun, she used a darker palette of colored pencils over the Copic base, layered onto a Zentangled panel on the final project:


In case you're wondering, Michelle used Copic markers B60, C1, T4, Y38, Y17, E00, YG03, along with a variety of Prismacolor pencils for her frightfully fun cards.

Finally, on a different note, congrats to Tammy C, whose name was drawn randomly from these blog candy entries.

Tammy C said...
Not really a technique but I'd like to see some cute "gift" items. I make a lot of little goodie type stamping projects for my pre-school class as small gifts. I've done the cute lip balm one before and the clear pillow boxes. Would love to see more like that.
October 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM .

Delete
(Tammy C, please email me with your address by October 31st to claim your secret prize.)

Thank you very much to everyone who shared your ideas for future "Try It Different" blog posts. We sure appreciate your input and look forward to implementing as many of these as we can in the future!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Funnies: Bar Jokes


It's Friday, Inky friends...would you like to celebrate with a cocktail? Whether or not you drink "adult beverages," I hope you enjoy these jokes. (We think they're bar none! I know...groan. Ha!)

A drunk walks into a bar with jumper cables around his neck. The bartender says gruffly, "I guess you can stay here, but don't try to start anything."

* * *

A termite walks into a bar and asks, "Where's the bartender?"

* * *

A neutron walks into a bar and says, "I'd like a beer. How much will that be?"

The bartender responds, "For you? No charge!"

* * *

Two men walked into a bar. You would think at least one of them would have ducked!

* * *

A rabbi, a priest, and a Lutheran minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Is this some kind of joke?"

* * *

A guy walks into a bar. He asks the bartender, "Do you have any helicopter-flavored potato chips?"

The bartender shakes his head and says, "No, we only have plain."

* * *

E-flat walks into a bar, The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve minors..."

* * *

A hamburger and a French fry walk into a bar. The bartender says, "I'm sorry, but we don't serve food here."

* * *

A potato walks into a bar and all eyes were on him!

* * *

Jesus walks into a bar and says, "I'll just have a glass of water."

* * *

A guy with dyslexia walks into a bra.

* * *

A string walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender turns to him and says, "Sorry, sir, we don't serve strings here."

The next day, clinging to a thread, the string returns to that same bar and orders a drink again. The bartender, resolute, again turns and says, "I'm sorry, sir, but like I said, we don't serve strings here. I'm going to have to ask you not to return."

Dejected, the string returns home. All night he tosses and turns, wriggles and writhes, and awakes the next morning not at all resembling himself. Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he brightens and jets out his door to that bar.

Swaggering in, he orders a drink one more time. The bartender stares at him, squinty eyed, and asks, "I'm sorry, are you a string? You look very familiar."

The string locks eyes with the bartender, and states, "No, sir. I'm a frayed knot."

* * *

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says,  "A beer please, and one for the road."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Share Your Thoughts

For this week's post, we'd like to get your input! What particular stamping techniques would YOU be interesting in seeing during future "Try It Different" Tuesday spots? Or are there particular Inky individual stamps and/or stamp sets (with item numbers/names) that you'd like us to show on various cards or projects?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, or feel free to email me with your suggestions. And, as a thank you for participating, your shared opinion will serve as an entry for a secret BLOG CANDY prize. Next Tuesday, October 21st, we'll announce a randomly drawn winner on the blog, so please check back to see if it might be you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Funnies: Grocery & Restaurant Humor

Our grocery store changed its layout this summer, which caused us to wander around aimlessly at first, as we searched for the new locations of our staple items.

We relied heavily on the overhead signs, which reminded me of this example from a store far, far away, where the placement of certain products might inadvertently raise some eyebrows:


It's possible the snacks carried here could include bags of potato chips that have been labeled by a spatially-challenged manufacturer:


If you explore the aisle containing international/ethnic foods, perhaps you would come across these sweet delights:


Mmm, sand cookies...what could be better? Perhaps washing them down with some delicious Relax Flavored Water:


If you're not in the mood to eat in tonight, you can always head to a restaurant. This one has a special "deal" on their BLTs:
 

I'm not sure which is the better bargain...the BLT above or these hot dogs:


Of course, pizza is always an option that most people enjoy. Just pick your favorite combination of ingredients. Careful, it could be a trick question:


For dessert, there are so many choices. I'll have the one on the bottom, please:


What will YOU be having for dinner tonight, Inky friends? Bon appetit!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Krafty Cards

With Halloween coming in a few weeks, I thought it would be fun to feature a few costumed characters on some not-so-spooky projects. I asked Debbie Fisher to use kraft cardstock rather than standard white, because it seemed like that would be a nice complement.

"Oh my!!" she enthused when she was finished. "I need to stamp on kraft cardstock [more often]! I LOVE how these turned out."

The first card is shown on our main Inky website this week:


The image is from 10904L Costumed Quartet (drawn by artist Ronnie Walter), which actually includes four different trick-or-treaters from which to choose:


I like the versatility of this wood mounted stamp. You can use it as a whole image, utilize the individual squares, or arrange 2-3 of the pieces on your project as desired.

A single square fits on a standard tag perfectly:


Debbie colored all of the images with Koh-I-Noor colored pencils, except the faces done with a Tombow Irojiten colored pencil in a light peach shade. Most colored pencils really "pop" nicely on kraft cardstock, as you can see here:


The stamped and colored pirate piece above adorns this charming goodie bag made using X1-0020 Gift Bag Template stamp:


And the kraft designer paper used for the base of each project? It's from a digital file called DD-Birthday Bash KD-Kit from Diane's Daydream Designs.

"I couldn't believe how perfectly [these digital files] worked with my colored images," said Debbie. "I just printed [a few of the digi paper designs] onto kraft cardstock and love how it turned out."

Thanks to Debbie for sharing this neat "trick," as well as her projects, which we think are real "treats." Hope you like them, too, Inky friends!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Funnies: Silly Game Show Answers

What's your favorite game show, Inky friends? When I was a kid, I remember my grandpa watching Bob Barker and playing along with "The Price Is Right" every weekday morning. He'd write his own bids in the margin of the TV guide and yell out his guesses at the screen.

Not only can it be fun to watch contestants compete to win cash and prizes, but sometimes the answers they give to the host's questions can be downright hilarious. Check out these examples:


I laughed hard at "fish love," "marinated grapes," and "phony horses." Which answer(s) did YOU like best?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Spritzed Acetate Backgrounds

I'd say that 99% of the time, I begin a card by stamping my image onto white cardstock and then coloring it in with my favorite medium (colored pencils blended with Gamsol, of course). I certainly love this look and will never tire of it!

But every once in a while, it's fun to try something different, like today's projects made by Debbie Fisher. Take this delightful scarecrow card, for example, which contains stamps from 11196MC Autumn Fields Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier):


See that beautifully soft yet vibrant background? It's such a neat look because the colors remain distinctive while also melding into each other where they meet. Perhaps the best part is that it's so easy to do!

Debbie's first step was to apply wide bands of color onto acetate (Clear Cardstock would also work) using water-based markers, beginning with the lightest color and following with darker colors:
 

Next, she spritzed the acetate with a fine mist of water:


Then Debbie placed her tag face-down onto the watery, colored acetate. After carefully lifting the tag and allowing it to dry completely, she stamped and colored as usual. 

Here's another example using other stamps from that same clear set:


You may have noticed this week's card on the main Inky website features the same spritzed acetate background:


Change your markers, and you'll get completely different results:


The cool palette that Debbie chose above works great with the little Frankie from 11193MC Halloween Monsters HoneyPOP Clear Set (drawn by artist Tammy DeYoung). Very Halloweenie, don't you think? What kind of card will YOU try spritzing, Inky friends?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funnies: Differences Between Men & Women

Sometimes I marvel at the differences between men and women, and I wonder how we manage to get along and communicate with each other at all. Not that don't share any similarities whatsoever (such as a married couple that has common goals, for example), but the way we discuss things can vary so greatly.

Case in point:

Woman 1: Oh! You got a haircut! That’s so cute!

Woman 2: Do you think so? I wasn’t sure when she was gave me the mirror. I mean, you don’t think it’s too fluffy looking?

Woman 1: Oh gosh, no! No, it’s perfect. I’d love to get my hair cut like that, but I think my face is too wide. I’m pretty much stuck with this, I'm afraid.

Woman 2: Are you serious? I think your face is adorable. And you could easily get one of those layer cuts–that would look so cute. I was actually going to do that myself, except that I was afraid it would accentuate my long neck.

Woman 1: Oh, that’s funny! I would love to have your neck! Anything to take attention away from this two-by-four I have for a shoulder line.

Woman 2: Are you kidding? I know girls that would love to have your shoulders. Everything drapes so well on you. I mean, look at my arms–see how short they are? If I had your shoulders, I could get clothes to fit me so much easier.

Compare the above dialogue to this one:

Man 1: Haircut?

Man 2: Yeah.

Here's another example from the TV show Friends:


It's not just the way we talk that is different, but also how we purchase products and services:


I'd imagine the "guy way" of shopping would be so much simpler, and perhaps even more effective:


Do women make things more complicated than necessary? Probably so:


But it expands our options, too:


It's more socially acceptable for women to show a wide range of emotions, which has both its pros and cons:


And while both genders can be Type A "planners," in our house it looks more like this:


My husband has forgotten his toothbrush, belt, shoes, and matching socks, all for the same trip. At least he remembered clean underwear, I guess, but still...

I like to think that, although we may be polar opposites in many ways (not all of which are due to gender, but simply our individual personalities), on our better days we greatly complement each other. And on not-so-great days, at least we can usually laugh about it later on!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Sparkly Stained Glass

We're celebrating the arrival of autumn with a card on our main Inky site that features the warm color palette of turning leaves and a lovely inspirational message:


Michelle Pearson created the above card with 11200MC Squirrel & Acorns Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier), and then she used the same set to get really fancy with the Sparkly Stained Glass technique:


The results are so sparkly, with all that beautiful glitter to capture your attention! It's easy to do, and the bold lines of these designs from our Handcarved Autumn collection work beautifully here.

"One tip is to stamp on acetate with Stazon ink," suggests Michelle. "Glitter the back of the image starting with the darkest color of glitter first. Keep your glue as thin as you can. The first time I did it on the acorns, the glue was too thick and it dried, and [now] I can see a white smudge where the thick glue was."
 

"Gradually work your colors lighter as you go," she continues, "tapping off [the glitter from] the image well in between. I do this while wet because it would take FOREVER [to wait for each section to dry] otherwise. I don't have a problem, as long as I'm careful not to get my fingers in it."

Stamps from Nancy's Scissor-Cut Scenes collection also work very well. In this main image from 11220MC Bear & Bees Clear Set, Michelle used a variety of contrasting glitter colors that work beautifully together:


"Once [the glittered image is] dry," says Michelle, "I trim my images out and then attach to my card with glue dots."

That's exactly what she did in this version, where the main image is colored more conventionally with Copic markers and the glittered pieces serve as a bright accent:

Today's final card is a mix of both sparkly and matte elements, which work together in perfect harmony:


"Bonus...you will have glittery dust bunnies after doing this technique!" tempts Michelle.

Have YOU made your own Sparkly Stained Glass cards, Inky friends?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Funnies: Unusual Products From Amazon

As we enter the fall and winter months, soon many of us will be starting to shop for holiday gifts. As for myself, I prefer to wait until December, when the pressure is on!

But for those early birds among us, I'd like to show you a few ideas for super weird unique gifts that are sure to elicit gasps of terror delight from surprised recipients. Even better, they're all available on Amazon.com, one of my favorite online shopping sites.

Let's start with this distinctive singing vegetable:


It's the Yodelling Pickle, which can be yours for only $10.94.

One of the reasons I like Amazon so much is the helpful reviews, which cover the pros and cons so I can feel like an informed buyer. Here are three of them I found especially enlightening:

Review #1
My twelve year-old niece asked for the Justin Bieber CD for Christmas, so I bought her this yodeling pickle. Nobody so far can tell the difference.

Review #2
Now the age old question, from the beginnings of the internet, emerges. Two Hutzler banana slicers, or one yodeling pickle?

Review #3
I was sitting down to my usual dinner of a bologna sandwich and a Dr. Pepper, when I chanced upon this gem of a product. I looked at my plate and commanded my vlassic to croon me with some dinner music, but alas, the preseved cucumber in brine just sat there, looking rather foolish as it pretended not to hear me. As if.

No more must I put up with a prima donna heinz that demands crystal glasses and silver plates before it hums a few bars of the theme from the Love Boat... no, now I command my pickle to yodel, and it is so.

* * *

If you were hoping the Yodelling Pickle was edible, you'll be sadly disappointed. Instead, you may wish to check out these alternatives: Pickle Candy Canes or Pickle Gumballs.

Looking for something a little more fanciful? How about this carefully preserved gem:


That's right, who can resist Canned Unicorn Meat? Besides, everyone knows that consumable items make some of the most practical and thoughtful presents!

And now for the reviews:

Review #1
I was pleasantly surprised by the unicorn meat, even though canned. It is more tender than the centaur I've had, and far less stringy than faun. My only concern is that after feeding it to my infant son, his diaper was filled with skittles.

Review #2
I bought this item because I am planning on making my famous Unicorn Casserole for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. It arrived quickly and in good condition, and as it is a canned product, did not require any special refrigeration in shipping.

I've used this company's unicorn meat for years. My casseroles always come out perfectly, with a rich, strong flavor of sunshine and rainbows. Be forewarned, though: unicorns are not as big as you think. If you are planning a large casserole, you may need to have more unicorn meat than what is in the can.

Review #3
My daughter couldn't stop crying when I served this for dinner, although maybe it was just gas from the deep-fried fairy appetizer.

* * *

By the way, if unicorn isn't your thing, you could always opt for Canned Dragon Meat.

Last but not least, for something non-food related, why not consider this useful element from nature:


This tin of Uranium Ore is more expensive than the other products above, so it's only suitable for those with a higher budget. However, its practical uses are endless, as noted below:

Review #1
I'm buying this for my wife who happens to be a geologist. I truly believe nothing says "I love you" like uranium 238. Except plutonium.

Review #2
Magic stuff. Been taking 1 spoon a day for 3 weeks. I can now type this review using all 12 fingers.

Review #3
Mixed this in with rose fertilizer and have blooms nearly one foot in diameter! Drawback is I can't cut them, as they growl at me whenever I get near them with the scissors...and they've eaten several small birds and a stray kitten...

* * *

So, there you go, some gems to add to your gift-giving list! Which one will YOU be adding to your shopping cart, Inky friends?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Stamped Acrylic Block Backgrounds

Acrylic blocks have been around since before I started stamping in 1996. (Yep, I'm dating myself here!) They've always been useful as a temporary mount for rubber dies, and then with polymer stamps when those came onto the scene many years later.

However, it wasn't until fairly recently that we started seeing them being utilized as a "stamp" of sorts themselves. Somebody got the brilliant idea to ink up their acrylic block and put it to paper, with lovely results.

Michelle Pearson likes this technique because "it is very quick and easy and beautiful...I tapped the distress pads on my long acrylic block before spritzing with water and stamping on watercolor paper."

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here, which outlines the process she followed using 11069SC Soaring Eagle Clear Set to make this card:

"For other [cards]," continues Michelle, "I dragged the ink pad through the inked blocks for contrast." Here's an example created with 11073SC Shining Lantern Clear Set:
 
The card above shows slight variations in color, whereas this one featuring 11070SC Songbird Clear Set contains greater contrast:

And for even more variety, Michelle explains, "[on] others I used my markers to make random patterns before spraying and stamping."

The resulting bold splashes of color are really striking:
 

The stamps from both 11013SC Brushed Calligraphy #2 Clear Set and 11071SC Holy Spirit's Fruit Clear Set work great for this fun technique!

I think the "wet" watercolor look of the horizontal darker green stripes mimics the juicy pear theme here:

Have YOU tried stamping backgrounds with acrylic blocks, Inky friends? Did you like how your projects turned out?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Funnies: Favorite Cartoons Follow-Up

Congrats to Sue D, whose name was drawn randomly from these blog candy entries.

Sue D said...
Hope these links work. They crack me up. They are from a blog called The Chicken Chick but are not about chickens...[links included]
September 6, 2014 at 12:38 PM

These are the photos that Sue had linked to:
   



I also said that we'd mail a goodie to my personal favorite entry. After pondering the options, I chose Denise Bryant's submission.

Denise said...
I love all the Grumpy Cat pics that are so popular right now! Here is one of my favorites!
[Submitted via email]

(Sue D and Denise, please email me with your address by September 30th to claim your secret prizes.)

If you're wondering about the Grumpy Cat that Denise referred to, this is the example she sent:


"Grumpy Cat" is a nickname given to an angry-looking snowshoe cat that rose to fame online after its pictures were posted to Reddit in September 2012. The cat's real name is Tardar Sauce.

Memes featuring this frowning feline spread quickly, with crabby quotes plastered all over Tardar Sauce's photos:




There are not one, but two, Grumpy Cat books that have been published:


Grumpy Cat also has apps, including a plug-in for the Weather Kitty app:


(I just downloaded the GrumpyBomb app, where Grumpy Cat photobombs your pics, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.)

You can even buy Grumpy Cat merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, and even a droll-looking plush animal:


Similarly, Grumpy Grandma was an instant online hit:


This one made me giggle:


Apparently, Grumpy Grandma really made the rounds:


Thanks to everyone who made time to participate last week. I hope your day is a decidedly NON-grumpy one!