Monday, June 22, 2020

A Summer of Sharks, Sots and NOT's

And somehow, once again, another month comes to a close. 

Another month in which I've managed to NOT do so MANY things. 

There's the furniture I have not pulled out from the wall to clean behind. Choosing, once again, to let nature's critters feast on the crumbs left there, until the day I thank them by inviting Mr. Exterminator to the party.

There's the matter of the y-chromosomes, who are still residing somewhere within the utmost regions of my house, whom I have not evicted due to their lame excuses of being "underage" and claims of "child protection laws". 

And let's not forget the Marital Unit, who I have not sued for abandonment and subsequently divorced, only because I can't find him on the golf course.

Lastly, as we're coming to an end of another summer month, I have not dipped even one toe into the body of water we call the ocean.

It's this last one I consider most important, because it means I'm here writing this post and not being digested in part (or whole) by a shark.

I know, I know...I hear it every year. My little sun bunny friends are the first to poo-poo my fears.

"Do you know how rare it is to be attacked by a shark while swimming at the beach?" my slim, tanned and very buxom friend Eva said, while trying on a tiny bikini she was considering as we shopped for summer wear.

"It's not rare.." I said, a bit testily, silently chanting to myself that I did not hate her for having two children and still being able to pull off "twenty-something in a bikini" while in her 40's.

"Oh, come on." she said. "It's incredibly rare! Name the last time someone was attacked by a shark. Especially here in North Carolina."

"Which of the 36 attacks since 2010 do you want to know about?" I said. "Or is it enough to know that our state ranks 5th in the nation in shark attacks?" 

She paled. "Oh, God. Are you serious?"

"I would never make something like that up." I said, grateful that she suddenly seemed less interested in the bikini that rudely boasted only one number in the "size" portion of the tag.

She looked sadly at the bikini as she handed to the saleswoman. "Well, I guess I'll just lay out on the beach and tan this year. By the way, do you have this in a size 4?"

Gritting my teeth, I told myself I did not want my sweet friend to test any
"swimming in the ocean/ shark" statistics.

As bad as friends could be, it was nothing compared to my mother's reaction. We were settling in for a week's vacation at Myrtle Beach and had sunk down into our lounge chairs to read and sunbathe. 

As my y-chromosomes raced to the water, I stopped them at the edge with a shrill whistle.
"Remember," I called to them. "Ankle deep ONLY! What is it we always say about the beach?"

The y-chromosomes chanted in unison. "In to your knees, the sharks you will tease. Up to your bum and you become chum."

Rolling her eyes, my mother said, "What in the world has gotten into you? I thought you loved the ocean! I remember you swimming in it all the time when you were a kid. What changed?"

"You took me to see Jaws at the theater when I was seven." I said.

"Couldn't have been." she scoffed. "That must've been your father. He was always doing silly things like that when he'd had a few drinks. Remember the time he he took you and your brother to the Drive In, then promptly fell asleep in the front seat? Not knowing the movies were scary ones?" 

"Yes, mother. I remember it distinctly. It was a double feature. The movies were Coma and The Omen."

"That's right!" she clapped her hands enthusiastically. "You have such a good memory! Why on earth did he take the two of you to something like that, I wonder?"

"Because he'd had a few Boilermakers and misread "Coma" as "Comma" and thought it was an educational film. And "The Omen" he thought was a film about the Bible." I said, drily.

"Only your Dad!" she laughed.

As June comes to a close, I've found myself gearing up for another summer of remaining faithful to my "not's". 

I have not allowed any surgery to take place unless the Marital Unit has conducted an investigation into the character of the Anesthetist and checked hospital records to see if there have been a rash of patients who've had surgery and mysteriously vanished.

I have not neglected to shave each y-chromosomes head at one point to check for any numbers or signs that might be hidden there. It certainly didn't help that the last one was born on 6/6/06, but that was my fault for insisting on induction at the earliest possible moment.

Don't worry, though...I still have my eye on that one.

Last but not least, I have not and will not ever, in any lifetime, be eaten by a shark.

And in the history of my "not's", this will prove to be the most important of all.

My first is Coral Seaturtle.

I stamped and embossed the image in white, Using masking fluid, I made "spots" on the back of the turtle. After watercoloring him a dark brown, I removed the masking and did a quick wash of the dark color I'd already painted. I really LOVE how this effect came out. And it was totally accidental. Wait...I mean, I just knew that would happen. Because I'm experienced, like that.


My second card was one of those that assembled itself much better in my head than I was able to pull off for you. Using the Inside/Out set, my intention was to make a wall with the mirror showing the outside sentiment "Mirror Mirror". I stamped it with Staz-On, then tried to use little frames with pictures of stern looking people to look like a wall. 

Then, I used the Inside sentiment (which we won't point out to anyone, specifically my parental unit...will we?) and the TJ stamp set Crabby I finished it off with the crab and sentiment. 

ALL of these sets-and everything else you might want-is 10% off if you use my discount code TJ10CARMEN

Thanks for stopping by...and keep on stamping!

It's MUCH safer than swimming in the ocean

Friday, June 19, 2020

She Sells Sea Shells Down by the Sale Page!

Once again, it's my turn to showcase a project made from Technique Junkies July New Releases!!

This shaker tag is the first of 5 that I ended up making-and could have made SO MANY MORE using my Gelli plate and the New Release stamps 


Making this tag was easy. I hate saying that. Naturally, I want you to marvel at it and think "Wow! That Carmen sure is a goddess when it comes to creating spectacular projects! She's so great I bet the Pope will beatify her hands at some point!"

Okay. So maybe only I think that. But pretending you are saying it as well gets me through these post house arrest days. Besides, as my Therapist Darlene says, "whatever works, as long as it isn't manslaughter or maiming".

Therapist Darlene and her ilk are such downers. They're always trying to make us work harder than we should have to with their whole "communication" and "compassion" racket. 

These post house arrest days should be good ones for all of us, right? So why am I dragging and feeling as if nothing has changed?

Oh...right...BECAUSE IT HASN'T.

You heard right, my friends. 

All three y-chromosomes are still in their rooms. They haven't emerged except to eat and complain that there's nothing to eat. Granted, this has been the case for the past decade but I could actually get them to leave occasionally. 

All I had to do in the past is have their room fumigated. Turns out taking away a fresh air supply would make them leave in a hurry and, like little cockroaches, they'd scuttle out and hide in some dark corner with their Nintendo's. But, as soon as the dust (fumes) settled, they were back in their rooms. Now, those little suckers are immune to the pesticides.

Not that I won't keep trying, mind you.

The Marital Unit is working from home and now it's permanent. He sits in the loft at the top of our stairs, watching Fox News, and shouting out random headlines. It's like having a sniper in the house. Imagine pouring a cup of coffee in a fairly quiet house then someone yelling "Trump shutting down air travel!"

Naturally, I tend to jump when this happens, spilling and/or dropping whatever is in my hands at the time. I'm telling you, people...there are NOT enough pharmaceuticals to get me through all this.

NOW you see. House arrest has become a life sentence. And I'm stuck in a 4br cell with a Marital Unit who has developed a television news-based Tourette's and children who used my entire 3 month toilet paper stash in two weeks. 

And when it comes to 3 boys eating and never leaving the house, I can tell you how I've become an expert in toilet plunging!!

Oh, sorry...totally off topic...again. Back to the tag.

I used my Gelli plate and covered it with metallic acrylic paint. Then, I stamped the Bubble stamp and lifted the print. The shine is AMAZING! I love those paints (I got mine at Michaels). Next, I punched a hole for a shaker cup. The only cups I had were Stampin Up! and they made a proprietary punch to fit those cups. So, I used my circle punch, used a small amount of Viva Ferro Amber Gold paste that I'd allowed to dry out as sand and filled it with small shells and starfish. 

After adhereing the cup, I had the flattened part on the bottom so I used pearl trim to surround the scene and crystals to cover the part showing. Then, I used the Ferro again to spread on the bottom and glued my shells to it. 

(NOTE: I can't find Viva Ferro for sale in the US anymore. It's a shame. But you can use a cheap tube of texture paste from Michaels or Hobby Lobby and mix it with paint or alcohol ink for the same effect)

When I stamped the sentiment, I realized that I should've stamped and embossed in a darker color as it got lost in the shuffle. 

Let me say that BOTH are what I call "core stamps". They have tons of usage possibilities and both are less than 15 bucks.  10% OFF USING MY CODE 

Then, YOU'RE PRACTICALLY GETTING THE SENTIMENT FOR FREE (if you purchase by the 8th and use my code!!!!)

Whew...tired myself out with all those caps. But when it comes to "discounts", I get a little excited. 

My second project is using the FLORAL SEAHORSE 

Michaels had these small 4 x 4 white canvases that came in a pack of 9. I painted this with black gesso and stamped the seahorse in VersaMark. I used white embossing powder then mixed my metallic acrylic paints with molding paste, trying to add a little dimension to the piece.

This was NOT successful. 

But, once I started, I was gonna finish! 

I added the sand dollar for 2 reasons: the first is that I thought it complimented the piece and elevated it to "mixed media" since I used two different elements other than paint. 

The second reason is that I blew it painting the flower. Seriously. It was horrific. And what do we do when we totally mess something up and we're almost at the end of a time-consuming project? 


Next time, I'll stick to just paint without the mixer. 

I hope you enjoyed your visit to TJ's this morning. Take my discount and run with it!  


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Vintage Imagery ATC's Triptych

For this ATC swap, I chose a Beauty and the Beast theme.

I named it...ahem..."Beastly Seduction".

No, wait...that's the title of the new book I'm reading. I'm sure that's a copyright violation. Let me try again.

How about "Beast Leaving Hairs on the Couch While Beauty Readies Her Fan to Discipline Him".

Oh, crud. NOW I’m thinking that’s the opening line of the aforementioned book. I guess I could check, but I don’t feel like climbing under my bed to retrieve said book from the hollowed out part of my mattress, hidden behind the third slat from the headboard.

Not to mention it was a little on the wordy side, anyway.

Let me try one more time.

"Beauty and the Beast: You, Me and Hairs All OVER the Couch”.

Oh, good Lord, people. Just make up a name and go get your own book and stop making me dance around here like an organ-grinder's monkey!

You know, that just brought back a VERY early childhood memory. When I was a child, I actually SAW an organ grinder and dancing monkey!

I was about 5-years-old. My parents had taken me to a local fair to temporarily distract from a new little brother, who’d just arrived to usurp my place as ruler of house, home and all things “Grandparent”.

Whoa! Sorry. I’ll get into that at a later date once I’ve worked it out in therapy.

As we left the fair, there was a man who had a large...well...organ...on a stick (I swear...this is NO double entendre...unless you want it to be... no judgement here, my friends) and he had a little monkey on a leash

The monkey was wearing a tiny cap and jacket and cavorted to the music. He also carried a little pewter cup. If you held out a coin, that precious little monkey would come take it from your hand, drop it in his cup, then tip his little cap to you.

I probably begged around ten bucks worth of quarters from my parents,s just to keep that monkey coming my way. And he did. He would turn his nose up at pennies and wouldn't take them. Nickels and dimes were ok, but if you held out a quarter, he was yours!!

Yeah, there was a sign that said "Do not touch the monkey". At least that's what my parent's said. And they kept saying it over and over. But I'd given him so many quarters that we'd bonded, right? He was doing tricks for ME that he wasn't doing for any other kid! He came to ME first when he emptied his little cup and came back for more!! Surely he couldn't possibly mind if I just reached out to gently touch him? Unlike the other stupid children around me, who would grab or try to hug, I-due to my superior animal understanding (as evidenced by our lightning-fast amount of quarters in the world could've MADE that happen, right?) would settle for a comforting, feather-light pat.

So, I reached out and stroked its little arm. The monkey spun around, bared its teeth and made as if to bite me. I was terrified! It was made all the worse by the filthy, toothless organ grinder who laughed raucously at me.

"I hate that stupid monkey!" I screamed to my mother. The monkey was still looking for money and ignoring me completely. So much for the relationship I thought we had.

"Stupid monkey!" I stomped my foot, still crying. Pointing at it, I yelled “Mama, Daddy that's a bad monkey! You tell that man to spank his monkey!”

It was my father who grabbed me and quickly moved us along as the mean-monkey-owning-man guffawed loudly.

And I never understood why.

Is it me or do you fell like you need a shower just reading this far into the post? I swear, this is the dirtiest, non-dirty entry, I've ever written.

The takeaway so far is twofold: Avoid all things “monkey” like the plague. The second is that you have a very dirty mind.

I knew there was something I liked about you!

Monday, June 1, 2020

JUNE New Releases-Covid OUT-Summer IN! Technique Junkies ON IT!

Oh wow! I can’t believe it! It’s June!


You know, I thought I would be a little more excited with our collective house-arrest now coming to an end. And perhaps I would be, had I not been forced into a quarantine with three children, a husband and a dog. 

It would’ve been significantly more bearable had the MU (marital unit) and the three hormone-oozing Y chromosomes been forced to do their American duty by quarantining somewhere else. But this was not to be. Which should prove that our government may not really have Covid figured out, but they excel in human rights violations by forcing me into seclusion with them.  

Finally, this weekend, with whatever "wave" we're in, in terms of things opening at the moment, Friday hit with the restrictions lifted!!  I would have danced with joy!

Had I been able to find a clean space on the floor.

I waited all day on Friday for at least one of the offspring to mention going to visit friends. At 10 o’clock on Saturday night, all three of them were in various stages of sleeping, eating or gaming or-as has been shown in the past to be possible with teenage boys – all three at one time. Which was fine, except they were still here.

So, this morning, while I’m happy things are opening back up and our economy will start to roar as it did before this mess started, there is one thing that I demand from my government. And I will stand tall and speak to both parties as I hold BOTH responsible. With millions at my back, I shall stand tall and rock Washington, with my war cry echoing all over the US.

You jack holes put them in there, now you get them out.”

Now, on to Technique Junkies June release! The most important take away, other than the awesome stamp designs, is that until the eighth you get 15% off new releases. If you add my discount, you get another 10% off the new releases, plus an additional 10% off anything else you purchase.

On my mixed media card, I used Scenic Route and Open Road . Using a round mask, I inked the sky with Distress Ink, then used a metallic acrylic paint for the water. I got texture by making ridges and designs in the wet paint with my brushes and then heat setting them quickly. Any acrylic paint can be made to do this and give your projects a little extra depth and interest.

The sand substance at the bottom is by Viva and it’s called Ferro. The color is amber gold. Unfortunately I can’t find this for sale in the US anymore. I love it because I can spread it on anything and it takes on the look of sand. In this case, once it dried with all those awesome textures, I stamped The tire tracks from the open road sat then use the sentiment take the scenic route stamped on acrylic at the bottom left. The white foam was made with liquid appliqué in white

I was off the month of May so it sure is nice to be back!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out ALL the new releases, as well as the incredible work from my co-designers!! It means a lot when you stop by and comments mean even more.