Saturday, July 29, 2017

What is Strategic Shopping and why you should be doing it!

Want to go grocery shopping? Yup, me neither. You go, get your essentials without a list, and $200 later you come home with everything but what you went in to get in the first place. We have all been there. So.. there has got to be a better way right? Yes, and companies know it, that’s why there are all these little tricks to help you save your money at THE STORE!

To beat the marketing game as consumers we need to play along and take small victories when they come. This game is called Strategic Shopping, it’s a real thing, grocery stores and supermarkets (WalMart in particular) knows it really well.  Here are some tips to help you save money next time you're at the grocery store

Know your Store’s add and buy what’s on sale. Lots of times Hy-Vee and other grocery stores have a weekly sales ad. Hy-Vee in the Des Moines area the add drops on Tuesday, I like to grocery shop on Monday and/or Thursday. To be more particular, Hy-Vee has the best items on sale at the beginning of the month, and then at the end, the middle part of the month they usually are not filled with great rock bottom prices. Keep an eye on those “hot deals” sometimes the only reason why they are a “hot deal” is because they have a bunch of that product that they need to sale, it’s not really a discount.

Shop with a list but be flexible, I am a total advocate for sticking to a list, but often times I go grocery shopping and deviate from my list slightly, let me give you a great example: I see this pork loin on sale for half the cost it normally is (in Iowa we can get pork at a good price,) it’s not on my list but that’s a better deal than the pork chops I was going to get. So I get the pork loin and cut them into chops, better yet I make the meat department cut up the loin for me so I don’t have too. Sometimes a general item of 2lbs of white meat than 2 lbs of boneless chicken breasts can save you loads of money. So always be on the lookout for deals that are
worth buying, and that you can substitute.

Look High look low… all too often the manufacturers will pay the grocery store for prime real estate for their product placement, usually at eye level. Cereal is a great example, all the popular more expensive items are in plain sight, where the same item but in store brand is at the bottom. (often times the store brand is made by the same manufacturer.) So I ask myself am I really willing to pay X brand name for prime real estate when I could get the same product for at least 10% cheaper?

Same product, different locations I love tortillas for easy dinner solutions, which one do I buy?There are only like 40 different kinds, the answer is NOT THE ONES THAT ARE REFRIGERATED. You are paying for the cost of them to refrigerate them… go with the ones that are just on the shelf, the same thing with bagels. While we are on locations, know where your deals are kept, for us Hy-Vee Prairie Trail always has baskets at the front with discounted items, sometimes it’s laundry detergent at a rock bottom price, but I have been able to get a bunch of staples like brand name cereal, and artisan noodles at a rock bottom price.

Same product but Different packaging is always a great game changer, I am always wondering why they had to change the packaging up, My mommy saving senses are in active mode: sometimes it’s a way for you to get less and pay more like a standard cake mix, they lower the price 10 cents, but you get half the cake mix! Yes, really manufacturers will do that and call it a new item. I get annoyed by this often.I get a different brand and off I go.

Another great example was when I was looking for Multigrain Tortilla Chips, guess what? All tortilla chips are multi grain because they use corn, corn is a grain. So don’t pay extra for those “healthy” multigrain chips, when I saw that the ingredients were the same, same size, “healthy marketed bag” was $2.00 more! OUCH!!!! Pay attention to the details, and what you are really buying.

Just doing these small things have saved me on average $20 every grocery store visit, Or in a better light, that is how I can spend $20 extra at Memory Bound, or on other art supplies! Hah it's always fun when I feel like can save $20 and spend it on my art addiction!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jump Start your Creativity with Watercolor Cards Class review

Washi tape and watercolor goes well together

The right kind of paint makes all the difference

NO Stamped Card! Die cut and washi tape
I love when artists share their unique style and paint the way that makes them happy. Angela Fehr has a style that makes me thank heaven that she was bold and courageous in creating in the way she does! It takes a lot of courage to paint in a style that is your own, Angela does this so effortlessly.

Angela's way of teaching is perfect for the hobbyist, and the seasoned crafter, the techniques are not "trendy"  but something you can take away using for trends, for example, she brings in Lindsey or better known as the Frugal Crafter. Lindsey shares her secrets to making some beautiful watercolor cards that can be used over and over again, techniques that can get you beautiful results, using watercolor as ink for stamping images, and use stencils and watercolor for card making.

If you are not a traditional stamper (like I use to be) washes, blooms and basic techniques are a great way to start. YOU DONT HAVE TO STAMP TO BE A CARD MAKER! There are beautiful results when you just watercolor. Watercolor cards that use just pigment and brushes can be beautiful by themselves, She shows you how.

I have fallen in love with stamping again, most of my examples are of stamped images, I haven't even touched the surface with what was taught  without a stamp... (I need some courage, stamps are my crutch and they are so darn cute!)

Angela brought in Artist/paper crafter Karin Akesdotter She shares how she uses watercolor to make cards using dies, and how to "finish" watercolor paintings into cards. I have always struggled to finish and polish my cards until they "shine." This segment from Karin was what I was searching for in a watercolor class! Thank you, Karin, for the amazing advice and for Angela for her foresight for her students!

Easy watercolor wash with Tim Holtz Flower Garden Stamp
Angela has a very comprehensive creative watercolor class, everything from resist, to free flowing water wash, which is one of her signature styles to her watercolors. Angela advocates that for every painting session she warms up with a freestyle wash to help her stay loose, I learned that no warm up is wasted when I can use my freestyle wash in a card, or as a die cut for an embellishment for a card, and then I have another way to use up all my warm ups, and sketches.

I loved that she showed you how to use Brushos Pigment Crystals, (I can't wait to try them, Angela, they look like a ton of fun!

You know that I am a huge advocate for creativity. I found this class full of inspiration. the nuggets of information that she shares are valuable beyond just card making, for any watercolorist this is a great class to have taken.

My dear sweet Husband and Mother in law bought me Angela Fehr's Watercolor University for my Birthday in
May, out of all her classes I could have taken, I was super excited for this watercolor card class. #PaperCrafterAtHeart.

Click on this link for a 20% off discount for this course

Friday, July 21, 2017

What are you born to do?"

Knowing what you are meant to do on this earth is key to your happiness.

It is in that quote by Mark Twain: "the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why" I wanted to share with you why I believe Mark Twain is right.

Motherhood is important, and about 2 years ago I know I was born to teach my family and those around me. I believe that I was also blessed with some artistic skills....

Here is part of my journey into the creating and art world:

 I thought that Art is for people that had nothing better to do, and as a young mom, I thought I had other important things to do, I watch a ton of tv... it was my block and a good excuse that I used to not create. I was so miserable. That misery started to seep into me and I became an angry wife and a controlling mother. I was a natural disaster waiting to happen, I was to my breaking point. How could I go on without art in my life?
Watercolor is so important to me. I woke up this morning feeling so blessed that I have made Art part of my life, and my family's life again. There was a time when I pushed art out of my life and I was miserable, COMPLETLY MISERABLE.

It was on that day about a year ago that I was walking Barbie (my adorable rat terrier) around a lake by where I live that I thought if the world was on my side if the universe was on my side I would be a painter, not just a painter, a watercolorist. So I spent the next year dedicating time to paint. It's always a thrill to put the first brush stroke on that really nice white paper. It gives me a peace in my heart that makes me feel like all is right in the world.

Playing with color is a great warm up for any artist,, make it fun!

When I decided to work with water based mediums. I haven't looked back. For every bad painting, and yes I have a whole cabinet that is full of paintings that will never see the light of day, I have learned. Those paintings that seem all right to share with others, I make into cards. and then the couple ones that I love have made it into frames. 

 I made this watercolor dream a reality with one early morning at a time, one brush stroke at a time, one trip to a local art store at a time. 

So how, how did I make this work with my family and my crazy life? Here are some tips that I have found worthwhile:

Anna Mason gave 5 great blocks we use to avoid making Art... I love them all so taking her council has helped me ten fold.

ALL ART IS A PROCESS! I can't shout this enough.WE needed to be gentle with ourselves, just because you are painting and haven't touched your love of creating art since you were young (for me it was watercolor and it was years since I picked up a watercolor pallet up.)


layering shapes always bring out my inner artist.
Don't' Compare to others: Every Artist that I love had to create in their own unique way, we are all made different we all have our unique style, we can't paint like anyone else except the way we paint. Even if you do a paint along with me type painting uses all the same brushes, and pigments, it's still going to come out different. 

So in the real world how, How do I fit "creating" into my busy life?
I have a routine and I stick to it, I make creating a priority, I do the best I can, and I let my kids have fun with me in the process. I wish there was an easy button, and the best easy button for a toddler is sometimes tv. Although I have a 2-hour tv limit.  

Creating art is always a trade off, I could give all my time to my kids and secretly die a bit inside because I need to create or let them play. Heaven knows we have enough toys for them to be occupied... I need my time, they need time to play by themselves, so that is when I create, those unstructured time. Sometimes I need a whole day or a whole afternoon. Nothing is more therapeutic than painting for fun and try to learn something in an afternoon while my kids are playing. Afterward, I usually have to spend a day cleaning... but totally worth the creating time. 

There is a trade-off to happiness in our house it looks like this:

Happy Creating!

If you are wanting to start watercolor this class that Angela has is a great one, it's helped me motivate me to try new subjects. Like trees, which I am super excited to share with you in a future blog post!
This class helped me realize that painting is a process that brings the painting to life!
By clicking and buying this class you are supporting my blog.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Painting with Distress Crayons

I got this cute oldie but goodie Thank you stamp from a friend that loves me enough to feed my stamping addiction Thank you JB and so I thought this is a perfect stamp to heat emboss in gold and to watercolor with...

I recently got some Tim Holtz Distress crayons and thought, this would be a perfect pair! So with a green and blue distress crayons and a brush (you could use a water brush), All I did was with a wet brush I used the crayon as if it were a pigment and added the pigment to my brush and brushed it onto the paper. I had an easy card panel done in minutes. You know me, I like to keep things simple and Elegant, so I kept the card clean and straight forward, added some dark green embossed paper and some decorative gold washi tape.

My design tip: USE WHAT YOU HAVE! I love that water-based media in its true nature is so fun to manipulate. Distress Crayons let you have those velvet like layers, I love that watercolor Crayons can give you darker layers that give you some depth to your watercolor washes, like in this card, using some 2nd and 3rd layers of pigment really made some of the flourishes really pop!

For watercolor on the go, this project is perfect, you could pre-stamp and heat embossed card panels, take them with you with your distress crayons (they are not messy and a perfect travel companion.)

How to learn more If you are like me and always love to learn more about watercolor cards there are two classes that I recommend you take:
Angela Fehr's Creative Watercolor class: This is a great class for anyone that wants to add watercolor to cards, art journaling, and Caligraphers.  This link will get you 20% off the class I am in the works of making a review for this class, But I highly recommend this class, it is a great class!

Watercolor Card's Made Simple on Craftsy. This is the perfect class for all paper crafters you can see my class review here

Happy Creating!

I use Affiliated links to help support my blog.

Watercoloring with Distress ink and MISTI

There is a new tool out that I LOVE it changed my view on stamping! I never loved to stamp, I am a messy person and ink would always get into places that I wouldn't like. I also love the watercolor look, the dreamy wet look, so when I found out there is this magical stamp guide that helps you get the perfect stamped image every time, I was elated!  The Misti has changed the way I view stamps.

This card was a keep it simple style, I wanted it to be all blue, and I wanted it to be minimal in the design to make the watercolor (ink) be the focal point of this card. So I positioned my stamp onto the misty and inked the jar in faded jeans distress ink, with a spray bottle with water I sprayed the stamp once or twice to get a watery feel. Then I used a water brush to move the water around and then when I liked how it looked I stopped, and let the whole card dry. If it looks like a mess you did it right!
Once the paper was dried I inked the jar stamp again with the same ink and stamped it, I didn't have to worry about the placement because I was using my MISTI.  Then I got the dreamy look from the first layered of stamping and a crisp line from the second layer stamp.

I did the same process on a separate piece of paper for the flowers, but I die cut out the flowers.
Then I adhered the flowers with some pop dots and the card was done. I think simple cards that have just a bit of depth is well worth making a bunch of them and you can with the Misti and the die cuts.

My Desing Tip: KEEP IT SIMPLE. not every card has to have a bunch of stuff on it to make it look elegant. I know that my style is that of being simple and elegant, Sometimes I wonder if I need some extra stuff for the card, this is what I do: I walk away from it, do a different project, help a kid, what every Sometimes perfection is in the walking away part, then when you come back to the card the next day with "fresh eyes" you are better able to know what is needed.

This post is going into the Power Poppy Hues to Use challenge! It's a fun one!

How to learn more If you are like me and always love to learn more about watercolor cards there are two classes that I recommend you take:
Angela Fehr's Creative Watercolor class: This is a great class for anyone that wants to add watercolor to cards, art journaling, and Caligraphers.  This link will get you 20% off the class I am in the works of making a review for this class, But I highly recommend this class, it is a great class!

Watercolor Card's Made Simple on Craftsy. This is the perfect class for all paper crafters you can see my class review here

Happy Creating!

I use Affiliated links to help support my blog.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Asking myself this ONE question changed EVERYTHING for me!

Happiness is something we deprive ourselves when we have Toxic Perfection.

It is my hope that with this post that I can help you understand what Toxic Perfection is and how we can let ourselves be happier.

What am I talking about? Toxic Perfection is when we have to have everything perfect, whatever we do has to be as clean or as perfect as possible, It's not good enough untill________.

My friends in almost all artform, we must let go, the painting is done before it's "done" The bookan author Writes simply ends, and goes onto the next thing, it's simply done. I love what Jackson Pollock says about his painting The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.  

Julia Cameron in the Artist's way asks this simple question: What would I do if I didn't have to do it perfectly?
Answer: A great deal more than I am.

My answer to this great big elephant in the room question was: to paint, more specifically watercolor. But I will look completely ridiculous trying to paint, that is for real artists and I am a crafter I told myself.

The universe is usually on our side, not long after thinking that I would paint if I didn't have to do it perfectly, a friend mentioned that there are some watercolor classes online I will send you a coupon code for 1/2 off of your first class. I haven't looked back since that day. It's hard to actually go and do, our family art room was my classroom. I told myself to learn and grow. Part of producing art was to make lots of mistakes! So I did!
limited pallet I started with. 

You see when we decide that our perfectionism is a great excuse for not doing anything, we deprive ourselves of our personal growth. I have learned to understand that I need art in my life, almost as if it were air to my creative soul.

I was able to learn about artists and their lifestyle, interact with other students that love watercolor as much as I do. The excuse of I am not really good went away and I was left with: I am committed, now what? If I am skilled or not, it doesn't matter, what matters is Do I like what I am Creating?

Perfectionism has a way to make everything we make look "bad" that is not art, that is called being blocked. Perfectionism deprives us of the joy that comes from just practicing and playing around.

This month is World Watercolor month, and as I was looking at all the entries for Angela's Fehr watercolor challenge I have completely been blown away from all the talented beginners that never posted their work, some are just beautiful works of art. I wonder if we were all a bit more forgiving of our mistakes just how beautiful the world could be?  I want to leave you with this thought: Do not fear mistakes: There are none. ~Miles Davis

This week if you are wanting to try and watercolor Angela has a great challenge for us!
This week's challenge: Summer scenes. What view says "summer" to you? What is your view in the summer?
How to enter: Post your painting inspired by the challenge here: One entry per user per challenge prompt. This is to encourage you to paint at your own pace, whether fast or slow.

This is a perfect week to try a landscape! If you are timid about trying a landscape like I am (not my strongest skill in watercolor) check out Composing Landscape class, you will be glad you did! Angela's teaching style is so encouraging, and her knowledge of watercolor gives me the motivation to paint every day! Clicking on this link lets you get 20% off the class!  
Rural Iowa skyscape 
Last week was a fun challenge, it was on skies and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on painting skies thanks to Angela's classes. 

By clicking on  the links, and purchasing a class you are supporting my blog

Monday, July 10, 2017

FUN SUMMER CARD to make in 20 minutes or less!

This is the perfect summer card to send to someone you love! I love how bright and vibrant the card is! The secret to blending is using the right medium, I used Scribble Sticks to make this card, because I knew I wanted to get some vibrant pigment but also remove some of the pigment with a stencil, because of that I was able to get the effect that I wanted here is what I did!

Watercolor paper cut to 4.25x5.5
Cup of water for watercolor
Baby wipes
Small sentiment Die of your choosing
A2 card base.
Medium round brush, I like a mop brush for this, but any medium flat brush will work.

Start by adding just an inch of repositionable adhesive to the back of the watercolor paper, stick this to the craft mat This helps you not get extra fingerprints on the card panel.

Add your pigment to the card coloring the whole panel, I used the green, blue and yellow and orange tones for a summer day feel. Scribble onto your panel in a horizontal fashion making sure you overlap the colors for a blending effect. Once you are happy with the colors, use your wet brush to move the colors to the way you like it.

Dry the panel with a heat tool, don’t get it too close, the scribble sticks don’t like the heat too close and it will bubble up. At this time if you need to take the paper off of the mat that is all right.

Once dry take the flower stencil and stencil the card with VersaMark ink or embossing ink, remove the stencil, and cover the inked surface with the white embossing powder. Heat set the white embossing powder.

Then with the square pattern stencil take a baby wipe and take away some of the pigment, don’t scrub too hard, gently go over parts of the stencil, I like to use my index finger with a light touch and go into the spots that I want the pigment to be removed. The point of this is to add texture, not to have the whole stencil showing.

Add your die cut, and mount the panel on an A2 card base.

To learn more here are two classes that I love and refer back to often!

Creative Watercolor with Angela Fehr This link has a exclusive 20% off coupon attached to it!!!
Craftsy's watercolor cards made simple

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Watercolor card with Kuretake Starry Colors

Hello, I have a quick and beautiful card that takes longer to paint than to stamp. I love how simple and beautiful this card came to be! This technique is also used to for wet-into-wet. Angela Fehr has a great class on how to make the watercolor background, check it out! You can thank me later her class is awesome!

Or if you are new to watercolor This tutorial is a good one too... Here is a great tutorial on a wet-into-wet technique by one of my favorite youtube channels

I used a yellow and a pink pigment from Gansai Tambi 36 set, and then I added some of the gold starry colors to the yellow watercolors, once you get the yellow mixed (so I used three colors essentially, a pink, yellow, and a gold and the same yellow and mixed them together to create three hues.)

Then for the playing I mean painting: I got my size 14 round brush out and got a juicy brush full of pink, I wanted the pink to be as vibrant as possible, onto a wet/semi gloss saturated with water I lightly brushed my brush into spots that I wanted pink, I wasn't thinking much about where just where I felt needed some pink, then I added the yellow, the same process, if I like the idea of having yellow I painted some yellow down then I added the starry color mix into the paper. Then I played a little bit, DO NOT OVER WORK THE PAINT, the whole idea of this is to make it look loose and free.  Then let it dry overnight, or at least a good hour, you want the paper to bone dry before stamping on it.

Now it's time to get out your MISTI and your outline stamps, (a simple outline stamp will work wonders for this card)  I used Tim Holtz Flower Garden Stamp, and stamp it in black archival ink, mount the watercolor paper onto a card base and I called it done.

My simple design tip: I always like to choose colors that I know will blend well, so usually, analogous colors are my favorite to do for wet-into-wet washes, or for Verigrated washes, that way I don't have to worry too much about mud. If I need a splash of color I wait till after the wet-into-wet part of the paper is dry and go in and do a glaze with a different color, but I like to keep things simple and elegant, so I don't usually do that, but for this card, if I thought I needed green I could have gone back in and added green to the leaves if needed. I felt like the colors were perfect the way there were and I didn't want to chance to lose that feel, which is always the hardest thing an artist has to figure out.

Enjoy your Fourth of July, and Happy Creating!

Affiliated links listed bellow:

use this link for a 20% off discount

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Make-N-Tales at Memory Bounds

My cards are Memory Bound's Make-n-Takes for July So....

Join me at Memory Bound in Ankeny for their make-n-takes every Wednesday in July from 1-6! I will help you along the way! 

The watercolor cards are worth the $3.00 to make, you can't buy cards that cheap, and you can't make them without the help of Memory Bound for that price!! While you're creating these cards you can learn a new technique in the process! I will be at Memory Bound in Ankeny from 1-6 every Wednesday in July! I hope to see you there! The Awesome thing about Make-n-Takes is that you don't need to bring anything just yourself and $3.00 to make one card. (some of these cards you may want to make more since they are so cute and addictive to create! there is no limit on how many cards you want to make.)

July 12 1-6 You don't want to miss this one!
You guys, this is my new all time favorite way to make some fast and easy flower cards, with the help of a Penny Black stamps and the MISTI you can make a bunch of these pretty easy. I can't wait to share with you how I did it, when you see how easy it is to make this card you will be addictive (I need more of those Penny Black stamps

July 19th 1-6 Two Toned Stenciling 

Learn how to get a designer look with stencils and die cuts, I will have some really fun ideas on how to use this technique in other occasions, This is such a fun way to use watercolor, it's one of my fun go to techniques!

July 26th, 1-6 waterbased backgrounds with die

Once you do this inking and stenciling technique you will be amazed at how many ways you can use this technique in card and paper crafting projects! The Die cut on this is one of my favorites from Memory Box! The card is sure to make someone's day special with this delightful watercolor card. the Sentiment can be changed, it came from the Lawn Fawn Scripty Sentiment

This two stenciled watercolor background, it's sure to have the receiver wonder how you created it, we blend Scribble Sticks, heat embosses, and lift color out to create this beautiful card! 

When designing these cards, I had in mind to make watercolor irresistible to card and paper crafters alike! Join me at Memory Bound  Make-n-Takes, I can't wait to share my love of watercolor with you!
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