Apr 28, 2020

My Top 10, Ok 15, Current Favorite YouTube Channels

Happy Monday Tuesday! (Do you have to remind yourself what day it is? I do...)

I've always enjoyed watching youtube videos, but especially now. In case you looking to broaden your viewing, here my current favorites (mostly cardmaking). I know I'm leaving out a ton of fantastic cardmakers and a million fun channels, but these are the ones that I'm currently enjoying all the time. You may already be watching many of these folks, but just in case....

1. Laura Bassen -- Laura's techniques and colorful cards are fantastic, and her breezy, funny, commentary is a joy. (I basically stalk her channel.) Now that she is living in Germany, her stories are even more fun. Laura is also featured on several companies' youtube channels, so keep an eye out for those videos as well. 

2. Julie Ebersole -- I so look forward to videos from Julie! She always explains how and why she places things on her card (something I struggle with) and her (almost always white) backgrounds with a pop of bright color appeal to me muchly! Julie's voice and commentary are delightful. I could listen to her chuckle all day!

3. Koren Wiskman -- My friend Francie recommended Koren to me and I am so glad she did. Go for the cards, stay for the fun. Her cards are crisp and clean and beautifully made. Plus, her hair! 

4. Cathy Zielske designs fantastic products for Simon Says Stamp and has a million other projects going. Recently, she started a series on card design and it is the best!! Ten minutes on different design elements. Cathy does a terrific job of explaining why her cards "work." Addicted.

5. Penny Black Stamps -- Their products are fabulous, but their cards are even better! Jill Foster is so talented and is behind most of the videos. Her coloring, layouts, and her voice are all just beautiful. And the other artists on the channel are also amazing. I watch every video and learn something every time.

6. Natasha Valkovskaya  -- Natasha is fairly new to youtube, but you may know her as Craft Away With Me on Instagram. She's got a "simple" style that I love and her videos are great. I learn a lot. BTW, she is now featuring on Instagram a lot of hand drawn sketches that she watercolors and they are amazing!!!

7. Yana Smakula -- Yana is just plain wonderful -- all of her cards and videos teach me something. Plus, I have to admit I love her Ukranian accent (my mom spoke Ukranian as a child and, while she didn't have an accent, Yana's voice is reminding me of something!).

8. Mary Polanco -- I tend to scan the offerings looking for her product reviews. Sometimes Mary comes across some new to me things that are cheaper than what I might have bought. I like that!

9. Amy Schulke -- Amy runs Vanilla Arts and specializes in teaching Copic coloring. Her approach differs from many cardmakers and she is quick to criticize a lot of what we have been taught. YIKES. She posts free videos on youtube and they will definitely make you think twice about the way you color an image!

10. Gina K Designs -- Gina is a gem. I adore her. Honest, kind, and super hardworking. Her warm personality and classic cards are so soothing! She does a beautiful job explaining each step. Plus her products rock!

11. Jenny Can Cook -- A former comedian, her recipes are simple and there's always some subtle snark. Love me some snark. Haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet -- watching youtube is better than actually cooking.

12. The Toe Bro -- Didn't see that one coming, did you? Mike thinks I'm insane. You are either going to love this or be totally repulsed and never read my blog again. If you turn on the sound, you'll hear a very caring fun doc. He is so kind to these folks. But, DON'T CLICK ON THE LINK UNLESS YOU LIKE GROSS PICTURES OF TOE NAIL REMOVALS.

13. The Stay at Home Chef  -- Great set of cooking videos! Most of them are pretty simple. I've tried several and there's been some hits and a few misses. I really like this woman. She's got Addison's Disease and is often quite sick (you can read about that on her blog or IG account) but she keeps on rolling. So popular, she turned down an offer from Food Network for her own show.

14. CreationsCeecee -- Oh, these are some awesome videos on loose watercoloring and doodling. Warning: she makes it look easier than it is!! I know, I've tried.

And last, but not least ....

15. The Makeover Guy -- quick before and after photos of people getting makeovers from Christopher Hopkins. So fun and sometimes touching stories. Feel free to fast forward to the after pics if you don't want to hear the backstories.

Do YOU have any favorites? I'd love to check them out.

Apr 24, 2020

Hi There

Don't make this card -- unless you are home with hours and hours on your hands!

I never know what to do with square dies, so I'm not sure why I bought these Floral Squares from Pinkfresh Studio. I'm sure there is some very talented designer to blame. Squares and rectangles are not a great match.

Die cut 27 of these babies and glued the tiny narrow pieces on top of each other.  As careful as I was, the thin strips did not want to line up perfectly and glue seeped out in places. It's kind of a hot mess.

Nevertheless, I had fun making it and I like the ending.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Never again!!

I'm blogging this at 2:20 am. I've been awake since 12:30 am. Mike got up at 11:30 pm and is still awake. Things are going great here, how about you?  GAH

Apr 23, 2020

Making the Best

A cable station is playing the entire season of ER, ** and Mike and I are recording it. We watch one (or two) episodes a day. A few days ago, a sweet nurse sang a portion of this song at the funeral of a young man. The wrenching melody and the words resonated with this season we are all in.

Am looking forward to the days when we all look back and can say good riddance to this time. In the meantime, hoping to live now in a manner that I won't regret when I look back. Some days I think I meet this test; others not so much.

How are you doing??

** ER puts the current medical shows on TV to shame! I'd forgotten how good it is.

Apr 15, 2020

Friendship Cards

I've got a couple of fun friendship cards to share, both using supplies that have been around for quite sometime.

Used the cute smiley face from a tiny Technique Tuesday set (that might have been a free with purchase???). The patterned papers are from Papertrey Ink and the sentiment from Altenew. But, if you are inspired, it would be easy to substitute other supplies.

Liked the first card, but was disappointed in the lack of color. So, I made this one...

I blended ink on the circles, but if I had to do it over again, I think I'd just use colored cardstock. That was a lot of work for not a whole lot of difference.

I like them both, but am partial to the second one. Either way, they will eventually get in the mail.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Great! And a shout out to Ginger Na for sending me some beautiful hand made papers from South Korea and a card and bookmark! How sweet. Now I've got to think about using those papers (although I feel like hoarding them!).

Hope you all are doing well. If your experience is similar to mine, it's up and down!

Apr 13, 2020

The Year of Nothing

In the fall of 4th grade, the young nun teaching our class got sick and disappeared. We didn't know what was wrong with her, or when or if, she would return. One day the principal came in and introduced a substitute teacher and that was that. Our regular teacher never came back, and we spent the rest of the school year with a series of substitutes. I made a list. Our class of 40 kids had 17 separate substitute teachers.

Our parents said nothing. Or, if any of them raised a concern, we never heard about it. This was the early 1960s and parents stayed out of our education. They didn't help with our homework, or sign it. They didn't know we had a book report due on Friday or a test on Monday. And they certainly didn't challenge the wisdom of the Church. We went to school, played outside, ate dinner, did our homework, and no one bothered us. "Parental involvement" consisted of signing our report cards and helping out with an occasional bake sale. 

Our school, St. John the Baptist in New Haven, CT, had 2 sections for each of its 8 grades. Each section had 40 kids and each section stayed together for all 8 years. Since folks rarely moved, and no one got divorced, I graduated 8th grade with almost the same 39 other kids with whom I started first grade. 

Normally well behaved and studious, without a real teacher, I became a common criminal. I stole an old pair of my mother's eyeglasses and wore them to school, claiming they were mine. The obviously too big pale brown pearl frames swamped my little 4th grade head and prevented me from seeing, but I insisted they were mine, until the principal pulled them off my face at recess and told me to give them back to my mother. 

I got caught cheating on a "times table" test. I had placed a copy of the tables under my butt, and since I lacked x-ray vision, couldn't see through my ass to copy them without squirming, so of course I got caught. Despite the clear and convincing evidence of my guilt, I sat there and denied it. If a nun had been there, I'd have been called bold, made to chew on soap, and got sent home with a note to my parents. But nothing happened. I got an A in math. 

I took a crayon and scribbled like a 2 year old all over the inside of my desk. I faked being sick, running the thermometer under hot water so I would look like I had a fever, and stayed home. I missed the maximum number of days you could miss and still be promoted. I "fainted" while kneeling at the altar, waiting for Holy Communion. The following week I lied and claimed that Billy had pushed me during recess. Billy looked stunned, then shrugged, not even bothering to deny it. I got an A in conduct. Billy won the "best citizen" award that month. 

The Year of Nothing was the Year of the Lord of the Flies. Howie became the de facto Lord of the Class. Heavier than everyone else, he pushed around the smaller boys, stole our lunches, and mocked all the teachers behind their backs. 

We didn't learn long division, or our times tables, the way the other section had. We didn't sell as much World's Finest Chocolate. We misbehaved in and out of class. Our section didn't get to sing its own song during the Christmas Pageant. Rather, they scattered us among the other classes so as to dilute our presence. None of us made it into the Queen's Court for the May Day celebration. 

But I was one of the successful kids. When I got to 5th grade, and under the careful eye of the same nun all year long, I became a reformed criminal. I reverted to actually earning good grades and behaving myself. And I stayed that way. But not everyone did. By the time we graduated, our section had a well deserved reputation as being the "worst" class ever, with the "worst" penmanship, "worst" behavior (bold and wild!), "worst" standardized tests, and, worst of all, the "worst" attitude. 

I often wonder what happened to some of my classmates. Several of the girls attended the same all girls high school as I, and I know they ended up fine. But some did not. Howie did not graduate with us. He got expelled in May of 8th grade, a month shy of graduation, for cheating (on a math test). Eddie never really learned to read, but he graduated. He was killed in Viet Nam. Carol had a nervous breakdown in 9th grade and we lost track of her. Mary Beth went to "live with her Aunt" her Junior Year of high school (and I suspect she gave the baby up for adoption).

Did 4th grade cause these problems? No clue but I can't help but wonder. A savvy researcher would have tracked the two sections of kids to see what effect the Year of Nothing had on us. An even savvier group of adults wouldn't have let it happen. But, no one was paying attention, so we'll never know. It was 1961 and there was The Bomb and Communism and putting food on the table to worry about. 

I thought of that year recently. It was scary being out of control. Getting behind in math wasn't the worst of it -- cheating and lying were. Watching all the schools close down, I thought back to my crazy 4th grade and wondered how shutting all the schools is affecting our kids now. It didn't take much for me to go from being a "perfect" student to a little criminal! Let's hope we all have a little more savvy now and are paying just a bit more attention to these tender souls. 

Apr 10, 2020

Manor Born

My friend, Pam, lives nearby and does AMAZING papercrafting. Plus, she actually sends cards all the time! 

Here's a mini Bardee Manor that she made me last week. I got a text telling me that she was dropping off something and would text me when she left. Like a drug drop!! HA.

Isn't this amazing? My husband and son were impressed -- I think they may have suggested I make something like this. Can you imagine the patience and time such details require!?? Not me. 

(Sorry the pics aren't better but photography is so not my thing.)

And here's the real deal she modeled it after!

Thanks Pam!

MOOD WHEN DONE: Fantastic!

Apr 5, 2020

Reverse Confetti Easy Hello

Reverse Confetti is owned by Jen Del Muro and is located right outside Dallas. We've never met (but will fix that as soon as we go back to "normal times"**), but I am a big fan of her products, particularly the line of bold, graphic cover plates. It's open for business, as Jen is running it by herself for now.

This card uses the Rounded Stripe Panel die, which is super easy to use -- I cut the die in 3 colors and then pieced together, popping up the blue pieces. Added a sentiment that was sitting out on my desk! And yes, I can see that the sentiment isn't centered perfectly, but that's another lesson to slow down, even in these slowest of days.

I don't know about you, but before I shell out $20 on a die, I want one that I can use over, and I think this one fits the bill. You'll be seeing more of it.


** I keep thinking about the future and found myself referring to it as "normal times," as in "I can't wait for normal times so that I can...."  I realized that I got that phrase from my paternal grandmother. She was born in 1900 and never accepted all the changes she witnessed in her life. One of her favorite expressions in the 1960s was to bemoan current prices (for example, bread (.25!)) and say she couldn't wait for them to return to "normal times." Bread was never going back to .5 a loaf, but she never stopped pining for that time.

The funny thing was that, by then, she and my grandfather actually were very comfortable financially. After they died, we grandchildren figured out that my grandfather, who had traveled to the US alone from southern Italy through Ellis Island when he was 13, earned his money, not just by being a barber, but by running a numbers operation through the barbershop. Despite having money, my grandmother worried all the time that they would lose it all. She had been poor and never felt the safety that those who grow up comfortable take for granted. She never stopped waiting for the .5 loaf of bread, even though by every measure she was better off when bread was .25.

So now that we have all had the rug pulled out from under us, I wonder how this will change us. Will I ever be comfortable going to the movies, eating at a restaurant, or going to an ER? Will I go back to having a half empty pantry, believing that "stocking up" is a waste of money? Will I ever take easy access to a grocery store for granted?

Maybe time will soften this experience, but I expect that for many, particularly those who are facing financial ruin, these times will leave a heavy mark and change us in ways that we cannot see now. So today, it's one day a time, helping where we can, waiting and hoping for the best, but knowing that "normal" is going to change forever.

In the meantime, I'm wondering -- how do you think this will change you or your family or society?