Toastmasters Speech 10 – plus things of note!

At the risk of losing folks because of two thoughtf-illed posts in a row (lol)….I wanted to share my Toastmasters Speech 10 – the final in the Competent Communicators Manual! I’ve been working through this for over a year, and I finally did complete it…whew!

Toastmasters Speech 10: Inspire

The objectives for this final speech in this series, Inspire Your Audience (8 – 10 Minutes):

• To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement
• Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama
• Avoid using notes

I’d been stewing on Toastmasters Speech 10 for a long, long time…the topic changed repeatedly for months! I’m pretty happy with how this one came out, even though I had some hiccups I wish I could take back. You can watch the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Things of note:

Class spots still open – I heard from Impress in Tukwila WA that there are still just a couple open seats left in my class tonight and I’d love it if you can make it! It’s “Jars of Cuteness” with Lawn Fawn stamps….sneak peek below. Class is at 6:30, and you can call the store to sign up – 206-901-9101! Call quick before they’re filled up! My next class isn’t til later in March, and I’m going to start planning my upcoming teaching tours soon too, so stay tuned for more info. West coast is next, so if you have an LSS out here that I should visit, introduce me!

LF Jars class Instagram

Milestone warning! Check out the YT subbie numbers HERE!?!? ACK!! Go share one of my videos and push me over, will ya? You know I like to celebrate by giving away stuff, right?

One last thing – My friend Laura and her kiddos Charlie and Emma made the cutest cardmaking video with the Tiny Heroes set. I finally got a chance to watch it and oh my gosh it is too adorable. Check it out!

Toastmaster friends with a CC: What was the title for your Toastmasters Speech 10? Just curious!

3 Lessons on winning and losing

We all experience winning and losing in all areas of life, don’t we?

A game like the Super Bowl takes those win/loss moments and infuses them with steroids. As a full-on championship game, the pinnacle of the sport of football, it places ultimate importance on the outcome of the game.

My team’s loss in yesterday’s game gave me pause to examine my own focus, and how I handle wins and losses. (Warning, long post ahead, grab some coffee!)

Winning and losing? Or just Plan A vs Plan B?

Except in sports, when a trophy can only be given to one side or the other, most of our wins and losses in life aren’t all that black-and-white. Often instead of Plan A, the “win,” we end up with Plan B. While it’s tempting to see Plan B as the loss, it’s important to recognize that we may only be redirected…not losing. It’s a matter of perspective.

There’s a country song by Rascal Flatts called Bless the Broken Road – and the lyric that catches me is, “It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.”  Looking for that grander plan is what keeps me going when I feel I’ve suffered a loss; because I know God’s got a plan. He’s not surprised by my loss, and often He was using that loss to redirect my path to His plan. 

If I always won – if my Plan A was always the same as my destiny – I’d take a lot more credit for my successes than I deserve. And if it’s my plan and ends up as a failure, I can be crushed by a loss. If I can look at those failures as readjustments – nudging me back on track, or refining me or teaching me – then I don’t feel the ownership (and pain) of a loss at such a personal level.

The Seahawks, as a franchise, are new to the status of being a team on top. Yes, they won last year’s title, but they’re no dynasty yet. Getting knocked off that pedestal may just serve to remind them that the “dynasty” status of repeat winners isn’t something to take for granted – and bring them back stronger than ever next year.

Learning from losses

If we come away from winning and losing experiences without growing from the experience, we miss the point. If the Seahawks don’t become a better, stronger team because of their loss, then they might as well never have gone to Arizona to play in the Super Bowl. If the Patriots only put their trophy on a shelf and pat themselves on the back, then their win is only a piece of metal.

Learning and growing is what keeps life interesting. I’ve had times in my life when I whined at God that I just wanted life to calm down, to stabilize, I just wanted to be in a groove of my own and not get stretched. But those times quickly go from being a respite to a dry desert! Growing pains might not be the most pleasant, but they refine us and prepare us for our future experiences.

As hard as it is, staying engaged in activities that push me, that press me to try things I’ve never tried and often will fail at…those are the times I feel most alive. I’ve been in a crazy creative season for almost a year now, and I’ve been feeling desperate to hang onto it; I fear the day that I dry up on ideas! Being willing to try new things, even when they end up in the trash, is what’s keeping me stretching – and alive.

An exercise in sportsmanship

Watching post-game interviews with my Seahawks, I was struck by the graciousness expressed toward their opponents. I’m not at all certain if they actually felt that way; as a fan, I was devastated enough by the loss that I’m sure at least some of them would have liked to share some choice words with reporters. But…they didn’t. And I think that will stand them in good stead as they process this defeat.

Often the exercise of walking the walk and talking the talk helps us to develop that heart of a good sport. Saying the “right” things out loud – those gracious, kind statements that your heart is screaming are unfair – saying them aloud can help us eventually start to believe it. “Fake it til you make it,” as the old adage goes.

When I get slapped by something that stings, I grumble to myself—and I really don’t like that small, petty version of me. That sulky me is no fun. I relish the opportunities to have to share with others about the thing that stung me. I want others to think of me as a mature person, so I search my mind for the mature things that I “ought” to feel, and say them. Even with a fake smile on my face. That’s the first step toward getting my hurt heart to grow up too….and eventually I do end up feeling those more mature feelings.

Enjoy the journey, enjoy every moment,
and quit worrying about winning and losing.
-Matt Biondi

All that said – yes, the loss yesterday stings. I’ve been public enough with my support for the Seahawks (this painting and this video, for starters!) that my first thoughts weren’t of great congratulations to the Patriots. Just ask my friends at the Super Bowl party I went to! I knew I’d get a ton of grief from my Patriot-supporting friends, and I didn’t really want to face that. But…the exercise of writing this blog post has helped process the loss a bit, and come out with something positive from it. Yay for blogging, eh?

Congratulations to our opponents!

When I posted my Seahawks art recently, some friendly taunting of course happened in the comments sections of various social media. The usual light-hearted jabbing that we all seem to do. Some folks asked if I planned to do a Patriots version of yesterday’s video – and I promised that if the Pats did win, I’d do a card with their uniforms too! (Sorry, no time to shoot a video, but you can see the Hawks one HERE.)

Sandy Allnock Congrats Pats

This was an alternate layout of the stamps from yesterday’s video post – this time the cheerleader is being backed up by her team!

Sandy Allnock CongratsPats


I’m going to give away this card! Leave a comment before midnight Thursday and I’ll post a winner on Friday. And just to keep everything on the happy side, I’m going to ask everyone to comment on your favorite moment the OTHER team had in the game last night. Yeah I know, I’m asking a lot…but this whole blog post is an exercise in processing winning and losing, right?

For me, as much as it *stung*, I loved that last little interception by Malcolm Butler. It was an underdog moment – and I loved seeing his expression when it dawned on him what he had just done. If only we all could be in the right place at the right time like that!

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PS! I just reached a little milestone over at Patreon – and celebrated by shooting a special patron-only video: my art journal! Many many thanks to my patrons for your amazing support!! No winning and losing when you’re a patron…it’s all wins!

Super Bowl Stamping – Magical *Sunday*

Super Bowl Stamping – Magical *Sunday*


This week we’ve got a Magical SUNDAY tutorial instead of Monday – woohoo! Super bowl 2015! Go Hawks!

To create the custom stamps – before coloring – I stamped both Football Ian and Cheerleader Anya (sorry, they’re retired) in black ink on white paper (separately) and scanned them. In Photoshop I was able to remove the parts of the stamp I wanted to get rid of – the girls’ “A” on their shirts, Ian’s bangs, the stripes on the top of the helmet, and the number (10) on his shirt. (Click HERE to see what Ian looked like originally.) The “3” I typeset in place, and the Seahawks helmet logos were placed in from a file I snagged on the interwebs – it took some major tweaking (perspective, distort, warp, and more) to make it look like it was angled right for the side of the helmet. I cloned it and flipped it for the 2nd side. I added the Hawks logo to the cheerleader shirts similarly. I moved them together and made my little scene, and printed it out on Neenah 80# cardstock. (Supplies are listed below.)

Not only does Ian become Russ Wilson…but the cheerleaders take on different ethnicities from the same stamp…you’ll see how in the video.You’ll definitely want to check out the video to see how the shiny helmet was colored – you can do any colors, just follow the same amounts of dark/med/light – and Anya’s hair for the 2nd cheerleader. You can do that to most any stamp and change her ethnicity!

Be sure to check out the other 2 football stamping links at the end – in one of them, you get to see me talkin’ trash and stamping with a football! Enjoy the coloring video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube!

Super Bowl 2015

I’m so excited for the game—it’s time for the Hawks to Two-Peat! The entire region is just SO excited…anywhere you go, waiting in line at the post office or grocery store, you can strike up a conversation now with EVERYone. Just mention the Hawks. People positively light UP and start talking football, when normally they just look down and mumble! Funny what a game can do for our community, isn’t it?
Sandy Allnock - Custom Super bowl 2015 Stamping

Even if you’re not cheering for one team or the other, are you tuning in for the game? Super Bowl 2015 promises to at least entertain us all with the ads, right? Can’t wait to see them…usually I keep up on the YouTube sneak peeks, but I’ve been too busy this year. So I get to be surprised during the game instead!



Seahawks Pregame Prayer – Watercolor

Seahawks PreGame Prayer by Sandy Allnock

I’ve been a mad watercolorist lately. So much more than I’ve shared thus far! This particular piece, Seahawks Pregame Prayer, is one I painted in response to my church’s call for refreshing the art on the walls of the church! We have many talented artists in our congregation, and it’s fun to see what everyone creates.

Seahawks Pregame Painting

This is the first painting I’ve submitted….inspired by praying for Russell Wilson; not that he win the game necessarily (though that would be a bonus!), but that he continues to walk strong in his faith and continues to be a testimony for God in this adventure he is now part of. He has a huge audience, and that gives him the opportunity to share what God has done for him!
Seahawks PreGame Prayer by Sandy Allnock

I’ve always been impressed with Russell’s Seahawks pregame and postgame leadership – which includes praying with the other team. Such a powerful witness…even though they’re on opposite sides, they’re brothers in Christ! Yeah!Seahawks PreGame Prayer by Sandy Allnock

A little technical detail on this painting, called Seahawks Pregame Prayer – it’s painted with Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors on Aquarelle watercolor paper.I found a photo from the Seattle PI to base this on. I titled this Pregame, even though the photograph was postgame – because *I* am praying pre-game!

Come back tomorrow for – you guessed it – another piece of Seahawks art!

Sharing this Seahawks pregame painting happens on a pretty exciting day – I’m taking the Truth Scrap workshop all day today! So stoked!!! Very excited to see what everyone has to share.

Watercolor Flowers Series #2: Flower Dance

Watercolor Flowers Series #2: Flower Dance


I’m on the second in my series on painting watercolor flowers, woohoo! I’m using my Koi again… preparation for my two-week trip to paint my way through Europe! This time it’s a more graphical style of painting – no background, just letting that white space speak on its own. (If you missed last week’s floral #1, click HERE.) Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

I love the loose look of this style of watercolor flowers…and it might serve me well while traveling to Europe and trying to paint quickly! I’m not sure if the weather will be cooperative, so I’m looking for various ways of capturing what I see easily, in case it’s raining. Sadly it’s not spring, so I probably won’t have need to watercolor flowers. 🙂

Watercolor flowers No2b by Sandy Allnock

Things of Note

  • Below I’m linking you to the supplies for both #1 and #2 in the series….so you can combine your purchases all in one. 🙂
  • If you’re on a computer/device that supports it, let me know if you see the coolio share buttons on the left side? (They won’t show up in email.)
  • The new “subscribe” system — agh! Let’s give it another try. See if this form works better than the last if you weren’t successful yesterday:

Subscribe to the new mailing list

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From the feedback so far on last week’s flower – the watercolor flowers series is likely to continue!

Hedgehugs in Painterly Copic Watercolor

Hedgehugs in Painterly Copic Watercolor

More Copic watercolor, you ask? Are there more ways to do it? Well heck yes! I’ve been experimenting so I can offer a variety of options for you – this one will be especially for those who like brushes and palettes for watercoloring. Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube!

Even with the extra bleeding that I had to work through, I love love love how this came out! In the supply list below, I’ve linked to a round palette, which I own – but shown in the video is also THIS watercolor palette too. Anything plastic with wells in it will work for this technique.
Sandy Allnock Hedgehugs Copic Watercolor2

Copic Watercolor..not so beloved?

By the way – some of my Copic watercolor videos seem to be garnering more “thumbs down” on YouTube – whaaa? Not quite sure what’s up with those folks. Wish they just unsubscribe if they don’t like what I’m doing. Be sure to go over and give it a thumbs up to counter them, will ya? Thanks!


Below are the products featured in today’s project. Affiliate and product disclosure can be found HERE.

Anyone want to take bets on whether or not I can find more Copic watercolor techniques? lol!

Magical Monday: Tiny Heroes (almost!)

Magical Monday: Tiny Heroes (almost!)


Happy Magical Monday! I’ve had several requests to use my little superheroes on a card….and until now, I had hesitated. Why? Because they were for a Simon Says Stamp special limited release only during Stamptember 2014! I don’t like showing you things you can’t go buy – because I know it makes you guys sad. But guess what?!?!? There’s a brand spanking new Tiny Heroes set you can now get!! You can do the same thing with them that I did here…so I figured it’s an okay alternative 🙂 They’re superduper close to these. (Link at the end of this post!)

Enjoy my Magical Monday video with a cool city night scene I created…watch it below or click HERE to check it out in HD on YouTube!

For the sentiment – I did a few things. First, stamped it onto the card itself. I colored in “TOGETHER” with red marker, then covered that with Glossy Accents to add some emphasis to it. I then took a piece of tissue paper and stamped the small sentiment on it – I wanted something to make it pop more on the card since it disappeared into the shadows under their feet, but not so much white. I didn’t have any vellum in da house (gotta go shopping!), so tissue paper worked, even if it was tough to deal with. (I ended up putting a strip of tape runner on the card instead of the tissue.)Sandy Allnock - Tiny Heroes2

Things of note

  • A bonus pair of videos are live today, for those who are interested in even more from me today (gluttons, lol!): One is HERE on OWHtv, the other is HERE at Hero Arts!
  • Thanks for all the feedback on yesterday’s kitty post! Looks like it was a tech fail since I couldn’t figure out how to fix it easily, but I’ll test something again soon.
  • I think the Magical Monday videos are finally catching on…thanks for giving me grace to not have to voice over at least these videos each week!


Below are the products featured in today’s project. Affiliate and product disclosure can be found HERE.

Go out and have a Magical Monday!

Gansai Tambi Kitty Cat Face Painting

I needed to test something out with technology today… Don’t mind me. I’ll share a piece of art with you to distract you from my crazy geeking test.

Cat Face Painting

A little bonus for those visiting during my test: a little cat face painting I worked on last night. I was sitting on the sofa doodling it – so there won’t be a video; I’m not likely to have this kind of success again! lol. But who knows, I may try again sometime.
I created this cat face painting of Tsuki, my fat lil black kitty, with my Kuretake watercolors on Strathmore paper…she’s a black cat and I started out wanting the blue and purple as undercoats, but then decided I liked it and didn’t add much black.

By the way, if anyone out there knows: should we all be calling these – Gansai paints? Tambi? I don’t know what the Japanese would answer, so I just call them my Kuretake watercolors since that’s easier to remember. Maybe I’ll go ask the company. 🙂

*edited to add: Thanks to cgpwriter who commented: “Gansai is Japanese for paint (s) or color pigment. “Gansei Tambi” is a trademark thing with Kuretake. Tambi means “aesthetic.”  I also asked Kuretake on Instagram, and they said they use the hashtag #gansaitambi so they weren’t terribly helpful – I thought perhaps they’d pick one word or the other! lol.
Sandy Allnock - cat face painting, Kuretake watercolors
I don’t think I’ll create a video with this one… It’s really hard to redo a painting a second time.

However, I’m gathering a bigger collection of paintings/drawings now…and I’m considering putting them in my store once I figure out what kinds of prices to put on them. Anybody know of a site where I can get pricing recommendations?

Gotta jet and see if this test worked. So far so good! Have a lovely Sunday!

**test failed! phoo! I’ve fixed the post now, but – leave me a comment if you saw anything weird – pics turned sideways, huge, etc – and whether that was in email or on the blog, on a phone v computer. Trying to figure out what I have to do to blog from Europe and not have posts go wonky….but at least this post seems worth the effort since you all seemed to like my cat face painting!

Watercolor Flowers Series: #1, Sun Catcher

Watercolor Flowers Series: #1, Sun Catcher


I’m beginning a watercolor flowers series as I prepare for my trip to Europe next month…soooo excited! But I seriously need to loosen up my watercolor skills. I’m also trying to play with all my different watercolor sets to figure out which to take with me…so look out for more coming up!

Watercolor flowers

I wanted to make watercoloring something that would look like a freehand painting into something anyone could try…so I’m using stencils! In the video, I’ll show you where to place pencil lines for the petals – so pick up the stencil (links below) and paint along with me. Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Watercolor flowers can be painted for cards – or for art on your wall! This one ended up on a card but would also have made a lovely gift if it were framed.

Sandy Allnock - Watercolor flowers No1

Next Friday I’ll share #2 in the series, and I decided to be nice and give you a heads up on the stencil I’ll be using…you can put it on the same order as this one and be ready to paint along with me. (I’m also linking to both watercolor papers used in these two videos – either one works great.)

I might continue this series if it’s popular – so leave some love here and on the video, and I’ll see if I can work up some more for you!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; compensated affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more. NOTE: some items are no longer available and have been removed.

Copic Watercolor: learning from Ranger (Bird Crazy)

Copic Watercolor: learning from Ranger (Bird Crazy)


Copic watercolor

Today’s video stems from a little happening at CHA! I fell in {puffyheartlove} with Tim’s new Bird Crazy stamps. Oh MAN. A store owner I know (Kate from Absolutely Everything north of Boston!) happened to get her hot little hands on a set, and I chased her around for days trying to borrow it to just stamp one to color…it was killing me not to color them! I finally did get one inked up, and as a thank-you to her, I gave her the first colored image that she could put on a card sample in her store…and she loved it. (Yay!) It’s this one…if you go to the store, take a selfie with it and send it to me, ok?

Sandy Allnock - Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Copic watercolor

Kate showed it to Tim – and he didn’t seem able to believe that Copic could do this with “just” the markers – he wanted to know what else I used. So guess what? I made a video to show him how I created Copic watercolor! I added a bonus challenge for myself…I used Ranger inks and made a crazy background first, then tried to imitate that one with my markers. It’s not perfect, but pretty dang close. Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube!

The finished one isn’t an exact replica, but few would look at this and guess it was Copic marker:

Sandy Allnock- Copic Ranger2

Below is the card using the distress ink background…I tried painting with Peacock Feathers and Picked Raspberry to cover the color all over the bird, so it’s a little funky. But I think it mostly works, too! The eyes are a bit greenish since I couldn’t wash out much of the color from them….I think I like the Copic watercolor version better, simply because I could make it a bit brighter.

Sandy Allnock- Copic Ranger4

PS You might also be interested in this creation with the crazy birds!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the picture or wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.

To see more of my Copic watercolor pieces, search in my sidebar list for the tag!

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