Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Chase

What better to do when you're awaiting the start of the chase than to check the cloud formations, or perhaps a beautiful Queen Anne's lace growing alongside the parking lot of the place you hope to catch sight of ...... wait, what's that you hear?  Not the air-conditioning system of the building you're parked next to, nor a truckload of lions roaring.  Yet, the sound is familiar and it's growing louder by the moment.

And then, between the trees you see it.  Well, in this case it was HWNSNBP who saw it first.  They call it the hare and given the sound you heard, the hounds are not far behind.  But..........they are not coming in your direction.  So you jump back in the car and try to make a calculated guess of which road to take to catch sight of the pack.

And if you're lucky enough in your guessing, you can catch up to the pack and hopefully find a place to pull over despite the numerous EMERGENCY NO PARKING signs along all the roads leading to the starting point that everyone else seems to be disregarding.  It helps when you live in the town and know some of the side roads and also that you not block any driveways or other people's views while you're watching the spectacle before you.

While some of them go up and continue on for a while, some of them don't get very far and look for any open field or yard to land in.

They might even fly over your head.

And it always comes in handy to have someone behind you to hold you up as you're trying to take a picture straight up in the air.

Those characters can get silly sometimes

and just plain make you happy that you got up earlier than you had to on a Saturday morning to take part in the chase.

And then you might pull up the driveway to find this..........

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's Feeding Time


(Make sure you enlarge the frame  to get the full view.)  
I know I said they're not noisy, but here they're fighting to be the first fed.  

And just a little later, they know enough to be silent when a stranger opens the lid of the box giving them the most daylight they've seen so far.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bold, Beautiful Bridal Colors

Aren't these some beautiful bold colors? This is part of a wedding invitation we received for my daughter-in-law's sister's wedding.  Gorgeous!  I was told a friend of hers drew the flowers and used a program, I think, to color them in.  You should see the response card - I told my DIL I didn't want to mail it back because it was so pretty.  It's the same floral outlined in white on kraft colored paper.  So simple and elegant.  

Anyway, when I saw these flowers I immediately thought of 4 of the new SU In-Colors for this year:  Blackberry Bliss, Hello Honey, Mossy Meadow, and Tangelo Twist. 

So I was inspired to use these colors for a bridal shower card for her.

I stamped that floral image in VersaMark ink on the Blackberry Bliss background paper first.  I ran a piece of Hello Honey through the Big Shot with a swirly pattern and used a 2/12" punch for the Tangelo Twist circle piece with the simple sentiment of Happiness in Blackberry Bliss.  The floral image was again stamped onto Whisper White with Memento Black ink and then I used an aquapainter and the inks in those new colors to paint it and then fussy cut it out.  On the inside I used another stamped and painted image in the corner before I wrote her a note inside as I couldn't make the shower in person.

They are getting married next month at an outside wedding and I wish them the most beautiful of days!

Friday, July 18, 2014

ICAD 2014 - Week 6

 July 6 - Tag or Label.  I added three little tags of that brightly colored paper tape on a card that I had used as a an experiment for those watercolor flowers a while back.  Then I repeated the colors with the highlighters on the top portion.  

July 7 - Lollipop. Or a bunch of them in Prismacolors.

July 8 - Green.  Positive and negative die cuts in green.  The two branches caught behind some teabag paper and the negative one stitched to it.  My first endeavor sewing paper.  

July 9 - Diagram.  One of the most basic diagrams that I could think of - that of a color wheel using Derwent Inktense pencils and water.  

July 10 - Kaleidoscope.  Overlapping circles of vibrant markers.

July 11 - The Moon.  If you remember the flowers and butterflies from last week that I used the teabag paper over, the basis of this was the watercolors that had bled through the teabag and I had put it aside.  The darker splotches of yellow and blue what was left on the card.  I added some more light yellow around the yellow splotches to make the moon full and then wisped some more watered-down blue throughout the rest of the sky.  Then I took some grey and streaked some clouds across the moon and sky.  It reminded me of the sky as it looked a couple of years ago after the fireworks on the fourth when there was a full moon, though that sky wasn't as blue.

July 12 - Text.  Confession time here.  These last couple of cards were done kind of catch up as I spent another evening in the ER with my sciatic again.  I can't even begin to explain the pain that I've been having and meds are only putting a dent into it.  Out of work again this week and discussing back surgery has been very stressful.  It's not just the sciatic nerve pain.   There are herniated discs and spinal stenosis and time has come to make a decision to improve the quality of my life in dealing with this.  There are options that run from simple to more involved and all of it is a bit, check that, a lot scarier that I would like.  

In the meantime, I am grateful that we put in this kitchen island so I at least have something to lean against and hold myself up as I can't sit without hurting and I prefer not to lay down all day.  

And having these little pieces of art to work on does take my mind off of things of which I am also grateful.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bluebirds, Birthday, and Sympathy

Do you ever remember seeing a bluebird growing up?  I know I don't.  I heard them mentioned in songs and possibly saw pictures in storybooks, but I never saw one until I was a much older adult.  They were on or near the endangered list during my childhood which could explain the lack of siting any.

There were many blue jays to be seen though and I think that to this day most people don't realize that there is a difference between a blue jay and a bluebird.  This disturbs me when I hear people say things about bluebirds like "they're so noisy" or "they're so mean" because most likely they're not referring to a bluebird at all.  

Bluebirds are not noisy.  In fact they have a sweet vocalization and don't scream or caw like the jays.  And unless they're defending their young, they are very docile.  

We have our second clutch of four that hatched last Friday and Saturday and Mr. and Mrs. Blue are taking very good care.

Below you see him at the dish of mealworms that HWNSNBP puts out for them each evening.  

And perched on a dead branch that we allow to remain in the oak tree outside the garden to give us a better view of the parents monitoring the nest without being hidden by the leaves.  These chicks are growing fast.

The bluebirds aren't the only ones with a birthday this month.  Sharing a card below for my cousin who celebrated earlier this month and whom I've not yet had a chance to wish her a happy birthday in person.  Our lives get so busy it seems.  Wish we were more like the birds.

And a sympathy card for my boss who lost his father recently.  This card was inspired by Paula at Stampinantics.  I meant to take a picture of the inside also where I repeated the grass image in the lower corner stamped off in blue.  

Sunrise, sunset.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

ICAD 2014 - Week 5

I figured I'd better shorten up these posts from two weeks to one.  So here goes with Week 5 - 

July 29 - California.  I've been to California once with HWNSNBP back in the mid-90's.  He had won an award from work and that's where the ceremony was to be held.  We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel which overlooks the Pacific.  One of my most vivid memories was the hillside down to the beach - how it was covered with pink and yellow flowers and it was only April.  We were so high up the surfers looked like seals in the water.  Here is my attempt at that hillside in watercolors.

July 30 - Red.  I just received my Stampin' Up Blendabilities and gave the red set a tryout.  

July 1 - Flower Bouquet.  While not necessarily a bouquet, it is a bunch of watercolored flowers more realistic this time.

July 2 - Tea or Coffee.  I have been saving tea bag papers lately.  Why you may ask?  I'm thinking of a project I wanted to try inspired by Kim Henkel at Letting in the Light.  I used tea bag paper here.  I first stamped the floral image on it with Stazon ink and let it dry.  Then I laid the tea bag over the index card and watercolored it.  The watercolors flowed through the tea bag easily onto the index card.  I'll save that card for another time.  This time I took the painted tea bag paper and mod podged it to a blank index card and the painting looked even better.  The butterflies were punch leftovers that I glued on before the final coat of mod podge.

July 3 - Tomorrowland.  I know this was supposed to be a reference to the Tomorrowland in Disney World but instead, as we had Hurricane Arthur approaching tomorrow I cased myself from a tangle I had done when we were awaiting the landfall of Sandy and added the Jersey coastline with the storm spinning away from us.

July 4 - Flag.  There's an ice cream place we stop at sometimes on our way to or from Barnegat and the cones come wrapped in these flag wrappers, which of course, as you can see, I save.  The mosaic pieces I added were from the label on a Cool Whip Container.

July 5 - Postage Stamp.  I love this series of bird stamps and received a card with the painted bunting on it which you know I couldn't throw away.  I used my Prismacolor pencils to first draw the cancellation markings and then to add the colors that you see in the bird between the lines.  Then with my Micron pen I filled in all the white space with parallel lines, adding the stamp at the end.

I know that some of my cards seem a bit "elementary" but I'm trying to use different approaches and different media and leaving my comfort zone.  I already know that there are a number of them that I'd like to do over, or add to, but I want this to be a spontaneous exercise and not something that I'll have to perseverate over.  And so far, it has been fun too.

July 4th Delay

Because Hurricane Arthur was nearing the Jersey coast on July 4th, most communities around here postponed their festivities until July 5th which was convenient as that was a Saturday.  We did have rain for most of the early part of the day on the 4th but then the calm after the storm kicked in and it turned into a beautiful evening after all - sans fireworks.  Check that, we were able to see many fireworks from the beach on LBI where we were visiting friends.  The big organized shows though were saved for the next night.

Sometime Saturday the local police department started setting up across the street from our condo for the big event.  These cones were set up in both directions from the parking lot as a pedestrian lane because once the parking lot fills, most people walk to the dock and though they arrive in dribs and drabs, they leave en mass which is always dangerous with all that vehicle traffic.

I don't have any pictures of the fireworks, I rather liked the way the cones were standing at attention and how their shadows played on the pavement.

I hope all my fellow American's had a wonderful Independence Day and I hope everyone had an enjoyable July weekend.

Monday, June 30, 2014

End of June

A sunset from Friday night.

These notecards from the dollar spot at Target were the base for some end-of-year thank you's that I needed.

I loved the color combination of the basic notecard and just added a leaf sprig from the bird builder punch and a "Thank You".

And here's one more shot of that sunset.