Friday, January 13, 2017

This Week's Wind Up

Kirby, our cockatiel was in bad need of a petticure - that is, his toe nails needed trimming.  See that beak?  If it's not covered gently by a towel he will use it.  The stinker knows to run when he see's the towel coming and usually pitches a fit.  I drape the towel over his head and gently lay him down on his back. Then I have to skillfully pry his foot out and using a nail clipper, snip off the sharp tips of his claws.  If I snip too much he might bleed and that could become a problem.  If it does happen, I put some flour on it to stop the bleeding and he'll be all right.  He usually gets a special treat after this "torture" like some Rice Krispies. 

I ran outside in my pajamas to try and get a picture of the sky that looked like it was on fire one morning this week.  Truly I did not get the most beautiful colors in this picture because there was the most gorgeous shade of magenta in there also, but it was so fleeting.  Maybe if you just squint a little you can see it.  

When I got to work I realized that it was a co-worker's birthday and I didn't have a card for her.  So when I got home from work I put this together.  It was originally just on the Summer Sun base, but in my rush I glued the star on upside-down making the card open from the top.  I was tired and hungry and decided to let it go until the next morning.  I showed HWNSNBP and he thought I had designed a new kind of card and that I meant it to open from the top.  I suppose you could have some kind of card that would open from the top, but not this one. So I cut off the front and added it to another card back in the light blue color.  And then...........I forgot to put it in the interoffice mail at work. Thankfully I had already sent her a birthday message via e-mail on her actual birthday.  

That same night I had also put these two thank you notes together.  The first one is a scrapling.  I took that skinny length of cardstock and used that for the card base. The image is one from Unity and before I stamped the image in black I used some markers to make the sky and ground.  This one I just slipped into someone's school mailbox.

The second one started as a scrapling also but then I adhered it to a white card base.  This one is going in the mail and it will fit snugly in an envelope.

And did you know that today, besides being Friday the 13th and Blame Someone Else day is also Rubber Duckie day?  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jingle Belles 2017 - And We're Off..... There's No Time for the Presents

Hard to believe that this is the 7th year of the Jingle Belles challenges.  So conservatively speaking, I've made more than 300 Christmas cards in the last 6 years.  I may not have taken part in all of the challenges every year, or made more than one card for each challenge, but looking at our Christmas card list, even with it's fluctuations in number of recipients year-to-year, I know that at least that many cards were made.  Most of them were one-of-a-kind.  Those times I didn't do a lot of the challenges I had to resort to some assembly line cards, but for the most part they've been originals.

Our first challenge is subject to the interpretation of the word PRESENT.  You could have the image of a present or presents on your card, or you could use some upcycled material from an actual present you received.  For this card I chose to upcycle although I might argue that a tag goes on  a present.....yeah, but I won't.

I started with a piece of lovely giftwrap that covered a very thoughtful (and fun) gift that was mailed to me.  Let me say right up front that these pictures were hard to take due to the various "shiny" things that were used on it, including that very lovely piece of medium brown and silver foil giftwrap which I used to cover almost all of the front of the card.  The tag is made from a thin cardboard bellyband that was around a cute buffalo plaid pouch I found in the Dollar Spot at Target before the holidays.  I love kraft-colored paper and the fact that there were a few intermittent white snowflakes scattered over the band, well, that was a selling point also.  (How many people do you know that buy things because of the prospect of using the packaging? Your answer better not be 0.) 

I cut a portion of the bellyband and shaped the top to look like a hang-tag.  At this point the all that lovely kraft color in the base, the back panel and the tag all began to mush together so they needed to be defined.  I don't know what possessed me - maybe the meds that I'm on - but I decided to use........brown glitter. I wanted a nice crisp line on the base of the card so I used some 1/8" redline tape to adhere the glitter to.  On the tag I just carefully added a line of Tombow around the edge, sprinkling the glitter on it it every few inches as I went along.  

The "JOY" is part of a diecut.  The rest of the additions to  this card were bits and bobs that I had laying on the craft table at this point.  The silver glitter-paper snowflakes were leftover from my Thank You cards.  The holographic silver snowflake was on a gift bag at some point in it's life.  And that little jewel in the O was just sitting there, wanting to become part of this card, so I let it.

There were still too many little empty spaces I didn't like so I reached for the sequin container and took out some brown sequins to add to the tag.  And then my eye was drawn to some little crystal stickers I had that were perfect size to add to the sequins.  I thought about putting a silver bow on the "handle" of the tag, but decided against it...............................for now anyway. 

Now I need to jump over to the Jingle Belles blog and check out the "presents" there.  Won't you join me?  

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Tool and a Quick Get Well

So...... I'm home sick again for the past few days with what seems to be a reoccurence of a sinus infection from early last month that didn't completely clear up.  I swear that as I get older, when I get sick it seems to take so much longer to recuperate.  Or maybe I'm just babying myself.  And not to mention the fact, as I told a friend recently, that coughing and sneezing has now become and adventure of it's own and I shall not go into details.  

Today I rounded up enough energy to do two worthwhile things...... otherwise I was "just as useful as the g in lasagne".  

My dear HWNSNBP truly went overboard ordering Christmas gifts from my Amazon wishlist (which comes in very handy if your family wants to treat you to something that you really want).  Not only did he splurge for a set of Copic Markers that I mentioned in a previous post, but he also got me this nifty little tool called a Cuttlelola Electric Dotspen.  I had seen this little gadget reviewed on two blogs that I follow (Understand Blue and Life Imitates Doodles) and having wanted to try my hand at pointillism, without jeopardizing aggravating my creaky neck, this seemed to be worth wishing for. It is a little more expensive that your average stamp or die set, but it's a tool and I've always said that good tools make all the difference.

It's battery operated, but rechargeable right to a USB port and you can use it while it is recharging. There are two speeds and it's not at all noisy.  It comes in a nice little tin, which is also a plus.  There is an advisement that it contains magnetic parts and therefore shouldn't be near watches or cards with magnetic strips and also not be used by someone with a pacemaker.  (Shucks, I just noticed that I put the box down on a pile that contained a giftcard I was registering - hopefully because it was still in the box, it didn't do any harm.)

Here is my first try with it.  I freehanded a flower on a thin sheet of cardboard paper, and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  Can't wait to do some more experimenting.  Next step will be adding color.  Then changing the subject-matter and so on.

Secondly, well actually I'm going in reverse order because I did this card this morning and the new tool later this afternoon.  One of our friends recently had some surgery and we wanted to wish him well and since HWNSNBP was passing by their place today on another errand, I quickly put this card together and he picked up some sweets on the way to go with it.  

For the watercolored background I used one of the backs of those Color Burst cards I cut off. I had my cheap set of watercolors nearby and again, since I was in a hurry, I took my spritzer and spritzed the set with water to activate them. Then I picked up some colors in complementing families and quickly added them in no particular order, and without cleaning my brush in between to blend them. I did have to dry it with a hairdryer.  The bear and the fish were stamped and diecut and then I quickly added some color to each with markers.  I added the sentiment by hand and lastly attached some silver cording to the string of fish.  This friend takes our big snapper blues that we catch during the summer and smokes them for HWNSNBP as a winter/holiday treat.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Raptor Trust - Happy Bird Day

On New Year's Eve HWNSNBP and I made a quick trip up to the Raptor Trust.  It was a brisk 38ยบ, luckily there was no wind, but it was just warm enough to unfreeze the ground making our shoes a mess.  Not to worry - it all washes out.

The path into the complex was festively decorated with green and red Christmas balls, just barely visible in this picture.  And as you'll see from the following pictures, the view of the birds in the enclosures is unobstructed to the human eye, but the camera has a hard time focusing through the chain link fences and in some cases, the nylon mesh that is on the bird side of the fence.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Peregrine Falcon enjoying a very chilly bath.

Barred Owl - I can attest that when in the sun, you could feel the warm of it.  The sun on the back of my black coat made the visit not as unwelcoming.

Here's another Barred Owl from the front.  I just love the beautiful patterns of their feathers.

Great-Horned Owl - this one was a little vocal.  He welcomed you with a deep WHOOOOOOOOOO, WHOOOOOOOOOO as you approached.,,,,,,,

.........and turned his head to follow us as we continued on.

Here is another Peregrine Falcon.  This one was a little flighty.

I don't know what exactly is in this enclosure.  This was in a restricted area and taken from a distance.  I just thought the bird and the shadow were cool because they don't match until you realize that the shadow is for the bird just barely out of the picture on the left.  I'm thinking it's a hawk of some kind.

This is part of the signage outside the eagle enclosure.  (Couldn't get a clear enough photo of them.) And this little bird seems to have aspirations of living a larger life.

I see on my calendar of holidays that today is Bird Day so I'm posting this card that I made with a new Unity stamp - Strange Bird.  I love the owl with it's hat and the sentiment is so spot on. HWNSNBP treated me to a set of Copic markers for Christmas - my firsts - and I plan on giving them a good workout.  

I used the debossed side of the feather folder and a diecut piece of cork originally part of a laurel wreath, but when it broke for the other project, it reminded me more of a feather.  

Happy Bird Day Weirdos - you're all awesome!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Color Burst Thank You's

After the holidays I try to put together some quick Thank You's for the gifts we get in the office from staff and parents.  I picked up some plain white cards that had "thanks" embossed in silver on the front.  I thought I could doctor them up a bit and give them a wintry feel.   

My first attempt was to use my Color Burst powders sprinkled on the front and spritzed with water. The results were mixed and what I wound up with were cards that had paint both on the front top and inside top. (Not to mention the mess on my hands and in my fingernails - but it was worth it.)  So I cut the fronts off and mounted them to plain white cardstock.  I added silver glitter diecut snowflakes.

Then, not wanting to make a mess out of the rest of them, I added the powders to a tray and used them as watercolor paints, adding the color just to the side opposite the embossing just barely blending them.

And I then added those glitter snowflakes, which if I might say, were not the easiest to diecut out of glitter paper.  I found that even though I ran the die through the Big Shot several times and used a special cutting pad, the die didn't always go through the paper.  But if I carefully pulled the plastic layer off the back, they were easier to pop out.  And they do look pretty, don't they?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Enrichment Day

The last day of school before our winter break is usually a single session day, meaning we have a day with just enough hours to give us credit for a full day without it actually being a full day.  On this day our middle school does a special event - an Enrichment Day.  Teachers are asked to sign up to teach enrichment classes instead of the regular curriculum classes.  These are meant to be both informative and fun.  I was lucky my principal gave me release time to be able to teach a zentangle class again this year.

These are the tiles our 11 students completed.  In the second part of the class, which is held after I return to my school to prepare for dismissal, the students also completed some ornaments which I had left for them.  They were a very good and focused group and got some very good results.

The teacher who is responsible for creating and organizing this day always prepares a little welcome treat for the presenters.  

This is my example of the 3-D tangled ornaments.  They are made from regular copy paper.  The pattern is available here at Hattifant (scroll down for the free pattern or purchase preprinted patterns). You decorate the three strips, score the curved lines, cut out the strips, weave them together (I used tape to hold the rings together - you won't see it), and push in the scored areas.  The link also has a video for construction.  I printed out the blank page and encouraged the students to use their own tangles to decorate them.  Unfortunately, I did not see the finished projects as I had to return to work, but I'm told they did a great job.