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. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ICAD 2014 - Weeks 3 & 4

Here we go with the second and third week - 

June 15 - Stickers.  Rachel was home for the weekend and usually that means a trip to Target where I found these rolls of "paper tape" in the office supply aisle.  I loved the bright rainbow colors and I thought they would make a nice base for some rainbow smiley face stickers I had.  

June 16 - Roll the dice.  Well, it wasn't dice I rolled, it was cherry pits.  When cherries are in season sometimes I'll grab a handful and stand at the sink and just spit the pits into my hand until I'm done and then throw them away.  When you eat the dark red cherries, if they're really juicy they can leave a stain on your hand.  Lightbulb moment!  I've done this with marbles and ink before, but this time I laid the cherry pits on the index card and rolled them around.  I got that nice purple background.  Then I got out some strawberries and cored them and then placed them on the paper where you see the larger marks.  I added a tissue paper cherry "pinata" and a quote.  "Life is full of confusion.  Confusion of love, passion, and romance.  Confusion of family and friends.  Confusion with life itself.  What path we take.  What turns we make.  How we roll our dice."

June 17 - Polka Dots.  Tangled with color.

June 18 - Orange.  The orange pieces are cut from a Dunkin' Donuts giftcard holder and a Stewart's Orange Creme Soda container.

June 19 - Harry Potter.  Dobby, in pencil.  With one of his quotes.

June 20 - Candy Wrapper.  A student gave me a little container of Hershey's Bliss chocolates as an end-of-year gift.  I unwrapped one and flattened it out with my fingernail getting out all the wrinkles and then I used a pencil to make squiggles in the foil.  I cut them into berry shapes and used some black punched bird wings as leaves.  I drew a branch in black and before I glued the berries down, I pencilled in lots of leaves in the background.

Looks like some other-worldly blackberry to me.

June 21 - Repeating Pattern.  I had just picked up these sun stickers at the Dollar Tree and since it was the first day of summer I lined them up on the index card and then drew in the sun in Inktense pencils and blended it with a damp brush.  Of course, it would have been much easier to draw the background first but I didn't make too much of a mess of the stickers.

June 22 - Beach Umbrella.  Here's that paper tape again as the umbrella with a watercolored sky and sand.  

June 23 - Star Wars.  Star Wars had all those Hexagon-winged flying machines long before hexagons became popular.  My son was over and he had just thrown out an empty bag of honey barbecue potato chips so I did some trash can diving (it was right on the top) to salvage a piece of the bag as a stepping off point for the rest of the hexagons colored with my Prismacolor pencils.  

June 24 - Brown. I brushed on some tapioca and turquoise acrylic paint for the background and then added some flowers made from torn brown wrapping paper with tissue paper centers.

June 25 - Maple Leaf.  We have tons of maple trees around our house but when I think of them in artwork it's usually with autumn colors.  That's not what I see outdoors now, so I used a variety of green watercolors for these.  

June 26  - Magnifying Glass.  How about stained glass instead?  I was visiting Sabrina's blog and saw this beautiful stained glass window she posted from her trip to Paris.  I should have probably photographed this one vertically, but the pattern really appealed to me as a tangle and I used my Prismacolors on it with just a blending pencil.  

June 27 - Album Cover.  I don't know.  Do you think it could be a cover for the Moody Blues?  

June 28 - Robot.   The only robot that came to mind was the robot from Lost in Space - Danger Will Robinson, Danger, Danger - arms flailing about.  Those arms that resemble dryer hose.  I know, it's a stretch.  But remember, prompts are optional!  It's the creating that's important.  

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bluebirds and Lavender

Here he is awaiting the woodpeckers departure from the suet cake on the other side of the tree.  He's eyeing up what they've dropped on the ground and will gladly clean up after their bad table manners.  

Almost as soon as the first clutch of baby blues fledged, mom and dad were building another nest right on top of the old one.  That, however, is dangerous for them as it brings the nest higher up in the box and easier for a predator to reach in and find them.  We do have the box on a fence post that's not connected to the fence and it also has a predator guard on it so hopefully raccoons or feral cats or even snakes can not climb up the post.  But to be on the safe side, HWNSNBP removed the old nest the next day.  Then there was a little bit of a squatter's war with the noisy wren. 

The bluebirds would put some grass in the box and then the wren would come along and take it out and put in it's twigs.  Then the bluebirds would move around what was in the box but weren't adding to it anymore.  So we tried what we had tried last year and put a resin goldfinch in the box to hopefully fool the wren into thinking the box was occupied.  It had worked the first time last summer and the second time the wren just built over the resin bird, and this one didn't seem to mind the resin bird in the box which leads me to think it might have been the same wren.  

But with diligence and good timing, HWNSNBP was persistant in cleaning out the twigs and the blues built their second nest of the season.  As of today, there are two eggs in there.

I don't have a good segue into the next pictures only to say that this past weekend we did a little local adventure to a Lavendar Farm that just opened up the weekend before.  It was on my bucket list to visit a lavendar farm last summer, but we missed the window of blooming opportunity.  It was only by chance that we saw this new farm was opening and it is so much closer to where we live.  

There are rows and rows of sweet scented lavender of many varieties.  You see in the picture below (taken on our way out) the plants that are blooming now.  They are the early bloomers.  There will be others in the next weeks.

When you pull all the way into the property there is this lovely red barn that houses the Lavender Shop.  Oh, what a delicious smell when you enter.  Not overpowering at all.  And they have all kinds of lavender products - soap, tea, sprays, eye masks, etc.  Earlier in the day I had picked up some little sock coin purses at the Dollar Tree for the cafeteria ladies at work and I was hoping to fill them with some lavender potpourri but they were all out and wouldn't have anymore until next weekend.  So I opted to pick up a package of lavender tea bags and wrapped two in clear plastic wrap and added them to each of the coin purses.  I left them in the cafeteria kitchen on Monday (the last day of school) with a little note that they should relax this summer and the fragrant tea bags would get them off to a good start.

Oh, and on the way there, we took a route we hadn't taken before by using directions from my phone.  We were out doing errands and it seemed at first that we were going way out of the way, but I think it would have taken us just as long or even longer to go back to our neck of the woods and then head out to the farm.  It was a much more peaceful drive and as we were coming up a small hill on one of the back roads a mink ran across the road in front of us.  At first we thought it was a really skinny squirrel that looked like it was crawling, but as we got a little closer we both realized that it was an animal we had never seen before around here.  It was moving way too fast to even think about snapping a picture.

So it turned out to be a good adventure on the first weekend of summer.

Friday, June 20, 2014

June Birthdays

I picked up this new embossing folder recently and used it for this card.  Once embossed I used a soft brush and some gold shimmer paint to highlight the raised butterflies.  And you can see there's one little gold die cut butterfly too.  Some organdy ribbon finished it off.

This seaside box card was fun to make and it really doesn't take a lot of time as long as you have the measurements written down somewhere and don't have to search for them.  I sometimes write the directions on the grid paper that I use at my work space and then I sometimes forget what I wrote on the grid paper and either stamp over it or throw the paper away.  Ever do that?  

A teacher came into the office a couple of weeks ago and wanted some transparencies.  I said "Oh you reminded me that I need one of those myself".  And then when I took it out of the package to give to him, I inadvertently said that "I need mine a little stiffer" which gave us both a giggle.  

So what did I use instead of a transparency?  Someone recently gave me a little gift that was in one of those clear plastic packages.  It wasn't really too scratched up as some of them are, so I cut it up into strips to have to use for cards like these that make the stamped images appear as though they're floating.   

I purposely cut down the flaps on the sides and front of the box because I wanted the coral on the base visible.  I was so happy that I had that wavy embossing folder that I used for the flap pieces.  I brayered the ink on the folder first and then ran it through the Big Shot.  The wet ink came out looking a little splotchy which was perfect for the water effect I think.  

Happy Birthday ladies!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jingle Belles - Red & Green & Christmas All Over

Though not your traditional green, my card fits this week's challenge of using predominantly red and green.  

The background was made with these tape runners I found in the clearance bin at AC Moore, and even though I did use a ruler, the strips came out a bit crooked and funky.  So I added a funky looking wreath made out of multiple-sized circle punches.  Then I added a bit of red and white baker's twine and a bow of the same.  

Note to self:  It's much easier to wrap the wreath before you attach it.   Luckily I had it popped up on dimensionals so I could feed it through.

Let's see what the other Jingle Belles have to share this time - click here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

ICAD - 2014 - Weeks 1 & 2

What is ICAD you ask?  It stands for Index Card A Day.  From June 1 to July 31.  This challenge originates on the Daisy Yellow Art Blog.  I've linked to the FAQ page.  

I vaguely remember seeing this last summer but I think it was well into July when I did and since it runs from June 1 to July 31 it was too late to start.  Then I saw mention of it again on my Jingle Belle friend Lauren's blog and went to investigate.  I did a photo-a-day challenge during July a few years ago and it was a lot of fun using the prompts.  This challenge also has prompts but they're optional and already I've found I've used some and other days just created something without a prompt.

For instance I did a calendar of sorts which will be a cover for my ring of index cards.  I already had a stack of index cards punched and on a ring that I intended to use for a tangle-a-day project that didn't get off the ground, so I might as well put them to use.

June 1 - Prism.  I remembered the prism scene from Pollyanna and used her explanation to make a sort of rebus using words and drawings to illustrate the quote.  (Markers and Prismacolor pencils.)

June 2 - Circus Tent.  School gets to be like a three ring circus about this time of year and I do have a supply of clown noses on hand to lighten the mood when needed.  My circus tents were watercolored with Derwent Inktense pencils.

June 3 - Hello My Name Is.  Well there it is.  I tangled my name using a tangle that begins with each letter of my name.  L-Lace. O-Onamato. R-Raddox. A-Ahh. I-Isochor. N-Nightsbridge. E-Ennies.

June 4 - Puzzle.  My father would do the daily cryptogram puzzle in the newspaper.  This was the puzzle of the day.  Pretty good quote too!  I added some red and black tangling.

June 5 - Galaxy.  Well, this did not turn out at all like I pictured it.  The news had recently reported that stars come in colors and I wanted to try to depict that.  So I scribbled some colored stars with my Prismacolors and then took a white crayon and scribbled over the colors.  I added more white stars with the crayon as a resist for the background which was an attempt to use the Derwent Inktense pencils again.  Then added the words from "Dream a Little Dream of Me" with a micron pen.

June 6 - Nail Polish.  I used a new embossing folder that had all these drippy shapes and embossed the index card first.  I kept the card on the embossing folder while I colored the shapes with the Inktense pencils.  I took a damp paper towel and laid it on the colored image and rubbed to try to get the colors to "inktense".  Truthfully, I liked what I got on the paper towel better than what I got here.  

June 7 - Yellow.  I grabbed scraps off whatever was yellow off my worktable for this.  There was some hand stitching with this one.  I stitched the punched flower piece to the darker yellow back piece and also stitched the crepe paper to ruffle it a bit.

June 8 - Mandala.  I was working on this while watching the Tony's that Sunday evening.  I used some Marvy Le Pen's.

June 9 - Alphabet.  More Marvy work here.

June 10 - The Beatles.  I sketched the heads of the Fab Four sans facial features in pencil and then added the words from "In My Life" which was our wedding song.

June 11 - Toy Camera.  Here's where the train came off the tracks a bit.  I had a catalog for school supplies that was going in the recycle bin at work so I cut out some of the bulletin board border samples and lined them up like film strips (okay, it's a stretch).  Then added some more FUN.

June 12 - Paisley.  I was fooling around with highlighters on a post-it note at work making those pink flowers and I thought I could turn them into paisley shapes.  

June 13 - Book Review.  I took a black Sharpie marker to the index card.  I save envelopes that have interesting patterns on the inside and that's what I used here. 

June 14 - Magenta.  Okay, magenta was not to be.  Not just because I couldn't find anything magenta but also because it was Flag Day and I wanted to use that theme.  Again I used that envelope paper and just red and blue markers in between the lines.  The star was watercolored in yellow but got lost against the background so I added a torn piece of packing paper to make it stand out.  

Well, that was the first two weeks and it was fun and also therapeutic in a way as I don't have to sit too long to complete them and still get some creating in.  

I know this post is very long but I think it will be easier to do one or two weeks at a time rather than try to do the project and post it in the same day.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

60 Rocks

HWNSNBP turned 60 this March.  Yep, one of those milestone birthdays.  And it deserved a celebration, but March is a harsh month so we opted to plan a little party for early May.  Believe it or not, I had purchased these Paperkins pkts. 10 years ago with the intention to use them as invites for his 50th birthday. 

I picked them up at a store called Amazing Savings and you can see the price.  They had some pretty good deals there but sadly, they went out of business a few years later.  

They were stashed away to possibly use at another time.  I remembered that I had them we were ordering a new recliner for our living room.  The old recliner was blue and the new one was going to be brown.  Perfect!  

Popcorn, soda, and the remote wouldn't do though.  It was Rachel's idea to use the pizza and beer instead.

And of course there were some cosmetic changes that were needed.  Glasses, mustache, and some gray highlights to the hair.

The theme of the party was "60 Rocks" and, unknown to HWNSNBP, I asked everyone to bring a rock with a special message on it so he could add them to a new rock garden he was putting in this spring.  At the party during dessert (he didn't want a birthday cake), everyone presented their rocks to him.  I won't share all that but the one that got the biggest laughs was from Rachel who "put her sentiment on both sides so he could see it when he was in the ground since he's so old"!  

We asked that there be no gifts but some people, who will remain nameless, surprised him anyway. These are the thank you notes that I made up for him to send out.

The card was inspired by one I saw on Debbie Henderson's blog.  Of course I had to use a bluebird stamp and add some blue feathers.  During the party our guests got to see what was going on in the nest box through the nest cam.  Mama Blue was still incubating the eggs at the time.  

We had two carport tents set up and had borrowed a friend's ping-pong table so the guys could play beer pong.  Old-school beer pong.  With paddles and alternating hits.  Cups and all.  When HWNSNBP attending Lehigh University his freshman year, he was introduced to the game played that way.  It has changed quite a bit since then.  But our guys play the traditional way.  And they're still good at it!

There were only 14 of us so I made some of HWNSNBP's favorites - sloppy Joe's, sausage cups, hot ham and cheese sliders, Texas caviar, and of course his cheater churro's for dessert.   We had a veggie platter, shrimp and coleslaw from Costco and other snack foods too.  

We had a little bit of rain off and on which brought the women inside for a bit, but all-in-all everyone seemed to have a very good time.  Especially HWNSNBP!