Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jingle Belles - Blue Christmas

This Jingle Belle challenge is Blue Christmas and our cards have to be predominantly blue.  

No, this is not a sheriff's badge.  Funny, I hadn't thought it resembled one until I looked at these photos. (And I probably shouldn't have mentioned that because you'll probably think the same now.) The sides are straight, just showing where the crease is for a fancy-fold on my mostly blue card.

It's an easel card. I used Star of Light clear embossed with blue ink as the center image and then backed that with a silver glitter star die cut.  The sentiment comes from SU's Wonderful Blessing. Three shades of blue were used along with white and silver.  

Here's a side view so you can see how the "easel" works.  

I love blue cards for Christmas and you really have to see the cards that our hostesses made - beautiful!!!!  Click here to check out their's and the rest of the Belles too!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Scribble Picnic Postponed - Sharing Journal Pages

Our Scribble Picnic has been postponed for a couple of weeks due to a death in our host's family.  Thoughts and prayers to Michael and his family during this sorrowful time.  It was the general consensus that we should respectfully wait until he returns so as not to interrupt the attention that he and his family need right now. 

In the meantime I thought I'd post some pages from my sketchbook.  No prompts here, just playing with some new art products like Mermaid Markers and watercolors.  

Fantasy foliage.  

Nice vibrant colors of the Mermaid Markers.  I bought a set for a birthday present and treated myself also.  The ink is contained in waterbrushes and very, almost too easy to use.  

The next couple of pages were done with some new watercolors - Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections.  I had them on my Amazon wishlist and got a notification that they were at a special price - almost half off.  Who could pass that up?  Certainly not me.  I've been trying to use the site to place orders. Amazon will donate a portion of the sales to a charity that you designate.  I've chose The Raptor Trust.  It's only pennies it seems but pennies accumulate quickly.  

I also like the fact that you can make wishlists and make them shareable on Amazon.  It makes it easy for gift-giving when you're looking for something that someone really wants.  Whether for the holidays, birthdays, or Mother's Day (thank you Rachel!), it's so convenient.  

And.... this is turning into a "praise Amazon" post.......  I had several gift cards, VISA and Mastercard, that I was able to convert online to a reloadable Amazon gift card recently.  There were a couple of items that were a little pricier on my list that I was able to get now that I combined those other gift cards.  What did I order................ well, ICAD is coming up beginning June 1st and you will definitely see something then.  

(This is the same page as above but with some black marker highlights.)

That's all for now, but remember, now that we have another two weeks for the next Scribble Picnic prompt of BOOKS due on May 31, think about joining us. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Project Round-Up

The daughter of one of my co-workers is getting married this summer out-of-state.  So her mom is planning a little bridal shower for her here for some family and friends who will not be able to make the wedding.  She asked me to help with invitations using a dress theme.  I quickly looked through Pinterest for some ideas and found this cute card (click here).  (Register pet peeve here - when people pin the project instead of the post and you can't get back to the original to find out who to give credit to!!!)  My friend had this dress cookie cutter that she is using to make special cookies for the shower which turned out to fit perfectly on the front of the invite.  I didn't have a stamp that said Bridal Shower so I used the computer and some white cardstock to get it on there.  Note:  The coral color is much darker in this picture that it is IRL.  With the two of us working, and with the right tools, we made 18 of these in about an hour.  She did have to take them home to glue the bows on.  

Friends of our recently celebrated their 40th anniversary.  We'll have two more of those this year, including ours, and one next year.  So I've decided that this will be the card for them all, though they will all have different "floral arrangements" and colors.  I used this tutorial from Adinktive Design which I fell in love with when I saw the samples, but be forwarned that the tutorial is just for the box part.  You do the floral arranging on your own making each card distinctive.  

Last week Rachel asked me to make a card for the officer that works in her school building.  A few days before, a Delaware State Trooper was shot and killed at a convenience store near her home and she wanted to show their school officer that they appreciate the fact that he is there to protect them.  I used a brick embossing folder for the black wall with a thin blue line across it. Thank you is spelled out in silver letters. 

The base of the card is white allowing space inside for a note of thanks.  

And since I took that picture on top of something in the works, I'll show you the finished panel yet to become a card. This stamp was a gift from my blogging friend Sabrina.  I stamped the design in kraft ink on kraft paper and used inks and an aquapainter to color it.  I like the coloring, but I think I'm going to try stamping it in a darker color, possibly black for a little more ..........something.  

That's the Round-Up for now.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

I found these cards (minus the Mother's Day sentiment) in a pile of incompletes so I finished putting them together and added the sentiment to use for Mother's Day today.  I remember I had borrowed this set "Roses In Winter" from my upline to make them several years ago and then, before I could order the set it was retired.  Well, I found it on ebay recently and got it for a song, so I think I'll be making a few more other occasion cards from it.  Roses any time of the year.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Scribble Picnic - POTTED PLANT

This time of year we're usually making trips mainly to the Great Swamp Nursery for our annuals.  I get to pick out the flowers and HWNSNBP gets to pot them up.  Sounds fair doesn't it (he is color blind after all).  He has a few things planted already, but I decided to go with something that was already in the house.  This lovely orchid plant that the staff gave me for Administrative Professional's Day.  I can't keep it at work because the office temperature fluctuates too much.  With the school being empty on the weekends, in the warmer weather it would be too hot, so I brought it home to join the other orchids I've been lucky enough to keep alive.  I hope it finds it's new home as cozy as they have. 

I did the sketch in pencil and asked HWNSNBP (He Whose Name Shall Not Be Published) if he knew what it was.  He said "yes, it's the orchid on the table.  Of course it will look more like an orchid when you color it."  I guess that was a suggestion that I should color it.  So here it is. 

I hope you'll take a look at the other plants that the Picnickers are sharing today.  You can by clicking here.  Oh, and should you like to join in next time, the theme is BOOKS.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Flowers and Birds

The year after my father passed the kids and I planted some pink and blue forget-me-nots at the cemetery.  The spring following that pink and blue forget-me-nots appeared in our yard.  I had blue ones in a totally different location and thought that it was highly unlikely that they spread from there only to this space.  Then they disappeared from that spot.  This spring they turned up again, across the macadam from where I found them the last time and again away from where they were supposed to be, on the other side of the house.  

In front of the fence, where I had originally found them, was now a single pink and white tulip.  I have never planted tulips there and we haven't had tulips in the yard for just about 30 years because the deer love to eat them.  This baffled me, but then I realized that I found that tulip the night before what would have been my father's birthday so I feel certain that he had something to do with it's magical appearance.  

Two things, well maybe we'll call it three, happened last Thursday - National Bird Day.  As I was getting out of my car at school, one of the teachers pointed out to me this bird that she had been watching attack the side mirror and windshield of the other secretary's car in the parking lot. We both watched it for a few minutes and laughed at it's antics.  The bird, it turns out, was attacking all the mirrors in that particular section of the lot.  (Today I found it on my car when I was leaving.)  It's a catbird and he must be seeing himself in the mirror and thinking it's an intruder into his territory. (Not my car in the picture.)

But earlier that particular morning I had been standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window and because I was used to seeing black, white, and red birds at the feeder in the form of woodpeckers and flickers, I almost missed realizing that there was a totally new bird there that I had never seen before.  A male rose-breasted grosbeak - a member of the cardinal family.  I held my breath as I reached for my camera hoping that by the time I got it ready the bird would still be there.  Lucky I was that he hadn't flown away so I could get some pictures, even if they're a little shaky. 

Isn't he beautiful!  I haven't seen him since but I hope to!

Oh, and the third thing - quite silly really - since it was bird day, and chicken day at that, and since our students had just finished four days of standardized testing (PARCC), I played them out of the school with the chicken dance over the loudspeaker and everyone got a good laugh.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Jingle Belles - My True Love Gave to Me

The challenge is to make a card relating to the 12 days of Christmas, or has hearts on it, or is for someone you love.  

I know there's a stamp set out there that has all the 12 days of Christmas. I know because my friend Sabrina made me a wonderful little folding book one Christmas using that set.  But I looked long and hard through my own stash and could not come up with anything.  Well, not entirely true.  I did have a stamp from the $1 bin at Mike's that would have worked, but it was way too small.  So instead of using the stamp I used paper to create the scene that was on the stamp.  

I used a flower punch that had 5 pointy petals and made each petal into a leaf in three shades of green.  Then I outlined each leaf with some gold glitter marker.  The leaves were added to a circle of green to make a tree.  Next I cut out some little pears and a partridge from some gold paper.  The trunk is also of that same paper.  I embossed the sentiment on the darkest shade of green paper in gold.  I used that dark shade of green for the card base, layered a gold frame next and then the red background paper which happens to have hearts on it.  I kind of like the way this came out.  

Now it's time to head over to the Jingle Belles blog to visit all the other ladies and see what they're giving or getting from their true love.  Please click here to join me.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Scribble Picnic - DOOR

I've never before 
Seen a purple door
Alongside a tile
That made me smile
In the car we were stuck
because of a truck
I couldn't just look
So a picture I took

I did this over the weekend and meant to go back to add some more detail with some markers and I just might in the future, but for now I'm sharing it as is - crooked on purpose too.

This week's Scribble Picnic theme is DOOR.  Last August we were on our way through Princeton when we inadvertently got stuck in a traffic jam caused by a truck blocking the street ahead of us.  As we were sitting there for a few minutes this little scene caught my eye and I grabbed my camera to get a picture of it because I liked the color combination and thought it might make a pretty card.  

Please join me to see what all the other Picnickers have done with this theme by clicking here.  And should you wish to join in next week, the theme is POTTED PLANT.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Wrap-Up

There were a couple projects here there in April that I didn't get to post.  The first being the birthday card that I made for my office co-worker.  

This "pebble-art" project was part of a birthday gift for a friend who shares a love of birds and paper arts. The pebbles are from our yard.  I coated them with some Mod Podge and dotted the eye on the pebble.  The legs and beaks are drawn on the watercolored background.  The branches and flowers are die cuts.  I was lucky to find this little shadowbox frame at IKEA.

One of the teachers I work with asked me to make some tags for bridal shower favors. 

They were attached to flower-shaped cookie pops which were displayed in a planter box.  

And this card was made a while ago and used in the Write_On challenge that I attempted this month. I say attempted because I didn't quite get through the month.  The weeks around Easter became so filled with other things that needed to be accomplished so I needed to put this on the back burner.  I still have my list of recipients and a stack of notecards so I will finish up eventually, just not in April.

How was your month?  We're definitely rushing to the finish line with the school year with less than 40 days to go.  Mother Nature is heating things up and Spring is quickly moving forward.  The days are enjoyably longer and the yard is beckoning for attention.  I just might have to do some weeding soon.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sad Bluebird News

When we came home last weekend we were surprised to see that there were 2 eggs in the box.  Not having seen the blues for a couple of days before we left we thought they might have abandoned the nest.  My theory was that they were frightened to return to the yard because HWNSNBP inadvertently left the Have-a-Heart trap out overnight and instead of capturing the pesky groundhog, he captured a raccoon.  Only thing was, he forgot to check the trap in the morning also and didn't see the raccoon until late afternoon at which time he carefully set the raccoon free.  I think the birds were aware of the predator being there.  There wasn't much happening at the feeder either until I asked him to remove the trap altogether.  So perhaps the blues were just being wary.  In any case....  on Monday there was another egg.  And Tuesday, when I came home from work Mrs. Blue was sitting on the eggs.  We thought that was a bit premature, but sometimes they only lay 3 so we didn't think anything of it.  Not until it dawned on us Wednesday that she hadn't moved.  She hadn't changed position.  Mr. Blue was seen to look in on her now and then.  But she didn't seem to even stir in his presence.  So HWNSNBP walked up to the garden and tapped on the box.  No movement.  He climbed the ladder and looked in and she did not move.  She was dead.  No sign of attack.  We think that she may have had trouble laying an egg that 4th day - become egg-bound - and sadly it killed her.  There were three eggs under her and one was partially collapsed which also could mean that she wasn't producing enough calcium.  We'll never know.

HWNSNBP removed the whole nest with her intact.  I took the two eggs that weren't broken.  You can see how small they are compared with a dime.  We did call the Raptor Trust to see if they would take the eggs but they do not incubate eggs there and said that at this point they were probably not viable.  So sad.  

Returning today we see that the wrens are attempting to claim the box.  Now that battle begins!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scribble Picnic - TREE

Phew!  It was quite a busy day here on the blog.  I don't think I've ever had a four post day before, but when holidays and celebrations collide with challenges.... oh well.  This is the last for today.

The Scribble Picnic theme this week is TREE.  I took a picture of part of the yard the other day to capture some of my favorite trees.  The dogwood in the right foreground.  The ailing pin oak to the left with the heart.  Further up the hill are my favorites - American redbuds with their springtime magenta blossoms that will yield to beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

I knew I wanted to feature a redbud, but I struggled with how and procrastinated to the point of getting this done last minute.  My lightbulb moment came as I was packing up to come home from work today and was folding up a gift bag and tissue paper from a gift the staff gave me today - navy blue tissue and a magenta bag.  I thought about punching out the blossoms for the tree from the bag but did I really want to have to glue them all down one-by-one?  No.  So I took my tissue paper, found some more in a lighter shade of blue, tore it up and then used some mod podge to make the background.  After I dried it with my heat gun I drew the trunk and branches of the tree with Posca pens.  The blossoms were done with those pens also, just a little more painstakingly.  

I'm only sorry that I didn't use more of the darker paper in the background because I like the way the blossoms pop off it.  

Trees have been a recurrent theme in my life.  Most recently when our group of friends turned 60 all around the same time.  In comparing our lives to the life cycle of a tree, depending on who you ask among us, some would say they are summer to fall.  Others are definitely clinging to those last autumn leaves, while at least one says they are definitely leafless at this point.

This is already a long post, but I thought I'd include a passage that I had written back in 2009 - a very contemplative year for me - called I Felt Like a Tree Today.  

I felt like a tree today.

As I was driving home I noticed, already in mid-August the trees were losing their leaves. Some more than others. If you looked closely you could also see that a lot of them were beginning to show signs of changing color. This hasn’t been a particularly warm summer here, though we’ve had a fair share of rain and at present we are in a bit of a heat wave. I suppose all these things factor into the early leaf drop and the color change.

It’s a metamorphosis. Not what you think of when you think butterflies but a metamorphosis nonetheless. 

These great trees stand up to a lot of variables. The cold, the heat, the wet, the dry, the calm, the wind; much like we do ourselves. And some of them weather the changes better than others. Surely, a lot of that has to do with location. Their surroundings have a big role to play in their survival.

This is when I began feeling like a tree. I thought of how I started out as a seed, then, with the right care, managed to become a seedling. How I had to have been nurtured and protected in that stage by my parents in order to become a sapling, growing taller and stronger by the day. 
There came a time then, when as a tree does, I began to produce seeds and some of them were able to take root. Thus carrying on the species.

I thought about how trees have to adapt to their surroundings. Haven’t I had to do the same? I’ve been uprooted and transplanted a few times.

I thought about how they have to withstand the changes in temperature and what the excesses do. How that puts stress on them. Is this not how I feel now about temperatures? As I get older the change in temperature seems to affect me more.

I thought about how they have to be flexible in the wind. Haven’t I had to show flexibility with my life choices?

I thought about the seasonal changes that they go through and how Mother Nature has taken her toll on them. When I look in the mirror I see this myself. Not just the outward change in hair color, or additional creases here and there. But the internal changes too. 

I, like a tree, have set down a long taproot where I am. I’ve swayed in the wind and rain. I’ve weathered extremes of temperature and fought disease. I’ve produced seedlings of my own. And, I’ve stood among other great trees. Many who have sheltered me and made it easier to withstand the forces of nature. 

Yes, I felt like a tree today.

So now I need to get this posted and visit the other Picnickers - it should be a forest of beautiful trees to look at.  Please take a stroll through yourself by clicking here.  

Jingle Belles - Recycling II

So I promised another card for the Jingle Belles prompt for Earth Day.  This card is very "Laureny" with all the doilies - she's a great inspiration.  On the blue card base is a panel that is a piece of recycled wrapping from a recent birthday gift.  I love the colors.  Great for any time of the year, but I loved them for Christmas too.  The tag was on the gift that my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson gave me for Christmas.  I was torn whether to reuse this or not, but if I still want to keep it I'll make this HWNSNBP's card. 

A few years back, maybe longer than 10 actually, our form Librarian at school gave me a stack of paper doilies that she inherited from her mother.  I was at least 4" high.  And every now and then I stumble across them.  I say that because I'm still reorganizing things and coming to the conclusion that that will never really happen.

The snowflake sequins, green sequins, and the snowflake button (minus the shank), were in the bottom of my catch-all container on my work space.  They have now found a home.  

Here's a little close-up of the tag so you can see all the sparkle it has.  

So now I must run to get my Scribble Picnic project done to post that tonight.  But when I'm done there I'll definitely be heading back to the Jingle Belles blog to check out all the other Earth Day lovelies.  Click here to join me why dontcha!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day

I made these little tealight boxes for the ladies that work in my district.  We rely on each other throughout the year for knowledge and support.  The little tag included with each one reads:

Don't feel bad
if people remember you
only when they
need you.
Feel privileged that
you are like a 
that comes on in 
their minds when
there is darkness.
We light the way 
for each other.

First Birthday

Earlier this month our grandson turned 1.  His mom and dad planned a party for him for this past weekend.  The invitations were so cute and they had a star theme going so I made him this interactive card with stars.  It's a spinner card.  When you tilt it, the star spins around the center circle.  Of course, he's too little to actually be able to play with it.  But it was fun to make and I think mom and dad had a little fun with it too!

All those cameras pointed at him, he didn't quite know what to do.  He didn't cry when we all sang, in fact he was so good the whole time we were all there. They had given him birthday cake on his real birthday and he actually did cry then, so he didn't have any at the party.  He had his own little snack.

It was a pretty long afternoon for him, but he was a trooper.  We thought he might fall asleep in the high chair after he ate, but he pushed through it. 

Grandpa and I gave him this tractor which he was more into pushing at this point.  His daddy had a tractor that was a bit bigger than this with pedals when he was a little boy and he loved it.  We actually bought this one at least a year before we had any grands in the hope that someday we would. It's just his size now.

"Look everyone!  No hands!"

With grandpa.

Our daughter-in-law's birthday was also this weekend and here is the card I made for her.  I tried in vain to get the colors right on the screen.  The card base is actually Bermuda Bay - more of a greenish blue and not so turquoise.  And the greens are much prettier IRL.