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Thoughts on cute

With my grandkids off to Florida for March break next week, I thought I’d make money holders that I could put some spending money in for them. I’m not usually a card maker and certainly don’t do cute; where’s my Muse gone and who has replaced her?

Central to all is this crab stamp set now discontinued from SU – just the first of several old things dug out of my stash for this project. I don’t do the coloured-in thing, but did unearth a blender pen to help my novice efforts, stamped and cut out of glossy cardstock. A sun die cut, googly eyes and some Stickles, and the first one’s done.

Perhaps the tearing works on this next card because the technique is as old as the paper I used. So last decade, but can I just say how much the cartoon crab against the realistic-looking sand paper tickles my fancy?
I always love the imperfect look of hand-stamped sentiments; an opportunity to say exactly what you want, no matter how punny.
I’ll confess the idea to put a sparkler in the claw of this dude isn’t originally mine but it’s still darn cute – and fortunately I had the perfect fireworks stamp to pull it off. For all 3 cards I used my old Notch & Die cutting tool so the money tucked inside stays put; no need for envelopes.

Now I get why people do cute. I generally have fun at my craft table, but these guys had me actually giggling as I was making them, and I hope they’ll put a smile on the faces of my grandkids when they see them, too. Oh – one final word of advice when you make yours: keep your eye on your critters. When I assembled my cards I couldn’t find one of my crabs – he’d skittered all the way to the other side of my craft table. I haven’t a clue how he got there ;).

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Sketchy business

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am an online class junkie; the Got Sketch 107 workshop is one I’m currently taking. I’ve long been a fan of Valerie Salmon’s sketches and in appreciation for all the free sketches she posts, occasionally support her by signing up for a class.
This sketch employs hexagons, a shape I recognized weeks ago as becoming a new trend in scrapping. Frequently I have an idea of what papers I’ll use before I start a layout, but in this case I went browsing in my paper files with an open mind and pulled out this coordinating line from My Mind’s Eye. Every time I use MME papers I am reminded again how much I love the look and texture of their designs. And lest I leave you with the impression I’m on the cutting edge of the trends, know that baker’s twine is just starting to show up in my layouts – despite having been on the market for a couple years now.
A discussion on the class forum about go-to colours had me deciding to break out of my usual routine for this next layout. So instead of greens & blues or anything with a nature motif, I went back to the paper carts looking for bright colours. You can’t get more majestic than purple, making this line from Fancy Pants an apt choice. As always I’m delighted to dig in my drawers of themed embellishments for a few suitable pieces, and like how the velvet Thickers in the title give a bit of softness – visible if you click on and enlarge the photo.
Working from sketches and using just patterned paper (no cardstock) are typical choices for me. The sketches for these layouts are private class content, but Valerie has many free sketches available at her blog if you care to check them out. And if you decide to sign up for a class, tell Valerie I sent you!

Nest at Ruthven

I joined a Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls tour yesterday, which we quickly renamed the Blowin’ in the Wind tour. Our first stop was Ruthven Park in Haldimand County, but with the feeders empty and the winds blowing we mostly birded by ear; the Eastern Bluebirds had arrived a day or so before and we could hear them hunkered down in their nesting boxes, as well as various woodland species I couldn’t spot. My only sightings were a cardinal swooping across the road and a gull over the Grand River, despite an hour tramping through woods and practically being swept away on the meadow.
En route to Fisherville and Nanicoke I saw some Buffleheads on the Grand and had an excellent sighting of a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree by the road, which we stopped to watch for a bit. We also watched some Horned Larks swooping in and out of a barn and hunting in a field; it’s amazing how even when you’re trained on one, as soon as they perch in the field they virtually disappear from sight. I obviously need better binocs!
With the lake (Erie) not frozen over the eagles are spread over a greater area; typically in winter they congregate at the open, warmer water by the Nanicoke Refinery. Given yesterday’s gale force winds we felt fortunate to spot 3 Bald Eagles battling the winds, which I understand is far fewer than usual. I swear the winds at that corner were 100 km/h, and although I was warm enough I couldn’t keep my eyes from constantly tearing. Back in the warmth and calm of the bus we headed towards Hamilton, stopping for a flock of Wild Turkeys who quickly retreated into the woods, and also a Northern Harrier that was a joy to watch.

American Widgeon

At LaSalle Park in Hamilton we finally found birds – waterfowl to be specific. Dozens of Mallards, a few American Black Ducks, some Buffleheads, Scaups, and American Coots. Lots of Herring Gulls; I didn’t take time to decide if there were others mixed in with the flock. And swans; at least 50 Trumpeters, a handful of Mutes and 8 Tundra Swans – the latter keeping their distance. One female American Widgeon and perhaps the best sighting of the day – a first year male King Eider.

King Eider - first winter male


Next we stopped at the Burlington Lift Bridge. No sign of the Peregrine Falcons although the nest is easily visible, but lots of Long-tailed Ducks in the freezing water.
Our final stop of the day was at Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park

Snowy Owl on the dock

where we found the Snowy Owl that’s been hanging around the docks, and several ducks including a Goldeneye. All in all given the weather, not a bad day of birding.

maps as art

I recently came across an introduction to the book Personal Geographies by Jill K. Berry and am intrigued with the idea of making map art. I love maps – have always been drawn to their graphics – and look forward to exploring the concept of using them in an artistic way.
Too bad Ms. Berry doesn’t seem to be teaching any classes in my neck of the woods. But do check out her blog to be inspired as I have – and maybe even win some maps of your own.
Here’s hoping the bookstore downtown really has a copy of Personal Geographies as their inventory suggests, because I’m too impatient to order it online.

blast of winter!

I’m finally back to crafting on a pretty regular basis, although any attempts to blog regularly about it have completely fallen by the wayside. But today I decided to post my February tag so I’d have a photo link.
Followers of Tim Holtz will know he announced recently that the 12 Tags of Christmas were being replaced by a series of 12 monthly tags instead. I joined the legions who mourned the demise of the December tags which had become a much-anticipated Christmas tradition for me – although I can appreciate the many reasons why spacing them throughout the year is so much better.
So, with a nod to the storm watch currently in effect here today, I give you a taste of winter. I was making my own honeycomb so wanted a simple shape, and this snowman was the first idea that came to mind. I don’t have matching stamps and embossing folders, so opted to emboss my snowflakes and then brayer them with white paint to create the background resist.
If you haven’t already, do check out Tim’s tag post to see his lovely Valentine tag, and links to many others it inspired.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think – and if you’ve created a honeycomb tag, be sure to share the link.

warm & fuzzy

felted pouch

Was finally able yesterday to delve into the Fabulous Felting class I’m taking, and completed my first ever felted project! Who knew a knowledge of different breeds of sheep would come in handy? I should have paid more attention in New Zealand!

While I’d heard of wet felting I had no idea how it was done; this is one continuously felted piece with no seams, then a ball & loop closure added. It turns out that my pouch, a bit bigger overall than perhaps I’d planned, perfectly fits my point & shoot camera. I’ve ordered some more wool tops in luscious colours, and look forward to improving my felting technique with subsequent projects.

I also managed to finally play with some Tim Holtz Distress Stains yesterday, and am pleased how this tag turned out. This image of the three wise men has really spoken to me this year; I’m sure it will be appearing on a few more projects.

Wicked Configurations

It’s been too long since I’ve had time to sit and play, so with today earmarked for just that I wanted to make the most of it. Totally May Flaum inspired; I had admired the Halloween Configurations box May did on her blog, and when I found some of these figurines on sale at Michaels recently knew I had to pull out the box I had stashed and make one of my own. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them; it won’t make the photos any better LOL, but you’ll be able to see more details.

This Frankenstein photographer was the piece I chose first, and that had me adding some Tim Holtz filmstrip ribbon and a flash bulb up in the top right corner. Despite the studio claim on his sandwich board I pictured him out where he’d encounter little witches and goblins trick-or-treating; half-hidden by the shadow of tall trees perhaps alongside a cemetery, and so the black branch was added.

The witch and her companion make excellent customers for the photographer, but to add the creepiness factor I stuck in a couple grunged-up frozen Charlottes; yet another Tim Holtz creation I never knew I’d want to craft with. There’s something particularly disturbing about the one floating over Frankie’s head, don’t you think? Piles of skulls and grave markers seem de rigueur; I’m so glad I remembered the little glass vials I had stashed – especially since I thought the chloroform sticker adds yet another layer to the story…

It’s rare these days for me to craft anything that doesn’t have a bird on it, and this is no exception. The scale’s not right for the other pieces in the box, but I think he looks just fine perched on top – even if he is a little too friendly looking.

As with most of the Configurations boxes I’ve seen, I lined the cubbies with paper and tissue-taped the edges together. If you want a how-to for putting together your own box, I have to suggest you visit this post on May’s blog for tons of fabulous photos and a couple of videos that will explain all.

So glad I opted for the metal feet; while expensive, now that my box is done I think they really add the finishing touch. And can I just say, this was way more fun than carving a pumpkin! I’d love to hear what you think of my little project, and if you’ve done one yourself please link me up so I can look at yours, too.