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. 

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.