Thursday, May 28, 2009

For the Love Of Marie

I think I am a bit behind in getting to art involving the most glorious and, dare I say, elaborate Marie Antoinette. As with so many of the things I create these days, she is the subject of an ATC swap for members of Paula's Kit Club. Paula had one of the coolest "All things French" kit a few months back, which was the inspiration for this swap. If you have never looked at her website, you should-she even included goodies she had scored at the flea market in Paris on a trip. Anywho-this card was fun because it was assembled using many different techniques and supplies. I started with a metallic background paper that I ran through my Sizzix machine using a Cuttlebug embossing folder. The paper came out looking like damask-extremely cool. I had purchased a CD from Lisa Kettell which is just packed with images of Marie and things from that era. After sizing the image to fit an ATC I enhanced some of the color with colored pencils and applied her with pop dots. As you can see, she is embellished with a felt tiara, some gathered chiffon, pearls and rhinestones. I can't wait to see the cards I receive from the swap, as our hostess says they are wonderful.

This is the final card with the backing finished.

And here is the batch ready to send. I wrapped them in vellum and a tulle ribbon, finally sewing a tiny Eiffel Tower charm to each one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Taking Flight...

.. by Kelly Rae Roberts just happens to the title of one of my new fave art books, so thought I 'd get a little plug in for it while I do an update on our baby birds. I have to say that this experience has really been so full of learning opportunities-especially for one who knows so little about birds. As you may remember, we have 4 brand-new baby birds (we have yet to figure out exactly what type they are) on our patio. They are 9 days old today and it is my understanding that it is likely they will take flight by the 2 week mark. Now, if you know us at all , you know that we wouldn't just end up with a normal nest experience. A few days ago we noticed that there were 2 pairs of adult birds messing with the nest. A little research revealed to me that birds actually work as a couple to rear their young and in fact the daddy bird will sometimes continue the care and feeding of the wee ones while mom goes forth and builds another nest for the next batch. We realized that another couple had built another nest right next to the first. Hubby referred to it as "nest condos" as they are built as 2 separate, but attached units. I was concerned that the new couple might interfere with the babies, but these little guys were not to be outsmarted. When we got up this morning they had moved into the new nest! I totally get their thought process on this one-can you imagine how gross that first nest is after 9 days of 4 babies living, breathing, eating, etc.? I have no idea what will happen next, though I do see the daddy chasing the new male away whenever he appears. I have updated pictures and the change in these birds (now called fledglings) is amazing.
My Hubby has affectionately named this one "Bartholowew". Just today he is showing signs of wanting to get out of the nest. I read that they are rarely successful in flight on first attempt, which means the DOG will have to be closely watched during this time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Binding Challenge

I was fortunate to have been involved in another book swap recently. This one had the theme "Altered Card Book" and was made up of 18 different types of cards (chosen by the participant), that were altered and swapped. This has made for a bit of a pickle when it comes to binding. These cards, now pages, vary in size from the size of a credit card to that of a Cabinet card, which happened to be my selection. I received my pages a couple of weeks ago and they are WONDERFUL! Every time I think this group can't top itself...

My Cabinet cards were great fun to compose. I made each one different and tried to do things I haven't done before. My Dear Friend Dawn gave me my very first altered Cabinet card and it was love at first sight. She made them for an altered Halloween book way back in October. She has since given me another and I love it just as much. As with all things, some of the altered Cab cards appeal to me more than others and Dawn's are always breath-taking. I would say she gave me my push to try these and I have yet to stop making them. For this swap I was allowed to make good copies to alter, given the price of each card -anywhere from $3 to $10 and even more. I decided to copy 5 different cards and make it a challenge to myself to alter each one differently.

I think I have mentioned that we are to do something with the backsides of these pages rather than just leaving them white, so I wrote a little mini-bio to go with each person pictured. That was nearly as fun as the altering.

I altered 5 of these.

Just had to put a paper hat on this serious dude..Big Top children
Adding the animals to this photo really seemed to change his personality. In my mind, he is having tons more fun with his new cohorts.

This guy again! This was one of my favorites, if only for the stamped bottom which read-"It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear. Ever felt that way???

As much as I enjoyed this swap, I am now pondering my binding method. Any ideas? I may just make a cool box to place them in and look at now and then.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Life...x4!!

As the perfect entry into Spring, we have had the excitement of a mama bird making her nest on our patio. I started noticing her about a month ago-flying back and forth all day long to this same spot. In this first photo you can see her little head peering out of the nest. I know very little about birds, but I knew better than to mess with the nest, so I got a long-view lens, stood on a chair, and peeked in to see 4 little blue eggs.
After a bit of research (what did we do before the internet?) I realized that it was likely she would hatch the eggs before the end of 4 weeks. It was moving to see how fervently she worked at nesting and how, each evening, she would roost upon the eggs with very little having the ability to disturb her enough to make her leave. During the day any small noise or movement would send her flying, but night time was different-she stayed on those eggs! As it happened, 2 days before Mother's Day my hubby noticed that the eggs had hatched. Due to the need to stay back from the nest, it took a couple of days to see that there were FOUR babies! Mama did a great job it seems. It has been so fun to watch them grow-they have at least doubled in size in the 5 days they have been on this earth. The pictures aren't great, but it is the best we were able to do without disturbing this young family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Heart

Mother's Day is such a special day for me each year. I know this is the day when my children are expected to do for me and show their love. I am so blessed in having 3 wonderful sons who express their love and devotion frequently-and always show me how they feel on Mother's Day. I just wanted to take a minute today to say that I am even more aware of how fortunate I am TODAY. My sons are the most important people in my life. I have said many times, to many people, that having my boys really was the beginning of my life. I don't mean that in a sappy way, or to minimize what had happened up until that day in January, 1980 when I first held Jeremy, my first born, in my arms. I mean only that they have been the impetus for most of the important change and growth in my life. I know that in this world today we are told to be self-sufficient, self-interested and absolutely-self-motivated. I truly believe so many of the things I have accomplished in my life and most of the growth and evolution has come from my desire to be a better person for my boys-to be someone they know has their back, thinks they are perfection and will be there for all things, good or bad. Even now when my youngest is 21, I feel a special pride in being their Mom-first and foremost. If this makes me unevolved and too enmeshed, so be it. Jeremy, Ryan and Robert-THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me to participate in your journey. Thank you for allowing me to be there when you, in all your beauty, took your first breath on this earth. Thank you for making it obvious everyday that, even though I made many mistakes as I learned my job, you think I did OK. Thank you for giving me my most treasured identity. I love being your Mom.

This is a photo of my sons and my beautiful Daughter-In-Law, Steph. She is the daughter I didn't have when I was raising my boys. She is truly the one I would have chosen, had it been my choice to make.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Some New ATCs

I was so excited to participate in an ATC swap that ended just today. The swap was initiated through a Facebook group of people who are members of Paula's Kit Club and the theme was "Birds", which is just perfect for me right now. The gal who hosted the swap lives in Florida, so it may be a few days before I see the work of the other participants, but I really enjoyed doing this card. There were 15 participants in this one and though I have done some where there were as few as 3, I really enjoy the larger ones. Maybe I'm just greedy, but I love having all that artwork in my hands at one time. Every time I have done a swap I have been amazed at the way so many people can take the same theme and do such different things with it. I have really missed the monthly ATC swap I used to attend at Frenzy Stamper, so this is one way to get my fix. The downside to doing the swaps by mail is that you don't get the chance to hear about the process of the artist. Oh...and I don't get to see my friend Debbie Bick, who owns Frenzy and is one cool chick!