Signs and Songs and Poems of Spring (and one card)!

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Happy weekend, once again!  I had hoped to be back bit sooner this week, but the design I was working on just wasn’t ready to be birthed!  Some pieces are like that, especially when you are trying on a new style for the first time.

I’ve got a card to see, a poem to read, and a song to hear, as well as some great resources to follow, so settle in and read on!

Birds and Bees

For the past two weeks, I have been working on building nests just like my sparrow, wren and crow neighbors!  We have an adorable house wren couple that covets an evergreen bush and Camellia tree in the front yard.  The cats and I have enjoyed watching the little love birds pecking about the ground and in the branches that brush right up against our window!

Camellia Tree
Camellia Tree

Likewise, the crows have been foraging for nesting materials in my yard, and the other day I watched one fashion a stick from our backyard tree to his liking.  I’ve spied one of the local crow family’s new nests perched high in a birch overlooking the beach and within viewing range from my studio window!  And just this morning, a baby bee was buzzing about my screen door giving the cats quite a time before I was able to shoo him to freedom.  The winged creatures have certainly sprung into action here on Alki!

And so, I attempted to follow their lead and get this shabby chic creation, inspired by the wrens and trees and colors in my yard, completed at last!

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This is not a style that I typically gravitate to, though I have been making more clean and layered cards with frames and clustering and am thoroughly enjoying the clustering style.

Because the layout of this card shifted quite a bit, I decided to photograph the different ideas for comparison, and frankly to aid my visual memory!

I consulted some gorgeous paper artists who work exclusively in this style to learn more about how they layer panels and embellish.  Check out the work of Andrea Ewen (more elegant-less-shabby at times, always chic master),  Dorota_mk (jaw-dropping work), Frau Muller (edgier approach to this style, which I love!), Scrapperia (vintage, shabby style with a hip twist in cards and scrapbook layouts).  You can find representative work from each on my Pinterest as well.

Techniques

This style is quite labor intensive!

I initially began stamping my Sparrow from Deep Red Stamps onto watercolor paper with Walnut Stain distress ink.  I then watercolored him with various Distress inks and a fine watercolor brush.

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Reinforce paper for distressing

To reinforce thin paper, I Mod-podged my newspaper from the 7 Gypsies Conservatory pack onto heavy cardstock, and did the same with my wood background panel to enable distressing as the thinness of the papers would not hold up to the edging tool.  The frame’s paper, cut with Spellbinders Fancy Ovals, is also from the Conservatory pack.

I Distress inked most papers with Antique Linen and/or Tattered Rose.

Sewing on Paper

Before sewing my two paper panels, I made sure to adhere them in the center so they would not slip.

One thing I should have done was reinforce with heavy cardstock, as it would have made the sewing easier.  These papers are very thin as well, and despite using a grippier quilting foot, they tended to slip around a bit making straight-lining tricky!  I sew fabric much better, folks.  We’re going for shabby here! 🙂

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I die-cut dozens of branches from a variety of papers for texture.  I then cut or ripped them to get the sizes or shapes I wanted.  I featured these delicious little pins in my Enticing Embellishments post and I was excited to find a use for them!  I also love Fancy Pants resin flowers.  They are the best ones out there in my opinion.  Gorgeous shapes and colors.

When playing around with placement of my completed panel on the card, it felt a bit empty, ironically!  So I dug into one of my favorite paper sets, DIY Shop, and the Joyful Morning Anthem sentiment fit perfectly length-wise.  After trying it atop the card horizontally, I decided on a vertical placement.

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I finished off the back and inside with my woodgrain washi– a favorite I reach for time and again!

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ADHESIVE TIP:

And speaking of nests– you have likely seen circles of twine or nests of gold and silver thread adorning people’s cards lately.  It’s definitely a trend. But how to do that easily so it looks like a controlled chaos rather than just a mess?

I love this adhesive for my cards as it is strong, but removable (won’t rip most of your papers), can be cut to desired size and gives a little dimension (if that is what you want) but not as much as a foam square.

scoch restickable

This is perfect to lay down on your surface and encircle or twist and turn your thread into the desired shape as I did here:

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I have one adhesive square down on the card, curled my thread in a design I wanted and then put another square atop to adhere the die cut.

My Sparrow card is headed over to Catered Crop for their current challenge: Put a Bird on It and to Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge that features more vintage work!  There are many challenges featuring our fine winged friends going on and I will be swooping back in with more bids and some butterflies soon, so check back!

Catered Crop

 

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog

April is National Poetry Month!

On my way out, I thought I would leave you with a poem to celebrate the month of poetry here in the States as well as a song!  I listened to this album while I was working on the card above and the first track is quite appropriate for spring!

 

Let Birds

by Linda Gregg

Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.
The night sky blue.
Me like a mare let out to pasture.
The Tao does not console me. 
I was given the Way 
in the milk of childhood. 
Breathing it waking and sleeping.
But now there is no amazing smell
of sperm on my thighs,
no spreading it on my stomach
to show pleasure. 
I will never give up longing. 
I will let my hair stay long. 
The rain proclaims these trees,
the trees tell of the sun.
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join.
Let quail come.
Let winter impress you. Let spring. 
Allow the ocean to wake in you.
Let the mare in the field
in the summer morning mist
make you whinny. Make you come 
to the fence and whinny. Let birds.

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20615#sthash.4Axrli7O.dpuf

More bird poems here!

Interested in bird study, issues confronting birds and the environment, what that warble really means?  Check out public radio’s BirdNote!

Supplies:

Framed!

Hello folks!  I am pushing myself to get some writing and posting done, but it’s been week of slogging through thick mental mud and dizzying work commitments to get here.  I am glad I finally finished this trio of cards just in time for Taheerah’s Cure for the Monday (and, in my case, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…) blues!

Here is her inspiration photo:

The soft sea-blue punctuated by pink and red, and a bit of ivory and grey is just lovely.  I deviated a bit in my color scheming, but played with some new materials and tools, and an old, but much loved technique.

For my first card, I was in a bit of a quandary, as I loved my initial layout, but when I pulled out a piece of dreamy salmon paper from the Basic Grey Persimmon pack, I had to alter my vision.  This salmon paper is washed out a bit in some places and reminds me of an old painted wall that is thinning in spots from age or the sun.  I just love it.  It’s called “Apple Butter” and it does have that cinnamon-apple mash quality to it.

Apple Butter6x6 Paper Pad

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When I put the grey frame against it, I was in love.  I often refer to my penchant for color and texture in terms of wanting to eat it (synesthesia!)– I want to eat this.

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In these two close-ups, you can get a sense of the paper’s uneven texture a bit.  You can also see the detailing in design and texture on the other papers used for the frame’s backdrop and the vine.

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The cardstock used is from a Hero Arts Hero Hues paper pack.  It is a lovely “greige” that worked well with the frame and salmon paper.  The back is finished off with Prima fabric washi.

Now for design number two, which was actually the first incarnation!

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The grey snowflake/floral patterned paper was initially to be my “wallpaper” on which the frame would hang.  I still very much like this version.  But I think the salmon painted wall wins out.  What do you think?  Or there is this third option below!  The photo is a bit blurry; sorry for that!  Such a photo session it was!

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I’d love your take!  Which card wins in your book: 1, 2, or 3?

Moving on from this palate, I subdued my colors a bit more for the next card.  Some of the photos were taken in waning light, so apologies for the graininess, and poor lighting.  I had to keep some for the post, as I noticed in the ones taken today my bird’s arrow had drooped down a bit, which escaped me upon review.  Told you I was struggling through mud!   Photos have been edited!!  Now you can get a sense of the colors more truthfully represented and the different textures of the papers.  Love playing with texture!!

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I cut the inside of my Spellbinders Fancy oval frame with one of the smaller dies in all of my cards and love how the frame looks.  These dies had been on my wishlist for awhile!

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The inside and back are finished off with some washi tape.  The bottom of my striped wallpaper is edged with a border punch from Martha Stewart, which I haven’t used in awhile.  Seemed appropriate here, as the straight bottom edge just needed something more delicate. The key is also from a Martha Stewart punch.

Are you still with me?

Here is the last in my framed cards; this one really deviated from the inspiration photo!  But I really wanted to make a more bold spring, or even Christmas version.  I would add some mica flakes to my bird’s nest if it were a Christmas card.

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Now there are actually two versions of this one as well!  Oh, boy.  Here I have my distressed woodgrain paper straight on, and sitting higher up on the card so my dry and heat embossed background can be seen.

I love this technique and you can see it on some of my earlier holiday cards here, here and here.

Since I distressed and then inked the woodgrain, giving it an old-time feel, I thought it might look cool to recreate the look of those tin ceilings or walls from late 19th century buildings.  That, anyhow, is how this particular technique merged with this embossing folder feels to me!

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As you can see in this side shot, this is the version where I tilted the white distressed paper.

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The inside and back are finished with some scripted washi.

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And last look, here is the tilted version.

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So, your thoughts?  To tilt or not to tilt?

Thanks for sticking with me!  I can’t believe I made it through the post myself!  I have included a bit of a supplies list below.  I will be back this weekend with a card that will make you jump, and as previously promised, some paper art that will make your jaw drop!

Have a lovely start to your weekend, if it is your weekend!

Supplies (Click on any to link):
Floral OvalsSpellbinders Shapeabilities Die D-Lites-Fantastic Flourish 2Savvy Stamps Dies, SparrowEssentials by Ellen: Woodgrain Embossed  #110 Cardstock, White, 10 Pk

Tim Holtz Tonic Paper DistresserImage of Of the Heart Dies

Peace, Love, Joy and Happy Accidents

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Good morning!  I made it about a quarter of the way into last night’s premier of Downton and then it was bed for me!  I have established a very bad habit of late night activities and late morning rising.  It seems my body is enjoying the schedule, and my insomnia is better, but it does not bode well necessarily for work, especially when I have to teach at 7 or 8am some days!

So I am back with another entry for the CASE Study Challenge.

This one was great fun to put together, and some parts were a happy accident!

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So initially, I had dyed the paper with Distress Inks in the colors of the Challenge image.  My plan was not to use the paper as background, but rather cut out the birds and the wreath with from the dyed paper.  However, when I looked at the paper, I just loved what had manifested and I changed course!  I dyed more paper for the birds and another wreath (which will be featured in the next post), and decided to move in a more woody than white direction for this card.

I cut the Papertrey Ink wreath from woodgrain paper, and then dyed it with Walnut Distress Ink.  My mama and baby bird are Memory Box dies, and I cut a bunch from the dyed paper to get 2 birds that really had a wonderful feathering.

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The flags are actually washi-tape covered cardstock (you may recognize this washi tape, as I love the woodgrain and have used it quite a bit!) that were die cut with Spellbinders dies.  The white curly-cues are actually the scrap from an EK punch I have.  Sentiment is from Avery Elle.

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So this card is a bit more rustic and fluid than the clean design of the cookies, but I maintained the colors, embellishment shapes found in the doily & cookies, and circular nature with the wreath.  I just love how this turned out, as it is a one-of-a-kind creation.  That’s the fun of the Distress Inks.  My fingers are almost fully ink-free days after!

Please see my next post for other cards that followed in the wake of this one thematically!

Wishing you peace, love and joy!