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