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

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.

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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:

Bee-lieveably Sweet! A Card, A History, A Poem

Well, fancy meeting you here again!  I am back with my second post of the day to prompt you to play along with us at the CASE Study Challenge, where some delightful designers are working this month from the inspiration of Joni Andaya of Papell With Love .  Please see my first post for the challenge here!  And since it is the beginning of spring for many of us, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, I can think of few better than Joni for some spring inspiration.

Here is this week’s offering from Joni!

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Elegant harmony.  That’s what this card is.

In my first take on this card, I wanted to capture that elegance.  However, in the second incarnation, I went whimsical and trendy.  It was the amazing grey and salmon hexagon design and wasabi paper from Amuse Studio that pulled me in that direction.

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The true color of this paper is easier to see here in the second photo.  I absolutely love this color, and when paired with the salmon and pinks, it’s just delectable.  And that hexagon paper?  It came in a pack from Impress stamps, so I don’t know who manufactured it.  It was the only one of its kind, so I was hording it for just the right time.  And this card was just the occasion.  Can you see some of the fine print and detailing?

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I wanted to make sure to leave the sentiments and details of the paper exposed and tried to draw attention to them with placement of subtle embellishments, such as the wood veneer diamonds that I die cut from Simon Says Stamp’s Mod Window.

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The black Swiss dot paper from Bazzill makes an appearance again, this time really grounding the design and making the textured pink bee and wasabi laurel pop!  I used PTI’s tag sale die for this.

The flag is from a Dear Lizzie pack of chipboard embellishments.  I strategically tore my script washi so it would read “I walk on the line of love”– delightful line!

What really ended up bringing the design together for me was the die cut striped washi at the bottom of the card.  This was my ah-ha moment where I knew the card was finished, and how I brought in that captivating stripe of Joni’s card.

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As you can see from the back, the front panel sits up a bit higher, so I was able to capture the full design of the paper on the front.  I like how the back of the cardstock peeks over the top edge and how the design plays with the arrowed washi at the bottom.

Please join us at CASE Study now until Tuesday at midnight to play along with this week’s challenge!

So what is the story of the bee and laurel? 

If you have read any of my other posts, you will have noticed that I love to work thematically in my writing, pulling in historical and cultural references, and providing my readers with interesting facts about the topic at hand.

I enjoy the French country and shabby chic aesthetic.  I am, in many ways (apologies to my British friends), a Francophile at heart.  From the moment I walked into my first French class at the age of 11, I was hooked on the language, culture and history.  Sadly, I don’t use my French as much as I used to since I’ve no occasion to speak it or teach it here in Seattle.  In Upstate New York, so close to Canada and specifically Quebec, French was much more prevalent, and it was a dominant language taught within the schools in the area. Now it comes in handy when I am teaching morphology and etymology to my students, or assisting with Spanish.  Quel domage.

One of my (many) goals is to join a French conversation group so I can brush up!  If you know of any good ones online, or if you would like to correspond in French, let me know.  I am rusty as an old hinge, but passionate nonetheless!

So, the bee and laurel!

You’ve likely seen this regal combination adorning cards, pillows, linens and other home décor.

In France, the bee was representative of French sovereigns and became an emblem of the First Empire under Napoleon I during the 19th century, adorning his coat of arms.

The bee is a “Symbol of immortality and resurrection…chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.” (Napleon.org)

A laurel wreath also appears on Napoleon’s coat of arms encircling the N and around which bees and stars dance.

The laurel has long been associated with power and victory, going back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans.  It was Apollo who first donned the wreath in honor of Daphne, who had, in fleeing from his insistent pursuit, been turned into a Laurel tree by the Gods at her imploring.  Not so victorious, hmm, Apollo?

When considered within a contemporary, feminist framework, the tale raises issues about the problematic nature of freedom for women, the struggle for power, and the threat that both society and men pose to the mind and body of women.  I was long ago inspired by the myth and these issues, so I wrote the following poem based on it and the Miles Davis tune “Pharaoh’s Dance.”

I will leave you with that very poem and an embed of the amazing tune if you care to read and listen!

While Listening to Miles Davis’ “Pharaoh’s Dance”

Corner creeping quiet sneaking trumpet
blow the echo and crash in empty black
comet spiral sound keep crashing into light

Stars explode in drum beat burst
shrill silver light streak in sky then silence
and night

haunting rhythm return soft toe

tap tingle around crafty foot
step and louder now                     the squeak                          the squeal
hand around waist where skin screams
at touch and wriggles away

Running faster Daphne from Apollo
perverse pursuit
her hair flow in wind long tail behind
and the phantom at her back
to help          her flight                her final cry
ends here

quiet legs stick in ground
arms outreaching             rhythm slow fall over her
thigh becomes trunk                  small waist circle of wood
breasts knotty knobs and fingers branch to end
with green tipped wonder                     point to the sky

gratitude

Her pursuer stops                  wants to break
branches                 halo         the leaves around his head
a laurel crown caressing
hurt                             he will watch forever as she withers
and is reborn

the pound                the pulse             the rhythm
faster now in memory                     in memory                     in memory
in memory                             in memory
of the chase

Time to Give Thanks & Press Pause!

Can we press the pause on November, please?  As a teacher, the pressure of time is ever a companion, but the rapidity of this month has left me breathless!

So what better way to slow down than sinking into a creative pursuit?  And that is just what I did last night!  Since our trip to the Olympic Peninsula last weekend was made possible by a generous gift to Domaine Madeline, a secluded bed and breakfast along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I had some serious thanks to give after our retreat!

For this card, I wanted to depart from the fall colors and create something whimsical and light that reminded me of the recipient. Using a variety of my new Colorbox Cat Eye inks and nearly all of my Paper Smooches “Many Thanks” stamps, here is what I came up with!

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I didn’t anticipate making a square card, actually.  I initially laid out all of the stamps in the configuration I wanted, then took a picture so I would be able to recall their placement.  I made a rough sketch of the card, but after stamping all the sentiments, and working with some framing die placement, I realized the scalloped square was a perfect fit.

I cut the left side a bit close, since I wasn’t planning to go square, and I also ended up adding “much appreciated” vertically on the right side to fill in that extra space.  So the stamping isn’t perfect, but should I replicate the card, I will die cut the paper first, then stamp.

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I had no plan for paper, which was part of the fun!  The pastel chevron paper from had been sitting in my stash since the spring, only ever used as a backdrop for photo sessions!  It was time to take center stage!  The black and white polka dot, green & white dot, and salmon graph paper are all from a new pack called “Here and There” by Studio Calico, and I love every paper in the pad!

I love the unexpected working of the chevrons and polka dots–at least I think it works!  I never would have considered them until I played around with a variety of combos!

I added a bit of embellishment for texture, sparkle and dimension with the enamel dots, POW Glitter paper, and layering.  I think I might emboss the sentiments if I make the card again, though that will be tedious, as I will have to stamp, sprinkle, tap, heat, repeat over and over!

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Always room for improvement, but I am pretty happy with the result. Every card making experience yields so many other possibilities and lessons learned for the next time, which is part of the fun (though sometimes frustrating for those of us who want it to be perfect from the first!)

A double delight is that as I was making this card, a post came through my Bloglovin’ account highlighting the Paper Smooches Cool Colors challenge this week.  Look at those colors!!

And since I used all Paper Smooches stamps, I was pretty thrilled!  Thanks, Pamela, over at MIAO for highlighting this on your blog, as I may have missed it!

Looks like my card will be headed over there as an entry!

And then:

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over at Simon Says Stamp.  The theme?  Thanks and Thanksgiving!

So slow down that clock and get your color and craft on!

I know I will with a special delivery that arrived just today from Simon Says Stamp! I am so excited to dive into the new Kelly Purkey stamps, Copics, Hero Shadow Inks, and more!  It’s like Christmas already!

I will leave you with some colorful pictures from our stay at Domaine Madeline and a poem from one of my favorite books of poetry, Red Sings from Treetops, A Year in ColorsI cannot say enough about the words and images in this fabulous book by Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski.  You must check it out!!

Kate Domain Madelein

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“Red splashes fall trees,
Seeps into
Every vein
of every five-fingered leaf.
Red swells
on branches bent low.
Red: crisp, juicy
crunch!”

Leaves 01

Skeleton Dance

CAS-ology Black Challenge

Happy Dios de los Muertos!

Can you believe Halloween is now a ghost floating behind us and thoughts (as well as advertisements and stores!) are turning toward the spirit of another season? Yesterday, I tried to make up for some lost time and embrace my favorite turn of the year, frosting Halloween cookies, carving a pumpkin, and finalizing a few paper creations for the bottleshop where my partner works (photos forthcoming!). Sadly, I entertained only a few trick-or-treaters as my pumpkin glowed into the night and I watched Halloween II while eating way too many mini snickers!

Today, as I look at all my Halloween stamps and papers that didn’t find their way onto a card this year, ideas continue to swirl like leaves, and I realize I am not quite ready for the transition from pumpkin patches and spiced cider to tree lots and mulled wine!

But Samhain is here and we are turning toward the darker days, so what is more perfect than an all black card to celebrate a skeleton dance and remember all the souls that have passed into another realm?

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When I first saw these Tim Holtz embossing folders, I knew I had to have them!

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For my card, I embossed some black-brown paper from Impress Stamps, but it just seemed so bland and I was having a hard time figuring out how to make it pop. I didn’t want to add layers, but rather keep the focus on the wonderful scene itself.

Then I recalled a technique I tried last month with some other embossed paper, and realized that was just what this card needed.

To achieve this glossy effect, I rubbed VersaMark Dazzle Ink Champagne pad all over the card, specifically the embossed portion.  After that, I covered with clear embossing powder and set with a heat gun.  I love the glossy, plastic feeling of the card when it is set.

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The sentiment inside and bats on the back are from Waltizingmouse Stamps “Halloween Party” set.  This is one set that I adore, but did not put to use as much as I would have liked!  I finished the card off with two strips of black glitter ribbon.

Clean and simple with a little sparkle and shine!

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For this final shot, I added my little tombstone and Bunnicula to the scene!  I realized that the Papertrey Ink holiday tag inset die looked like a tombstone, and so using my Victorine Originals skeleton, letters from MFT, Savvy grass die and Lawn Fawn bunny, I set up this prototype and hope to make more to incorporate into cards and tags for next year!  What do you think?

Well, the news is predicting our first wintery storm of the season with high winds, rain and cooling temperatures, and snow in the Cascades.  We shall see if their predictions are accurate!  Here is a poem to bid adieu to the season of the witch and celebrate black!

What is Black?

Black is the night
When there isn’t a star
And you can’t tell by looking
Where you are.
Black is a pail of paving tar.
Black is jet
And things you’d like to forget.
Black is a smokestack
Black is a cat,
A leopard, a raven,
A high silk hat.
The sound of black is
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
Echoing in
An empty room.
Black is kind-
It covers up
The run-down street,
The broken cup.
Black is charcoal
and patio grill,
The soot spots on the window sill.
Black is a feeling
Hard to explain
Like suffering but
Without the pain.
Black is licorice
And patent leather shoes
Black is the print
In the news.
Black is beauty
In its deepest form,
The darkest cloud
In a thunderstorm.
Think of what starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against
Black…
     ~ Mary O’Neill
Dance your bones over to CAS-ology for some great takes on this week’s challenge!
Thanks for stopping by Pinned & Penned!

Witch in the Foggy Woods

Simon Says Stamp Challenge: Halloween Pt. Deux

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

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Well, at the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I think I just figured out how to best upload my photos from my camera so that they are large and visible!  I am sure there has to be an easier way than my convoluted process, but with this post, I think I have figured an improvement for now!  (Where is Santa and that digital camera?)

So this past week in Seattle we were surrounded by a thick fog rolling off the Sound, perfect for these darkening days of autumn.  Through a complete accident of experimentation, I was able to capture the kind of foggy, gauzy moonlight that sifts through a thick forest on an October evening when the moon is full.  Using my Crafter’s Workshop birch stencil and some Unicorn White with a foam applicator, I brushed the ink on Amuse Studio’s Slate paper.  Because I have made a window with American Crafts Crate Paper Photo Overlays, the effect has been muted, but I love that I was finally able to find a use for these overlays.
The sequins and stars are from American Crafts as well.

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Waltzingmouse Stamps has provided this haunting, finger-wagging witch & the sentiment is another fabulous Memory Box creation.  I love how Memento’s Tuxedo black ink represents on this slate paper!

All dies are from Spellbinders.

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I will leave you with a fine poem befitting the week and my little corner of the world!

Fog, by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
May something wooly and wonderful embrace you this week!
Head over to Simon Says Stamp for some inspiration!