Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day, Everyone! Whether you are Irish or not, it's a good day to wear your favorite green sweater, maybe catch a parade, have a green bagel (Bruegger's) or a green beer (if that's your thing). The card below is one I made and posted here several years ago.

May the Irish hills caress you
May her lakes and rivers bless you
May the luck of the Irish enfold you
May the blessings of St Patrick behold you
I hope to post a few more times while I'm on Spring break from classes.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Happy For Hexagons - Part 2

My second card for the Moxie Fab World Happy For Hexagons Challenge also uses punched out shapes, but this time I started out with plain cardstock over a plain background. I didn't even decide to stamp over the hexagons until I had them all adhered. The arrangement that I started to form suggested molecules to me, so I printed "Chemistry" from my computer.

This will be another anniversary card with an appropriate "you've got chemistry" caption on the inside [Edit - this is what I wrote:]

Chemistry may have given you a start
But a successful marriage is an art

Happy For Hexagons - Part 1

For those of you who don't already know, I went back to college in September and have had to neglect my blog ever since. But I've been taking the usual photos and will get caught up one of these days (probably this summer). I'm still trying to make cards for friends and family, and occasionally participate in an online challenge. This is the first of two cards I made for the Moxie Fab World Happy For Hexagons Challenge.
The hexagon background was pieced together from punches made in a single matstack to get the coordinating patterns. I printed the sentiment (using a free font from Papercrafts Magazine) on cardstock and matted it over vellum before adhering to the card. The matstack came with a peel-off sticky backing, which made the whole process a lot easier.

I decided to add a few faux rhinestones. This will go out - LATE - to some wonderful cousins (you know who you are!)

Friday, January 03, 2014

Twelve Days Of Christmas Cards

Here is my 2013 "Seven Swans A-Swimming" Christmas card. I finally got them done and mailed after New Year's Day. The inside sentiment reads:

Thinking of You,
Wishing For You and Yours
All the Beauty and Grace
Of This Christmas Season
Continuing Throughout
The Coming Year

I used several shades of cardstock for the base. This is the first year I've drawn only the "gift" and not the cat, since I started the series in 1998.

There were years I sent other handmade cards and some years I missed altogether. 2007 was the "Six Geese A-Laying" card. I don't have a copy of the card - this is a copy of just the drawing. The "Five Gold Rings" card was not a drawing, but a photo of my cat Cubby, with actual metal wire for the earrings and bracelets piercing the photo. (I don't have a copy of that one either, but I may be able to re-create it.)

"Four Calling Birds" was the 2004 card. I liked how the birds turned out, but I was going for a more stylized look, as in the swan and goose.

2000 was "Three French Hens". I used Zane as the model for the cat drawing. Again, the cat turned out not as stylized as the hens.

"Two Turtledoves" was the gift in 1999. I wanted to draw some cats I'd actually had, so the black cat represented Angus, who was with me 15 years. It's really hard to draw black cats with much detail!

The first card was in 1998: "A Partridge In A Pear Tree".  It was my intent to draw a cat in each one, along with a gift in some form that a cat would like. I was also thinking of each of the drawings as part of a poster, so I thought about which way each cat was facing, as well as where the other elements were located on each card. The first six cards can be placed in two rows of three and coordinate quite well. The seventh card departed from this: there's no cat and it's vertical. I may decide to just start over, but I will continue the series until it's finished. Next year: Eight Maids A-Milking.

For anyone who's interested, "The Real 12 Days of Christmas" by Helen Haidle gives the history of the hidden meaning behind the 12 gifts. The song originated in 16th century England as a way to teach children beliefs when it was strictly forbidden outside of official state church teachings. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seven Swans A Swimming Into 2014

A preview of my Christmas card still on its way to friends and family...

Thinking Of You,
Wishing For You and Yours
All The Beauty and Grace
Of This Christmas Season
Continuing Throughout
The Coming Year

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Poem of the Cicadas

First summer I've had a car in several years 
Maybe that's the only reason I'm noticing: 
Driving around with the windows open,
The sound of cicadas is as steady as traffic noise.
I've always noticed the hum of them late in summer, 
Along with the cricket chirps of evening
But this is the first time I can remember the sound of cicadas 
Following me everywhere I go, 
The volume almost constant
As if every tree in every neighborhood 
had the exact same number of cicadas. 
If only they lit up at night,
What a sight that would be

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oh The Things You Will See At The Minnesota State Fair

Summer is coming to an end however you measure it:  the calendar, the beginning of school, the weather or the activities. The Minnesota State Fair is usually a big 12-day finale to summer in this state. After a cooler than normal season here, we got our 90-degree days this past week.  If I hadn't bought tickets for an event at the Grandstand, I might have skipped it altogether, but I found new things to photograph this year, so I'm glad I went.

The first things I saw in the Creative Activities building were these animals made from hundreds of folded bits of paper. There was no label, but I have to assume they are a sort of origami.

The shape below is a temari ball, a form of Japanese embroidery.

Nice assortment of crocheted Christmas ornaments:

An award-winning quilt: these are my kind of colors!

I've tried quilting, but nothing as labor-intensive as hardanger (har-dang-er): counted and pulled-thread embroidery.

Another never-seen entry: some sort of artistic contraption.

Then I moved outdoors and took some close-ups of sunflowers.  The actual seeds are visible.

Our car and canoe never looked like this, but it makes me nostalgic nevertheless:

The buildings were relatively uncrowded, but still too hot for much browsing, so I took this one quick photo in the Fine arts building, and left.

Cooling clouds had formed by the time I reached the Horticulture building, so I was able to spend some time at the flower arrangements. The theme this year was All Things Seuss.

And the displays were delightfully whimsical.

 If you remember any of the books, you will see some very specific inspiration.

But most were just interpretations of Seuss's colorful, playful drawings.

The theme was used in the center atrium as well, something I've never seen done before.

"The Lorax" movie just came out this year.

"The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins" has always been one of my favorites.

When Craig arrived, we strolled over to the Eco Experience Building.  Once again, we didn't stay inside very long, but I snapped this pic of cans that should be - but are often not - recycled.  "Stop Treating Us Like Garbage" is the caption. Craig and I like to tell the story of our car trip all the way to Maine and back, during which we threw out not a single recyclable container.  We simply bagged them up in the back of the car and dropped them off at the first recycling receptacle we found; no coincidence that we were almost home in Minnesota when we found it.

Then, the event we had waited for: the Internet Cat Video Festival sponsored by the Walker Art Center. The videos didn't start until after dark, but there was pre-video entertainment as people continued to fill the seats. 

One of the stars of last year's Video Fest was Grumpy The Cat, shown in seed art below. The cat is actually a female named Tardar Sauce.  She was on local news with her owner this morning, and on stage this evening.

The first 1000 or so to walk through the gates received a film canister with a DVD inside.  We also got a bookmark, pin and letterpress poster.

Total food count: 3 cups of diet pop, one salmon-on-a-stick with rye krisp and lingonberry jelly, one foot-long corn dog, half a fudge puppy (Belgium waffle covered with chocolate on a stick), one pineapple shake, and one frozen custard sundae.  Too hot to eat more than that - and I was only there 8 hours, ha ha!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Paisley Thank You

Just a quick post about a fun-to-make thank-you card. This was made for a business-woman, so I wanted it to be simple, but not too dull.  I stamped the various sizes of paisleys on plain cardstock, colored them and the surrounding space with watercolor pencils, blended with blender pens, then cut out the circle. The border was made with my favorite use-the-scraps technique: simply tape together random pieces of scraps to cover the card edges, and trim.  Since the center is covered by another panel, it doesn't matter if the scraps fully cover the card, and that's what makes it so easy to do.

The sentiment was stamped on the same watercolor paper as the center panel, and then attached with dimensional (foam) tape.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesdays Around Town - Victoria, MN and Red Cow

Last Saturday, I took a little drive to Victoria, Minnesota to check out the 2-day Volkfest.  There were art and food booths, games like a dunk tank and bean bag toss, and an auction of Adirondack chairs.

The chairs were decorated by different artists.

These gorgeous tomatoes were actually painted on canvas attached to the chair back.  I watched the first few chairs being auctioned. A couple went for just $50, but several others brought in $250. I would have bid on one myself, but really had no way to get it home. Adirondacks are my favorite outdoor chair.

The town is on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail,

Along Stieger Lake.

On Sunday, Craig and I tried the Red Cow restaurant in SW Minneapolis for the first time. Although it's a fine burger place, we ate light and split the ahi crisps and the hummus with housemade crackers and veggies. Both appetizers were excellent, as were the wine and beer.