Birds of a Feather

 

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TUFTED TITMOUSE

Baeolophus Bicolor

I often spot these little birds on our feeder just outside the window.  I used Berol Prismacolor pencils for the bird and foliage and pastel for the background.

Here’s a little info about these sweet birds:

The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird from North America, a species in the Chickadee family.  Their habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks and shrub land in the Eastern United States.

They forage actively on branches, sometimes on the ground and are often seen eating seeds, nuts and berries.  They tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what’s going on inside.  They are more shy when seen at bird feeders; their normal pattern is to scout the feeder from the cover of trees or bushes, fly to the feeder, take a seed, and fly back to cover to eat it.

Are there any other bird watchers out there?  I’d love to hear what your favorite species is.  Who knows, maybe your favorite bird might inspire me to illustrate another lovely feathered friend!

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Kentucky Derby Inspired Wedding

Server Bosse Invitation 12 16 100 4

THE DESIGN PROCESS

The mother of the bride contacted me last Fall and asked if I would like to design Lesley and Patrick’s wedding invitation.  She said the ceremony would take place in Lexington, Kentucky and that it was to be an equestrian themed event.  I was thrilled because this was a unique design challenge for me.

After the first of the year, I was contacted with more specifics.  The bride and her mother spent countless hours scouring the internet.  That was a huge help for me because I had a much better idea of the direction they were most interested in.  I knew Lesley envisioned a pretty horseshoe surrounded by a lot of pattern, and with little negative space in the design.  I suggested that we incorporate some of her wedding flowers in the design, whether using royalty free clip art or I hand illustrated them.

I was elated to find a beautiful Spencerian horseshoe on The Graphics Fairy website http://thegraphicsfairy.com.  Karen has a lovely site full of vintage royalty free clip art.  After finding the horseshoe, which is the background of the design, I began working in Photoshop to remove the birds.

Spencerian Horseshoe

Next I decided on the fonts I would use.  I love to use Edwardian Script for formal invitations, which is a beautiful, delicate script.  I chose to mix it with Engravers MT, which has a more masculine Serif style with all caps.  I began placing the text and varying the font sizes until I liked the feel of the design.

I added a banner which was pretty decorative and later changed it to a more simple banner style.  The wedding date was placed inside the banner and curved slightly.

Banner

Back at The Graphics Fairy I searched for something to enhance the horseshoe.  I found a beautiful antique print ornament.  I cropped portions of it and added the remainder to the top of the horseshoe.

Antique Ornament

Lesley and I discussed specific flowers that she would be using in her wedding.  They consisted of hydrangea, roses and ranunculus.  I found beautiful images for the hydrangea and roses but was unable to find the ranunculus that worked.  I wanted to add some flower buds so I drew some ranunculus buds.  I added the flower buds inside the antique ornament and finished it off with some feminine flourishes.

Hydrangea Server Invitation

Lesley and her mother, Janice, had a specific gold that they loved.  We tried several hues and decided to color match another invitation.   We found the perfect gold and I made everything match the gold that they loved.  We were all pleased with the final look!

Would any of you like to see the rest of the wedding suite?  There are four other pieces that coordinate.  Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions and are interested in seeing the complete wedding suite!

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I’m Crushing on Foil!

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Do you ever find a project on Pinterest that you obsess about; something new and beautiful that you are dying to try?  I tend to have a one-track mind when I find a new art project or craft technique that I want to conquer.

 

LIVING IN THE STICKS HAS IT’S ADVANTAGES BUT NOT ALWAYS!

Living away from stores and shopping doesn’t usually bother me.  That is, until I find something different that I want to dive into and then find I’m missing a major component to create said project.  This dilema leaves me with three solutions;  the first involves driving the winding roads to the next town, the second is shopping online and waiting for my package to arrive and the third is to sweet talk my husband into shopping for the supplies on his way home from work (insert wink)!

None of these options are ideal!  I try my best to come up “Plan B” so I can get my craft on!  The craft I’ve been crushing on is gold foil prints.  Love, love love!

 

NOT ALL PRINTERS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Much to my dismay, I realized s much as I love my Canon Pixma Pro printer for printing my invitations and cards, it wasn’t going to work for this task.  I needed a laser printer that used toner and not ink.  The toner is  necessary to make the foil react and stick.  I couldn’t justify purchasing another printer and I was far too impatient to send my work to a print shop and wait on the laser prints.  Are you beginning to see that I donn’t possess the virtue of patience?

Because I was desperate, I decided an experiment was in order.  I rummaged through my art and craft supplies.  I had already purchased a roll of gold reactive foil and a toner pen.  I didn’t like the tip of the pen and found it clumsy to work with.  It also dried up when I tried to use it the second time.  Ugh!

I had to find something that would activate the foil to stick to the design.  I thought about the different glues I had in my arsenal.  I decided to try a glue by Aleene’s called TACK-IT Over & Over.  This glue remains sticky so I decided to give it a try.  Here’s what happened:

 

A STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL WITH SUPPLIES PICTURED

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  1. I applied the glue lightly to a rubber stamp and then went over it gently with a paint brush to spread the glue evenly over the raised areas.
  2. Next I cut a piece of reactive foil just large enough to cover the area of the stamp and a bit beyond.
  3. I found the horizontal center of my card and placed the rubber stamp on my smooth cardstock.
  4. I pressed down softly on the stamp and then lifted it carefully.  There was a bit of resistance as I lifted the stamp, but I could see the glue was just where it was supposed to be (insert happy dance)!
  5. I placed the foil on top of the glue and gnetly smoothed over the image with my fingertips.  I could see the raised impression of the glue through the foil.
  6. Next I put the cardstock through my laminating machine on the 3 millimeter setting.
  7. Once the cardstock came through my machine, I carefullly peeled the foil away to find a beautiful, shiny gold image!
  8. On the cards below I added a strip of Scor-Tape near the bottom edge of the card.  I placed the tape and smoothed it on the cardstock.  I peeled back the top to expose the sticky top side of the tape.  I placed a sheet of foil over the tape and ran it though the laminating machine.  The foil strip added a nice finishing touch!

HINT:  To throughly clean your rubber stamp, soak a cloth in rubbing alcohol and rub vigorously over the stamp.  You may have to do this a couple of times to remove all the glue.

HINT:  I found the more detailed stamps worked better for me than the smooth stamps using this technique.

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What about you?  Hav you fallen in love with all the foil designs found around the interweb?  Do you have any hints about working with a toner pen or printed toner?  I’d love to hear from you and see your stunning designs!

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Sir Crosby; a Pencil Illustration

I love drawing animals, botanicals and birds.  This particular little guy is my own personal pooch, Sir Crosby.  He is cute, sweet and a lot of company.  It’s true that pets come with a lot of responsibility, but when you’re an animal lover, the hard work comes with great rewards!

 

Sir Crosby is a funny little dog with a sweet disposition.  The little mark above his eye is called a kissing spot!  Funny but true!

 

Sir Crosby

For reasons I can’t explain, I love drawing dogs and cats in graphite but when the subject is a bird or flower I always work in colored pencil. Berol Prismacolor pencils are my favorite.

CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL

The cavalier is one of the largest toy breeds.  Historically it was a lap dog, and modern day adults can fill a lap easily.

The breed standard recognizes four colors; Blenheim (chestnut & white)

tricolor (black/white/tan)

black and tan

ruby

The breed is generally friendly, affectionate and good with both children and other animals; however, they require a lot of human interaction.

Do you have a special fur baby in your life?  Would you ever consider having an illustration made to commemorate their importance to you?

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Rise & Shine; You Can Love your Wake-up Call!

Coffee Cup

Early mornings are probably my favorite time of day.  Being an introvert, I love a quiet morning.  I enjoy hearing the birds sing and the wind blow through the trees.  Do you look forward to waking up each morning?  Or do you quickly jump out of bed feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with your long to-do list?  Because I want you to love your mornings as much as I do, I want to help you enjoy the start of each day.  It may require setting your alarm a few minutes earlier than usual, especially if you have littles, but I promise it will be worth it!  I think you’ll be amazed by the peace and anticipation you’ll feel when you begin your day this way!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1.   Be kind to yourself with something you love, like a steamy cup of coffe, tea or something else that soothes you and wakes you gentlly.

2.  Sit in the same cozy spot each day.  Before going to bed each night, remove any distractions, such as remotes, magazines, etc.If it’s chilly outside, have a throw or cover nearby.

3.  As you sip your drink, open your mind and talk openly to God.  I believe he cares about your day as much as you do.  Tell him about anything that jumbles your thoughts.  Allow him to show you what’s really important about your day ahead of you.

4.  Use a daily devotional book and read the correlating scripture.  Pray that God will direct you and show you how this reading applies to you in a personal way.  You may realize that you have found a solution to a problem or concern by appying what you’ve just read.

5.  Pray about any other thoughts you have, whether they make you feel happy or sad.  Try to release your worries and thank God for the good things in your life.

I believe this approach helps me put my life in perspective and to look at the bigger picture.  So many problems that I’ve allowed to take upon myself to fix are things that I was never in control of anyway.  These quiet morings help me remember that God is God and that I am not responsible for many things that I’ve let trouble my mind.  As you continue with this routine, I hope you will learn to be kind to yourself and to stop pressuring yurself about every.little.thing.

Heart Picture

Some of my favorite devotional books:

Jesus Calling

Streams in the Desert

My Utmostt for His Highest

Do you have a favorite morning routine?  I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried this routine to a quiet morning or have any other suggestions?  Please leave a comment and let me know!

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