Another card for my love

So… here’s what I’ve decided.  The first anniversary is paper, right?  And my wife has absolutely everything she could possibly need.  I’ve already made a couple cards, because I love making cards so much, so I’m just going to make as many cards as I can between now and Friday (that’s when we agreed to exchange gifts).  Here, then, is my next one:

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I made this for the Make My Monday Challenge: Create a Scene (http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/create-scene.html).  It’s kind of a representation of our wedding, which was in our back yard with flowers all around.  I used lavender chalk on the background, which I kind of liked the subtlety of, and washi tape on the bottom.  The purple flower stamp is one of the erasers I got from Staples and the grass is another favorite stamp.  I cut the silhouette out of black construction paper.  I put a couple silver stickers on for good measure (the colors of the wedding were purple and grey/silver).

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Now, I’m going to have to find nice things to write on all these cards.  It shouldn’t be hard, though.  🙂

Mandala Monday

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Happy Mandala Monday!  I stole some time away from dinner tonight (it’s actually Sunday, don’t tell) to work on this mandala before the sun set.  My boy’s a notoriously slow eater, so his other mom sat with him while I puttered in the garden clipping some of my beautifully blooming plants.  Here’s what I used:

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The marigolds are from a huge bush that I put in my garden to help ward off pests from the tomatoes, but it’s kind of taken over (it’s okay, though, it was in the corner with the cucumber and that’s done for the year).  I love how vibrant the orange is and I really love the way it looks with the purple.  And the vine is growing up the side of my back porch. I love the way they look, but I know they’re not at all good for the siding (which was pretty poorly constructed to begin with).  When I first tried to shape it for the outside of the mandala, it made a kind of a loose heart shape.

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Have a beautiful week!

 

 

Our garden (the flowers)

ImageLast summer we got married in our backyard.  It was the wedding of my dreams and our yard has never looked better.  One of my bridesmaids is an amazing gardener, so she helped us make it beautiful.  This summer, I’ve been more focused on the vegetable garden (which I had to forgo last year in the interest of space), but there are still some lovely plants and flowers left over.

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The yard is a nice mixture of flowers, fruit plants (a peach tree, blueberry bushes, a raspberry bush), a small vegetable garden, and plenty of grass for playing (and mowing).  The front yard has a couple rock gardens (which I love).  I’ve been focusing more on some of the flowers in the past couple weeks.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of them:

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Yes, I do love lilies.

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And this was one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.  Courtesy of Brian Hale @ http://proofs.halechannel.com/:

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Mandala Monday (with a little Macro Monday for good measure)

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It was only in the high 80s tonight, so I worked on my mandala outside. I let some of my greens go to seed (oops) so I decided to use some of them for my mandala. My lily is full of blooms that are all about a day away from wilting, so I was willing to pick one of them, too. I took a few stones from my rock garden and here you have it:

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While I was working, a cute little pincher bug crawled up onto one of my lettuce leaves. He just kind of hung out with me for a while. And I love the close-up of the lily. ImageImage

When I was done, I just tossed the salad into my yard. I’m not sure what the dogs thought about it (I think it was too bitter even for them). Next time I mow it will just get mulched up with the clippings. The circle of life.IMG_6884 IMG_6883

My two favorite Mandala bloggers both had beautiful offerings this week. They almost make me look forward to Mondays (almost).

http://girlunwinding.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/mandala-mondayhoneycomb-mandala/ – I love Dawn’s detail and precision. I could really get lost in her mandalas (which is, I guess, the point).

http://bitze.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/mandala-monday-make-mine-a-double/ – Patty’s mandalas are much more soft and pretty. I also love the way she uses linens and china in the staging.

Mandala Monday- Best laid plans

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Happy Mandala Monday!  Just like I’d decided, I started my mandala on Sunday this week.  I actually cut one of my beautiful lilies (they die so fast anyway) and some flowers from giant hostas in my front yard.  I collected some blueberries and “mystery berries” from a bush that seems to be growing out of one of my blueberry bushes (I actually have to find out what that plant is because I’m debating whether or not to cut it down to save the blueberries or let it continue to grow).  Here it is, in case anyone has any ideas:

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So, I got my berries and buds inside and was thinking of using a plate as a background, like in this beautiful mandala post from Patty:

http://bitze.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wet-july-mandala-monday/

I was starting to think about an arrangement when a little friend crawled out from inside my lily.  Now, I could have kept thinking and arranging, but I was in our bedroom and had this terrible vision of the bug flying around all night keeping us awake and my wife begging me to kill it.  (I’ve been doing all my work in the bedroom this week because the temperatures have been in the 90s and it’s the only room with air conditioning.)  I quickly scooped up the flower and brought it outside to try to free my new friends (there were actually a couple in there).  The mosquitos started eating me alive and those little buggers just didn’t want to abandon ship, so I gave up and left them, and the flower, outside.

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That left me with just the hosta flowers and the berries, so I made a simple design and called it a night.

I woke up the next morning, Monday, and was thinking what I could do with my mandala- print it and draw something in the center, try to recreate it, start over from scratch.  I had to drive to the eastern part of the state to go to the funeral of my pastor’s wife’s father, and I thought about my little empty mandala on and off for a lot of the trip.  It was a beautiful drive and I was able to stream Pandora on my phone the whole time (not always possible driving through some of the more remote areas).  As I was leaving the funeral, I saw this beautiful Peace Pole outside the church and knew at once how to complete my mandala.  They have always moved me, and today’s was no exception.

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So, here’s my offering:

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I’m wishing peace and comfort to my pastor and his family; peace and comfort to us all.

Mandala Monday and Rainbow ICADs

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Another busy Monday and electronic Mandala.  I did have the foresight to take pictures of some beautiful flowers blooming in my garden before work (and before the torrential rain).  (Oh, and this isn’t being uploaded until Tuesday because of said torrential rain and nearby tornado knocking out the internet.)  I couldn’t have brought myself to cut them to make a 3D mandala, anyway.  I used my handy dandy iPhone and PicCollage app to play with the focus, crop, and arrange them.  The one in the center is from a bulb I planted a little too late last fall (I was afraid).  It grew and bloomed magnificently this Spring, though.  (Of the 60 bulbs I planted, only about 10 came up, but they’re totally worth it.)  This flower took my breath away when I opened my door this morning.

One of the prompts for Daisy Yellow’s ICAD last week was “rainbow” so I couldn’t resist using it as much as possible.  I made my first rainbow card last week in celebration of the overturning of parts of DOMA, but it was a quickie and certainly didn’t do the rainbow prompt justice.  Here’s the link to her challenge:  http://daisyyellowart.com/icad/

I also started posting all my cards on Flickr.  Tammy, from Daisy Yellow, made some great theme-based collages with some cards from the first month so I’m hoping she’ll pick one of mine if she does it in July.  Here’s the link to her Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/groups/daisyyellow/pool

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I tried this background using a leftover piece of wire fencing I used for my chair planter.  I put it under a card and rubbed over it.  Unfortunately, I got too ambitions and tried to used too many colors (to go with the rainbow theme).  It ended up getting really muddled.  The quote was nice, so I experimented with a few different scripts.  I did a couple others with the crayon rubbing technique and only one or two colors and those came out much better (keep an eye out for them in future cards!).

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I rather like this one.  It’s a simple magazine page collage with a quote written on a cut-up card stitched on.  The quote is from “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough”, one of my favorite choreo-poems that was also made into a pretty great movie.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for looking.

Celebratory ICADs!

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There were a couple pretty cool birthdays this week.  My favorite: Eric Carle.  I love his illustrations and I feel a special affinity to him because the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is on the campus of my Alma Mater.  They have an amazing craft room that has different projects all the time.  I think I love it even more than my son.  I made that first ICAD as a tribute to Eric Carle, using collage that seemed reminiscent of his work.

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The second birthday is of Antoni Gaudi, an amazing architect.  The Google-doodle for that day was so cool that it prompted me to look up more of his work.  It’s so organic and colorful, and I found the quote that perfectly described his work.  I happened to have a background for a card just waiting to be used and this seemed like the perfect way to use it.  I made the background while I was experimenting with some pens that I never really liked.  I broke some open and blew the ink onto some cards.  It was really fun.  I used Sharpies to draw a somewhat abstract representation of his kind of architecture on top of the ink blots.

I made a couple boo-boos on this card, though.  I added an “o” to the end of his first name name and then, when I was adding the ICAD date and # I was accidentally holding the card upside down.  I guess sometimes things are so abstract it’s hard to remember what they actually were to begin with.

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This last one was just a day of pure celebration!  Yesterday, the Supreme Court found part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.  Not only is this just a really amazing moral victory, but it’s also going to have really positive, concrete benefits for thousands of couples (and couples-to-be) in the US, including my wife and me.  There are still other battles to fight, but this is an amazing step.  For example, while my marriage is legal in our home state of Massachusetts (the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004), if we were to move to a state where it wasn’t legal, it may not be transferred and we could lose many of the rights and privileges we have.

I knew I wanted to make an ICAD about it (albeit a quick one because I spent most of the night celebrating with my family and friends).  I immediately thought of this quote (one of my favorites from our recent visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibit in DC).  In researching the specific wording, I found that it was originally attributed to a minster from Massachusetts (not surprising).

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I hope these cards are as inspirational for you to see as they were for me to make.  Enjoy!

Mandala Monday

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This was so fun! I finally “harvested” my flower press and needed to fill it up again. I’ve seen other bloggers do Mandala Mondays so I wanted to try it out. I picked some of my favorite flowers from my garden (and one from my neighbor’s bush that leans over my fence) and went to work. I used a sleeve from an LP for the surface so I could keep it square (and because I like the aged paper look). I took the photo with Instagram to also keep it square and I used one of their filters. (I can’t remember which.)

I have no idea what any of the flowers are called (except the maroon carnation in the middle- it was a Mother’s Day gift from my boy). I tend to just buy flowers at farmers’ markets, garden shops, and Home Depot (when I’m broke). I don’t really pay attention to what they’re called, just how the look and how big they’re expected to grow.

All in all, the project was a really fun, relaxing project. I loved the smells and feel of the petals and leaves. I didn’t love the little red bugs but they don’t eat much. After I took the picture, I deconstructed all the flowers and put them in my press.

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Update:  Ahhh… It’s so much easier blogging from my computer.  I like using my phone (mostly because I’m impatient) but I can do so much more with my laptop.  So, here are my “inspirations” for this post:

http://bitze.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/mandala-monday-moment-to-moment/  – Patty’s blog is the first place I saw “Mandala Mondays” and is also one of my favorite blogs.  Looking at her mandalas, and the ways she photographs them, just take me to another plain.  The one in this post is one of my favorites.

http://girlunwinding.wordpress.com/category/mandala-monday/  – It looks like this is where Patty got the idea from.  This blog is also absolutely beautiful.

Button “Bouquets”

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I made a bunch of these button bouquets for a craft fair a few years ago (didn’t sell any).  I still have a few collecting dust at home and gave the rest away for Christmas presents that year.  This one is at my parents’ house.  The cool thing about it is that it has a bunch of vintage mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandmother’s nurse’s hats.  It has some tiny black beads in the little jar to hold it in with some small rocks on top.

ImageThis one is my favorite and sits on my mantle.  It’s in a cute little vintage pipe tobacco can. They’re super easy to make.  I used my needle nose pliers and a medium gage wire (heavy enough to maintain its shape but light enough to be manipulated and fit through the button holes).  I started off making a “trunk” with a few strands and left plenty of room at the top for the “branches”.  Then, I just found the buttons I wanted, strung them onto the wire, and twisted them up!  This one is held into the container with floral foam with some colored rocks glued on top.

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This one wasn’t made for a specific container, so I just topped it into this vase.  I like the red buttons and, properly placed in a room, can add some good chi in terms of feng shui.

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This one was also not made with a certain container in mind so I popped it into a brown bottle I had lying around.  It’s not very proportionate but it’s cute.

UPDATE:

I was checking out some other button bouquets on other blogs and found some great ones.  Here are my favorites:

http://justcallmemissdiy.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/button-bouquet/ – The woman profiled makes amazing bouquets… and the blog has tons of great ideas.

http://blog.mjtrim.com/2008/09/02/diy-button-bouquet/  – I love this store- there are so many cool ribbons and notions it’s hard to choose.

http://pumpkinandpye.com/2013/05/27/steampunk-wedding-bouquet/ – And this is my absolute favorite.  It’s not buttons, but the only thing better is steampunk!

I added ribbon to the “stems” of these two and it made them look pretty spiffy.  They’d make great boutineers, I think.

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Painted Flower Pots

My son painted flower pots for his other mom for Valentine’s Day and then we used them to start plants for our garden. The top picture was one I sprayed with chalkboard paint (I love that stuff) and then he drew and wrote on it. Unfortunately, when I sprayed it with sealant (so the chalk didn’t smudge or run if it got wet) the wetness of the sealant destroyed most of the chalk design. (Whoops!)

The middle picture is of a couple he painted with a flower motif with foam brushes and acrylic paint. I love that, too. It’s cheap, easy clean-up, and it comes in a million colors. I sprayed them with glossy sealant and they turned out great!

We planted several herbs from seeds and have been trying to start new plants from scraps. We’ve been doing well with the green and yellow onion. We tried celery, which grew great in water but when we put it in dirt it withered and died. We’re trying some romaine “butts” now. In the water they’re growing like weeds. (Fingers crossed.) To start the seeds, we used Keurig coffee pods so they wouldn’t get lost in the big pot. I’ll let you know how they transplant!

20130328-002455.jpgUPDATE:  The Keurig pod seed starters did not work out.  😦  Apparently, there’s some kind of mesh, build-in filter that the roots got all tangled up in.  And, I think I used too much coffee grounds mixed in with my potting soil on a few of the plants.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll need to find something else to use these for.