Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Opening of a Sunflower ...

I took this series of photos over the last week, to show the opening of this self-sown sunflower in one of the pots in my yard.
My friend thought it was an artichoke, and it sure did have that look about it ...

So I thought it might be interesting to follow a sequence, showing the opening of this lovely flower.
As I write, it's completely open now, and the seeds would be growing and ripening, but this will take quite a while. They won't be ripe till late Autumn, and it's now only mid-February.

I remember when I was a kid, husking the sunflowers my Pop grew, for his galah, Joey. He would grow the sunflowers and we would rub out the ripe seeds, my brother and I.
And that would be Joey's mainstay for the coming year! He also ate arrowroot biscuits and gnawed on chop bones, that bird! I've always had my suspicions about him!
But Pop loved him dearly and he lived to a ripe old age. Sad life, a bird in a cage ... but Joey was let out every day and used to side-step along the tin fence at the side of Pop's, terrorising all who ventured down the lane! Many a time we only got so far and had to scream for help as the little winged bandit bailed us up turning into the gate!

This is a female Galah ~ you can tell by the eye ... the females have a redder eye ... same with a lot of Australian birds!

My 'Artichoke'!

It's a single flower, and you can get doubles, and others with many, many layers of petals ... and lots of colours too, but I like mine! I've become very attached to my little artichoke over the last week!

When is 'enough', ENOUGH?!

It really surprised me when I looked through my photo files at the cards I've made over the last six weeks or so.
At the moment I think I'm buying for the sake of buying, and not using what I'm getting. Some stamp sets I still haven't used which is pretty ridiculous!
It's hard when you first start off .. you can't make this, because you don't have that ... and it's a constant moan ... "Oh, I wish I could make that! ~ but I don't have the stuff!"
But now I do ... I have basic cardstock in white and Kraft, a bit of black and quite a few colours that could be used for bases.
I have a lot of middle weight card too, the one that's used for adding a strip of colour between the main focal image and the card base! Lots of colours, cheap stuff from Officeworks, but sandwiched in there, it doesn't matter!
And as for top layers, will I have enough Copic card, and plain card and watercolour paper to last quite a while.

I have stamps, and enough inkpads ... I have flowers ... I pick up feathers every day from the myriad birds that visit our yard ... beads and charms ... diamantes and pearls ... OK ... ENOUGH!

So, sharing a few cards that I've made over the last few weeks .....
This didn't work at all ... but it led to the next ones, so I was happy ...

I loved doing these. Once I switched from black to green, [the rubbing over the embossing in the background], I was much happier. These were inspired by the road into Depot Beach on the south coast of NSW just north of Batemans Bay ~ see photos below.

I used the tiny shells that I find at the north of Depot, and some sand from my photo tray.

It took me a while to work out how good the raffia looks when you unfurl it ... better late than never, I guess! I used a double-drilled green seaglass to act as the button.
The road into Depot Beach ... you wind downhill  through rainforest and through the palms ... the road is sandy, often full of sloshy pot-holes, but it's one of those places that fuels and nurtures the soul and a place where I'm always assured of some good photos. Whether it's the plants along the way, an odd Lyrebird, which I'm never quick enough to catch on a photo, or the sea itself. I've taken some of my best dawn photos here ~ it's just a beautiful place to be.  And now I'm taking inspiration for making cards.
Sun through palms ...
Sun through palms ...
Sun through palms ...

Sun through palms ....

 So now I have to say ..."I have enough!" ... and just get on with it ...

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cards for January ...

I'll get by with a little help from my friends ...................
and with their help my confidence has grown! Not sure my skills have, but at least I now know what I do and don't like!

I've surprised myself actually! I never thought I'd be the hearts and flowers type, and the hearts can jump off the nearest cliff, but I DO like flowers!
I've bought three lots now from iamroses in Thailand. The next lot though, I'm going to get from Wild Orchid Crafts in the UK as I WANT [NEED!] some of their poppies! What an 'acquirer' I am!

Playing around with an image from Clip Art and the Reversed Nestabilities video from Gina K on StampTV!

THIS IS WHY I WANTED TO MAKE CARDS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! Happy Christmas to my Dear friend Rob in the UK! This is his wonderful dog, Lucy coming out of the surf in the North Sea! The Sentiment just HAD to be "JOY"!

I think this was pretty much the first insert I ever did! Well, decorated anyway. The whole thing of adding inserts was a total mystery to me!

A couple more of the cards I made at Christmas. Nothing special, but this die  [the tree] came in the Australian Simply Cards magazine and was the most intricate one I'd ever used! Stuff got stuck everywhere! Friends to the rescue once again! Ahhh.... baking paper! Whoever would have guessed!

My dear friend Sue, in Weston Super Mare sent me this stamp! By Robert Powell, I'd never coloured anything like this ... was pretty pleased with the end result, but didn't have a lot of the muted browns, ochres and olives Powell used in his artwork. I've got most of them now, and next time I do this one, I think I'll be a bit closer. I know it's not the aim, to replicate something in it's entirety, and it's OK to do your thing, but no one could do this better than Powell, so why try!?!! Sent it back to her as a card!!

I had fun doing this silly verse and working out the sizes for a portrait card in 5" x 7" size using Office!! Sue now shares Nikki and my birthday on January 8!

Wow I did a  terrible job on those palms! Never mind, my heart was in it and it was for my wonderful friend Janette, who has helped me in this carding game so much! The weather was pretty bad in Sunderland, {still is!], so this Aussie Sunshine card made her smile. You'd think with this much sun and strong colour there'd be some shade and shadows somewhere ... oops! Next time!
Oops! Next time! This could well become my motto! I could engrave it on my shield! My family crest!
At the moment though I'm having too much fun learning new things to go back and fix all the mistakes!

Onwards and upwards!

Cards for November and December ~ Yes, I know it's now February!!

I've been making cards for a year, on and off, now.
After starting out with a morning lesson with Jill at Amanda's of Mogo, and enjoying it so much, I've come along slowly, made some wonderful friends who have helped me a lot, and watched Youtube till it's coming out my ears!

Some days I've made nothing, preferring to concentrate on my simple silver-smithing and jewellery-making, but just lately I feel I've turned a bit of a confidence corner, and have started turning out a few that I'm pleased with!

But with the help and support of my lovely friends at Down Under Stampers, I've done these over the last few months.

Using the Lovely as a Tree set from Stampin' Up! And lots of glitter!

Practising sponging. I like the work of Theresa Momber from StampTV, and watch her often. This was one of my early efforts and it's pretty obvious that I still have a lot to learn, but ... getting there!

This set I was happy with! I made a few of these and sent them as my Christmas cards this year! Yes, I was sooooooo born in the wrong hemisphere!

I loved this stamp, from Inkadinkado, I bought it from a lady in England. This is one of my first goes at Copic colouring ... something else I'm not very good at yet, but getting there slowly!

Here are a few others from around that time ...

Well, the attempt at the Southern Cross totally sucked, but I was happy with the rest of it. Had to hand-draw the windmill ... still haven't bought a nice one ,but have found one. On the list!

This one I loved!

Adriana's Birthday card!

Gave this one away at Christmas.

This card went absolutely nowhere! I really don't like the whole 'sliding ink around on glossy paper' thing! BUT, I love the Stampscene [Stampscape?] stamps and will use them way better than this! Sponging is the way to go with these .... for me at least!

This is such a sweet little fairy! I've had her since I was teaching ... bought from the Fairy Shop in Windsor about 20 years ago, it still stamps perfectly1 I loved the way the copic colouring turned out in this one too!

Well, these were my cards for November and December! A mixed bag as I grew in confidence.
A huge thank you to Cheryl, Marcelle, Liz, Karen, Ina, Lindsay, Lorna, Tricia, Sharon and Sally ~ the Down Under Stampers!

Going Batty ...

Going Batty ...
No, not me hopefully ... my garden! Our palm tree is fruiting, and drawing bats from near and far. Two huge bunches of fruit have kept these little guys in food for a couple of months now. Ripening at totally different times, with just a week or two between, and with the fruit at all different stages on the bunch, they'll be at it for a few more weeks at least.
Until now I haven't been able to catch a photo ... they fly off as soon as they hear me coming.
Last night though, one little guy stayed and with the help of Kieran's huge torch ~ a great Christmas gift from his Dad ~ we lit up the backyard like daylight, and managed to get these shots!
These aren't 'bats' ... they're Flying Foxes, also known as fruit bats. Fruit and small insects are their diet, and orchardists have to net their fruit so they don't lose it all.
This one wasn't huge, but his wingspan would have been about two and a half feet!

This is the fruit! The whole bunch would be about two and a half feet long, and it weighs a ton! Well, figuratively!

This is great ~ you can see the hooks he uses to hold himself ... one's crossing the spine of the dead palm leaf, and the other is just to the left of the fruit! And even though he's sideways, he's looking directly at the camera.

I love this shot too ... he's reaching up so he can pull himself along!

Hanging by his hind legs again, one eye shines and he's looking up and a bit to the side ... isn't that the most gorgeous, amazingly-coloured fur?

Here he is! Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!!