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Jack And Sally Giant Letters

I was asked to paint Jack and Sally from  The Nightmare Before Christmas on two giant letters (initials) for a wedding.

It’s no secret that working in miniature is definitely what I’m most comfortable doing. Certainly any fan art I’ve ever created has been quite small scale. So these giant letters were a new challenge for me in a number of ways, but mostly because they were the largest things that I’ve ever painted.

The letters arrived early in the year, however due to fitting this project around two small children, I didn’t finish them until July. The wedding that they were featured in took place last Monday (Sept. 4th), so that is why I’m only now finally getting around to writing about the project!

Below I’ve outlined how I planned out the designs, transferred the designs to the letters, and painted them. Read more…

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Cabbage White Caterpillars (Small White)

A few weeks ago I discovered a bunch of butterfly eggs all over a nasturtium plant and decided to take an eggy leaf in the house so that I could watch the caterpillars develop.

At first I identified the eggs as belonging to Large (White) Cabbage White Butterflies as I saw the adults fluttering around the nasturtium plant and the eggs were very similar to those of the large white, however the eggs weren’t laid in clusters which I found very odd. As it turns out, this behavior is normal for Small (White) Cabbage White Butterflies and that’s what they were!

The adult butterflies are remarkably similar in addition to laying similar looking eggs and the larva of both butterflies eat the same plants too, however the caterpillars look nothing alike. In 2015 I took 23 large white caterpillars into my house to observe with my daughter and I’ve got that whole event thoroughly documented HERE.

Below I have documented my entirely less traumatic, small white adventure with lots of photos!

Read more…

Colorspondence Writing Paper

By Stuwahacreations – Make Every Sheet Unique, Customize & Share!

Since I started my penpal/happy mail adventure a year ago, I’ve been on the hunt for interesting and affordable writing paper. I look for it everywhere I go, and all over the internet. What I’ve discovered in all of my searching is that there are a lot of beautiful papers out there, designed by many talented people, however cost is often an obstacle, and even if cost wasn’t an issue… I’ve never found exactly what I want.

So I sat down to create my own writing paper, but more often than not found myself uninspired or just really unhappy with what I came up with on the spot. I thought, I could really use a  jump start. A theme, something to elaborate on.

As a solution to this problem I decided to start designing the sort of paper that I wanted to write on. The sort of paper that has the seeds of inspiration pre-sewn, so that I can let my imagination run wild with the potential of what might grow there. Read more…

Who Knew Orchids Grew In Scotland?

It has been another year of not planting too much in my garden. Small children just don’t make getting out there very easy, despite my best intentions.

Anyhoo… That does not mean that my garden isn’t full of life, as I’ve planted a few things, and I have let the wildflowers take root as well because I love to see what pops up!

So, last month I noticed something very unusual and spotted growing in my Dahlia pot. It had weirdly thick leaves, unlike any wild flowers I’d ever seen, so I thought that I must have planted something else in there and then promptly forgot about it. (Would not be the first time)

I allowed this mystery plant to develop and grow along side my dahlias to see what sort of flowers it would produce, so that I could finally identify it, and then one day it shot up this weird fluffy-tipped stem that resembled slightly a stalk of wheat and wasn’t at all what I was expecting, so I turned to google and keyword searched “spotty leaf wild flower Scotland” … I know… It was a HIGHLY sophisticated search, but it worked and took me directly to photos of orchids. Orchids indigenous to Scotland!

It turns out I have a common spotted orchid! Who knew, right? It’s blooming now and I’ve taken some photos. (scroll down)  Read more…

Bedtime Thoughts

So last night I was tucking my oldest daughter into bed after I read her stories.

We have a silly little routine where after she gets into bed I make her into a “sausage” and that basically means wrapping her really tight in two fuzzy, pink, cupcake covered baby blankets (feet in), and then her duvet goes on top. (sausage roll hee hee) Afterwards she gets cuddles and kisses…. and I was telling her how proud we are of her every day (I know, this is crazy sappy). Then she told me how much she loves me and her daddy and her little sister and that we are her family. She was so sweet and sincere and happy.

We do most of this just about every night, however last night what she said got me thinking about my own childhood, and how it differs from hers so dramatically.

When I was her age my father was absent from my life and raising another family.

When I was her age I remember standing in my mother’s bedroom as she told me that she had two boyfriends… but she had to choose one of them and if she decided to go with the one who didn’t want children then she would have to get rid of me. She told me this like there was a real possibility that I would no longer be welcome in my own home. This conversation was so disturbing, the memory is burned into my brain to the extent that I can practically smell the room where it happened. I was so scared about where I would go, because as far as I knew, no one else would want me.

And MY little sister (same age gap as between my daughters) was given away for adoption from birth (within our family, complicated). Her parentage was never kept a secret from either of us.

So at 5 years old, I understood far too much about life. I understood that I had to play the role of observer as other people, who wanted no part of me enjoyed what I perceived should have been my family. I missed my father and my sister every day, and at night, I went to sleep in uncertainty.

These bizarrely vivid memories caught in my throat as I tucked in my sweet, barely 5 year old girl, who was going to her bed feeling safe and loved in every way. They made me reflect on how far I’ve come, and all of the positive things in my life that I’ve worked for as well as all the positive things that have found me through the years. And I saw in her gorgeous little squishy face as she looked up at me, that even though I don’t feel like it sometimes (often), I’m damn well doing something right.

Pocket Letters

I am absolutely dumbfounded that nearly a whole month has passed since my last entry.

A lot has happened in that time, including the very unfortunate event of the Pocket Letter Pals website going from being free and wonderful, to paid and substantially less wonderful.

Pocket letters, for anyone who is unfamiliar, are basically a coordinated/themed set of 9 ATC’s (Art Trading Cards) held within a 3×3 trading card page. The backs of the pockets often contain “goodies” which are various bits of crafty things for the person that you’ve made the pocket letter for to enjoy.

The “Letter” part of pocket letters comes from the practice of including an actual, hand written letter inside one of the pockets. So a pocket letter really combines 3 things… ATC trading, craft supply trading and penpalling. Then then everything is stuffed into an appropriately sized envelope, and posted out to the intended recipient.

3 birds…. 1 strange and wonderful pocketed stone. Read more…

Dorset Buttons

My craft obsession last week was Dorset buttons.

I first noticed them when the Edinburgh Yarn Festival’s Facebook page posted a photo of some gorgeous buttons back in February. Then I went looking for them at the actual festival, however they must have been sold out because I could not find them at the maker’s stall.

That photo had really made an impression on me though, and since I couldn’t see them in person, I did what I always do… I turned to Google to learn more about them!

In my research I noticed how similar they are to the Gods Eye crafts that I did as a child (miniature ones of course) and in this realization I knew that Dorset buttons were a lot more easy to make than looking at the finished product might have me believe.  Read more…

2 Years Of Crochet

As you may have noticed from the diversity of crafting entries in this blog, it is a fairly rare craft that holds my attention long term. I am very curious and love to try different things, usually to better understand techniques rather than necessarily making things to serve a specific function or to sell. typically once I get the hang of a new skill, I’ll move onto something else, satisfied that I can always come back to it.

That’s just generally been my normal, as long as I can remember.

I have many skills.

Am I a master of many skills? Not so much, however I am fairly competent in many different crafts!

Well, at the time I’m publishing this I have officially been doing crochet for two years, and I can honestly say that I pick up my hook at least once a day, every day. This appears to be my new normal… I still do many other things, but I really love my crochet.  It has become something of an addiction for me, which I find extremely relaxing and therapeutic. Read more…

Cute Wee Octopus Crochet Pattern

Recently I attended my first ever yarn festival in Edinburgh. While there my mother-in-law kindly treated me to a ball of the most insanely colorful string I’ve ever possessed, and I’ve been using it to make small amigurumi animals.

This little octopus is something that I made on a whim, without a pattern. After he was done, he was so cute that I thought I’d write out what I did and publish my first ever, super simple crochet pattern.  Read more…

Happy Mail

Happy mail is basically anything that isn’t junk mail or bills. It can be a simple card or a parcel. Something that makes you smile, a thoughtful surprise or anything that you look forward to receiving by post really.

I admit “Happy Mail” sounds corny as Hell… but after being annoyed with the term for some time, I decided that actually it’s an accurate description.

So last year, after the birth of our second daughter I was having a really hard time emotionally. I’ll spare you the details, but I was in pretty rough shape and ultimately I decided that I needed to do more to help myself for my own sake, and the sake of my family before I got into a state that required outside intervention because I just couldn’t function normally anymore.
Read more…

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