Love Birds

These cute love bird cards are one more way to say, "I love you!" on Valentines day. Make one or a whole flock to share your sentiments.

Materials
  • 1 piece of white cardstock to print the template on
  • 1 - 8 1/2 x 11 piece of colored cardstock
  • scrap of patterned coordinating paper
  • scrap of yellow paper or carstock
  • glue
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • markers
  • googly eyes (optional)

Directions

Start by printing the Love Birds Template onto a piece of white cardstock.


Carefully cut out the card wing templates.










If you fold your colored cardstock in half lengthwise, you can easily make two lovebird cards.

Trace the body of the bird onto the colored cardstock making sure to place the area that was marked "fold" on the fold of the paper.









Carefully cut out your card.









Trace the wing template twice onto the coordinating paper.

Carefully cut out the wings.

Glue the wings onto the front of your love bird card.



 

Cut a triangle out of yellow paper for the beak.

Glue the beak onto your love bird.







Now, make the eyes. You can draw them on with a marker or add some fun googly eyes.

Don't forget the feathers on his crown. Use a marker to draw in some swirls or feathers. Be creative!


All that's left now is to write a special message on the inside of your card and send this little bird on his way to spread some love!

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Love Bugs

There is something extra special about receiving a handmade Valentine. These Valentine ladybugs are a cute way to let someone know how much you care. It's a fun and easy project that even the kids can help out with. You can make one or a whole class set of these adorable love bugs. It's okay to be creative with the colors. This is a great way to use up some of the bits of scrapbooking paper you may already have.

Materials
  • 1 piece of white cardstock to print the heart template
  • 1 piece of colored cardstock
  • 1 piece of coordinating patterned paper
  • 2 small brads - I used heart shaped ones, but plain brass ones work fine
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • black pen or marker
  • 1/8 inch hole punch
  • 2 small googly eyes and glue (optional)

Directions

Start by printing the Love Bug Template onto a piece of white cardstock.

Once you have printed your heart, carefully cut it out.


Using a pencil, trace the heart once onto the colored cardstock and once onto the coordinating paper






Carefully cut out the two hearts.

The solid heart will be your ladybug's body and the coordinating heart will be the wings.










Now, let's make the wings.

First, cut off the tip of the coordinating heart (about an inch) so that the ladybug's head will show.

Then, cut the remaining piece of the heart in half.







Next, you will punch the holes where the wings attach to the body.

Carefully position one wing on the body and make a hole about 1/4 of an inch in from the head and the center of the heart with your hole punch.

Do the same for the second wing.






Attach each wing with a small brad.




 





It's time to give your ladybug it's happy face. You can either use a pen or marker to draw on eyes and a smile, or glue on some googly eyes for a little more pizazz.








On the back of the ladybug write your recipient's name and don't forget to let them know who it's from.









Finally, spread apart your ladybug's wings to write a special message!

 
Your Valentine is sure to be impressed with your thoughtful creation!

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1 Picture = 1000 Words

So if a picture is equal to a thousand words, what do 273 pictures add up to? Maybe 1000 four-letter words.

I consider myself to be a crafts-person, even an artist, but one thing I am not is a photographer. I spent a good portion of the morning playing with my new glass etching tools. I was very satisfied with my results and hope to get a couple of my designs posted for sale on Etsy, soon. Of course to post an item, you really need to include a couple pictures.

Good lighting is key to a good picture. Natural lighting is better than fluorescent. Hold the camera steady. Say, "Cheese!"

Sadly, when you are taking a picture of a non-reflective design on a colored, opaque, rounded, reflective surface, things become more complicated.

Too much light makes too much of a reflection and you can't see the etching. Not enough light and there is no contrast between the glass and the design so you can't see the etching. A dark reflective surface blends in to a dark background. A dark reflective surface casts odd shadows on a light background. Shiny. Blurry. Dark. Ahhhh....

I tried pictures inside, outside, with low light, bright light, flash, no flash, light background, dark background, and every combination possible.

Finally, I got a couple decent shots. They hardly do the engraving justice, but at least you get the idea. This is the front and back of the same bottle.


Here's another.



I also engraved a clear bottle that has the saying, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us," from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I spent a lot less time photographing this one, but hopefully you get the idea.


If you are interested in a custom project with your own personalized engraved message or design, just e-mail me at thechillydog@gmail.com.

If any of you are willing to donate your empty wine bottles to the cause, I would greatly appreciate them. Then, every time you drink a glass of wine, you can be happy that your bottle will help save the planet by becoming a piece of upcycled art.

Cheers!

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Resolutions - Part 2

Sometimes great opportunities come when you least expect them. When I posted Resolutions - Part 1, I had a really simple project for a resolutions necklace that I planned to share in Part 2. It is made with some metal rings that have inspirational words engraved on them. The one I frequently wear says, "Passion, Strength, Integrity" which kind of goes along with the idea of being passionate and determined.

I purchased the metal rings years ago at Michael's and wanted to make sure they still carried them before I sent anyone on a wild goose chase. I scoured the beading section and couldn't find them anywhere. Hmm... Now what do I do for Part 2? I still liked the inspirational words idea, but there were no materials available to make what I was envisioning.

That's when my good fortune began. I stumbled across a mini-engraver and some metal blanks that I could engrave my own words on. I've never done any engraving before, but I am fairly competent at calligraphy and painting. How different could it be? So I bought the engraver and metal and headed home with a vision.

Since my project was not going as I originally planned, I decided to add a third piece to my resolution. I want to be passionate and determined, but sometimes when things don't happen the way you expect you need to be a little inventive so you can find a workable solution.

I started engraving on a piece of scrap metal. Kind of cool, but not great. Next, I tried engraving on the metal blanks. It was difficult and I wasn't pleased with the results. Then, I had an epiphany. The directions said the engraver could be used on things besides metal. What about engraving on glass? I'll have a beautiful champagne bottle in a few hours. Wouldn't that be a cool place to engrave my resolutions?






New Year's Day I slipped on my new shoes, grabbed my engraver and began my work. The result was even better than I could have expected. It will be displayed proudly in my home as a reminder of what I can be in 2012.

My next project... Maybe an engraving with the words, "Start running every day. Learn a new language. Buy fewer shoes." Then again, maybe not

Happy New Year!

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