Monday, April 29, 2013

Short video of orphaned baby squirrel

This little Skinny Minnie arrived today.  The fur is hiding her emaciation.  She was found walking into a welding shop last Friday and the owner had been feeding her puppy formula.  She is dehydrated still and starving, but she will pick up quickly once we're over the intake "hump" and she eats regular formula along with the others. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New Easel Card, Cottontail tiny babies, and more squirrels...

Here is the easel card I have been working on for a few days now.  Thing is, I constantly have to stop and feed hungry baby squirrels and as of today also cottontail bunnies, and a round of feeding now takes well over 1 1/2 hours.  Thankfully my husband has been helping out by cooking supper and feeding the pets.

I used one of Poppystamps' Grand Gothic Windows and built it up with a foam cut-out wedged between two die-cuts to give the window dimension.  The ivy is from Marianne and hides the stop that props up the easel.  The background die is a Spellbinders Grateful Lattice die, the small greenery climbing up on the window's right side is also a Marianne die, and the lilac blossoms
are handmade by Yours Truly.  Since this is such a dimensional and special card I opted for yet another box, matching the background die and lilac color in the loopy bloom (Die-namics).  

I love coming up with ways to make the easel and bottom part of a card flow together.  Yes, it is time consuming, but then again, nothing on any of my creations ever says "five minute craft".  I am putting this card up for sale in my Etsy Shop since there is still plenty of shopping time left for Mother's Day, and I know that the lucky recipient will love it.

Crafting is going much slower now that I have my hands and house full with wild babies.  The gray squirrel baby count has shot up to 11, and today three very young, at most 10 days old baby Cottontail bunnies joined the club.  A dog had found the nest and would not leave it alone, so the owner finally rescued the surviving babies.

Cottontail bunnies are the wildlife rehabilitator's nightmare because they truly have a death wish.  But in reality their intestines are extremely fragile, and a missed meal means that tender filaments that line their intestines start to shrivel up and die, which means the baby can no longer properly digest food.  This is why so often a baby seems to do well for a day or two and then suddenly dies.  Have that happen to an entire litter and you might be able to imagine how devastating that is especially for a new rehabilitator.  We discourage taking on baby bunnies until a rehabber has grown a bit of a tougher skin although it is never easy to lose a baby.

These babies were supposedly taken from the nest only today, and time will tell if that is true and they had been fed by mom until then.  They are very tiny, weighing only 42, 45, and 50 grams. Their eyes are still closed, but they all drank a full portion of formula, a huge first step in the right direction.  Sometimes a baby outright refuses to swallow and lets the formula just run out of its mouth, and such a baby is doomed.

A group of young women happened to be outside when four orphaned baby squirrels found the courage to leave their tree and seek help.  Skinny little munchkins, they picked up quickly and are thriving.  And another tiny one was found by a 13-year old girl who went online and did everything right by making her own rehydrating formula and giving it to the baby with a very small dropper.  She also kept the baby warm on a heating pad.  This girl saved that little baby and did better than most adults who often bring me half dead and often wet and cold babies lying on a handful of wet grass in a cardboard box.

So here are a few pics of my newest charges.

 Litter of three tiny Cottontail bunnies

One of the bunnies, the largest of the three.

Snoozing baby squirrels.  No matter how big their nest is, they like to sleep piled on top of one another.

I hope you enjoyed this post and pictures.  Keep your fingers crossed that the tiny bunnies will thrive!

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elegant Card, anybody?

My husband, on his way to bed last night, suddenly remembered that today, 4-24-13, is Administrative Professionals Day.  He wondered if I have a card handy or maybe can make one for the pro in his office? 

The only info I received about her is that she doesn't like cats.  I DO know that she is very good and resourceful, and, having run an office myself, I know how much goes into doing it well.  So this is the card she will receive and hopefully like. 

This is a straightforward easel card, held up by the third flower from the top left as well as the small sentiment.  I didn't want to go multi color and dug through my color choices until I settled on this soft lilac tone-on-tone color combination.  The bottom piece is punched out with the new Martha Stewart Daisies Punch all over the Page punch.  I love that design, it is so airy and pretty!  The flowers are of course my own. 

Usually I make envelopes to fit the cards, but this one needed a nicer presentation, so I made a matching box to finish the gift presentation.  Some of my design team members create elaborate gift boxes for their cards, check out their blogs to see their stunning creations, so in comparison mine is rather simple. 

See, Sigi can do elegant as well...  :)

Craft-room challenge- So sentimental
Creative Card Crew- Handmade Flowers
Die Cuttin Divas- Flowers

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Baby Season

I managed to take a few decent pictures of my baby gray squirrels and wanted to share some.  Many people have never seen a baby squirrel until they're old enough to leave the nest, but these little ones have several weeks to go for that.  The next few weeks they will grow from cute to super cute and then pushy to outright obnoxious.  When they're about 12 weeks old they are so pushy and jumpy that it's time for the outdoor cage where they can get it out of their system for another four weeks.  I release my youngsters when they're four months old.  Squirrel babies are like Velcro with razor-sharp claws and can really rake the skin.

This is one of my two older babies, brother and sister.  This is the girl, and she just opened her eyes a day ago.  You see how she wraps her "fingers" around my hand, holding on very tightly.  

Here is the brother of the twosome, and he opened his eyes three days ago.  That means the two are between 5-6 weeks old.  Quick learners, it took them all but two minutes to figure out how to suckle on the syringe's nipple.  It can take several feedings for babies to accept the different "feel".

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my baby season.


Mother's Day Cards with mixed media

Playing around with burlap and fabric is actually a lot of fun, and I decided to carry it over to a few Mother's Day cards.  These three are available for purchase in my Etsy Store, but I wanted to show them here as well.

Here is the first card.  I used frayed burlap on cardstock as a background.  The basket is hand woven from card stock, and the flowers are of course hand made.

I left the insides of these cards blank so they can also be used as birthday cards.

This second card features a solid burlap background adhered onto olive green cardstock.

And here is the third card.  Here I used fabric which I sewed onto matching green card stock.  The basket's color matches that of the card base.

The side views show how dimensional these cards are.

I hope you like my latest creations.  Things go a little slower now that I am feeding babies, and more will come anytime now.

Please remember that your purchase helps me help wildlife.  So far, I am already in the hole again with just one donation for five babies...  It costs me a minimum of $50 to raise one baby squirrel, but these little ones have already been more expensive in that I needed to buy Probiotics to help combat their diarrhea.  That adds $27 plus a bag of Lactated Ringers for $7 to the base cost.  These five will run me $250 to raise, donations received were $50.  A lousy start into a season with zero reserves to begin with...

Please help spread the word!


And as always, I invite and welcome your HONEST feedback!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kusudama Origami Flower Ball

Looking for something entirely different on YouTube today, suddenly a German video suggestion popped up entitled Kusudama Origami Flower Ball.  Oh goodie, a German video for a change!, and of course I clicked on it.  The lady in the video used oval shapes to create her flower pieces, but then I saw a Hispanic video where a girl made just flower heads she then painted with square pieces of paper.  So I decided to combine the two and see what I'd come up with.

Well, here is the flower ball.

And here is the tutorial on how to make it.  It is quite simple, but you must start out with perfectly square pieces of lightweight paper (20-24lb recommended. Printer paper usually is 20lb weight, to give you an idea.).  Medium weight card stock will be too hard to fold.  I hope you like folding paper, because you'll be doing a LOT of it!

As for glue, I used Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue which is cheap and readily available in different sizes at craft stores.  It grabs hold quickly so you don't sit there twirling your thumb...

How to make a Kusudama Origami Flower Ball
1.  Cut a true square piece of paper.  For the flower ball you will need to cut 60 pieces total. My ball was made with 3.5" square paper, but you can make it larger or even smaller if you wish.  .
2.  Fold point up to form a triangle.

3.  Fold outer points in to meet center

4.  Again, fold outer points in to center as shown.
5.  Open the folds and form a pocket, then, staying in the fold lines, fold down.  That is called an inverted fold.  See next picture to see what it looks like.

6.  This is what it looks like after you have reverse folded the pockets.

7. Fold tips of wings down as shown and make them flush.  

8. Again, fold outer edges in as shown.

9. This is what it looks like when you're done.

10. Curve the piece as shown.

11. Apply glue on inner edge as shown.

12. Glue the two edge pieces together and hold until set.

 13. Make the next pedal and glue into place as shown.
14. The other side of the joint pieces.  make three more pedals until you have one five pedal flower.   This is one section.

You need 12 sections for the flower ball.  Take a look at the picture:  They are glued together at the point lines and form a nice ball as you go. If you keep the tips nicely together you will have no trouble finishing a tidy ball.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mixed media: Babies, fabric, and card stock

Before I start, I want to say hello to my German visitors.
Hallo Deutschland!  Freut mich sehr, dass sie bei mir reingucken!

My baby rehab season has started, almost exactly on the same day as last year.  Not that I had a break, I overwintered several animals which meant daily feedings and cage cleanings.  Since last week Thursday I have been feeding again around the clock, three tiny gray squirrel babies,
and combating the almost inevitable diarrhea if they are the slightest bit sensitive to any formula change.  I almost lost the smallest boy, but two all-nighters and fluids every 30 minutes until he started to drink again did succeed in getting him through.  He's fine now.  They all are.

Cottontails continue to have their litters in the most impossible places, and nuthatches around our house loudly declare their territory and advertise for a female.  Our little koi pond is at last ice free.  Krokus and snow drops are in full bloom.

Well, all-nighters make for lots of time to craft, and when I was at JoAnn the other day to stock up on some card stock colors I walked around, just browsing.  Tiny fabric remnants gave me an idea, so I bought some burlap and a greenish fabric, then unearthed some fabric at home.

Take a look what I've come up with.

I made this card background with this olive green fabric for an eye catching background.   The image of the baby flying squirrel is from last year when I got this tiny thingie in.  He also had a boken wrist.

 Splinting that was a challenge, but I succeeded and he healed up just fine.  He is almost double the size in the picture, he weighed a whopping 8 grams when he first arrived.
The picture frame is frayed burlap.  The greeting is tied on with raffia.  I thought the material is perfect for a rustic nature card.

This second card was done a little differently in that I sewed around the edges before gluing the fabric onto the cardstock.

Hmm, I guess these cards could be labeled "mixed media"?  I like the textures.  Top is fabric with a card stock backing, the bottom is an EK Success border punch with a peachy-pink background.

What do you think of these cards?  I would really like your feedback, good AND bad!

Happy Friday, everybody!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yet another true Pop-up Carousel Card...

I am still at it, trying out different methods to utilize this card style.  Plus the new Martha Stewart circle edge punch lends itself rather nicely to this style as long as the circle is not made too small. 

This time I decided on a floral theme again, the four seasons.  Since no flowers bloom in winter I cheated a little and created Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer, and Late Fall in the four sections. 

 Here you see the card as it looks tied closed.  The only way to safely mail a card like this is in a small box, but picturing how thrilled the recipient will be should be worth that little extra trouble. 

This section, Spring, features cherry blossoms with budding leaves in the backgound.

Here is Early Summer, and I chose daisies since they start to bloom in mid June.

Here is Late Summer, featuring Black-eyed Susan and some Bluets.

And here is the final section, Late Fall, for which I chose mums.  I gave this section a frosty background since night frost is not uncommon during that time of year. 

I hope you enjoyed this newest Carousel card.  As always, I encourage your feedback!