Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Wishes

As 2013 draws to a close, I can't help but wonder what the next year may bring.  What wildlife will show up at my door?  Will finders be a bit more generous and help me out with enough donations to cover the costs, or will I once again have to dig deep and face yet another meager Christmas and money woes?  My back is killing me, and the chiropractor says I need twice weekly adjustments for the next six weeks, but I had to cancel the current appointments because I can't afford paying $90 a week for the next six weeks.  His rate is cheaper than my co-payment per insurance, which renders our insurance useless in this aspect.  I will have to tough it out until tax refund time, but it looks bleak there as well because bills are piling up and I have no funds left to cover them.

I mailed out over 70 handmade cards to people who had brought me animals in the past.  In 2012 I did not send out a "begging letter" because my hands were too compromised from Carpal tunnel inflammation which required surgery on both hands in January this year.  So I included a 2-year update on the more memorable animals I had received during the last two years.  -  I received four responses thus far, one was a mere "good to hear from you".  Right now I can raise 6 -7 squirrels with the donations I received.  I am so very grateful to the donors, but I am still thousands short to cover the onslaught of 2014.  Just once would I like to be able to use our tax refund for much needed home repairs or other things, not dump everything into raising wildlife because so many animals arrive with insufficient or no donations at all.

Are wildlife rehabilitators a dying breed?  Most people think we are crazy to work for nothing, to put so much time and money into helping wildlife.  Yes, I agree, a vacation would be nice, although I don't even know what that is.  We haven't had one in 14 years, the season starts anytime from March/early April and lasts into November.  Since I always end up with overwinterers I work 365 days a year.  My only days "off" have been when I had surgeries and had to stay in the hospital for a night or two, then my husband took over the feedings.  But I was back cleaning cages either on crutches or with bandaged hands and plastic bags over them to protect against fecal contamination the day I got back home.  Wildlife is different from domestic animals in that they do not accept a strange person and go crazy and potentially injure themselves in the cage if their flight or fight response is ignored.  So even with the worst back or neck pain, headaches, or colds I still have to take care of them.  That is just the way it is.  I wish we had a new generation that takes this work seriously, but young people want to make money and have weekends off and have fun and not clean poop out of cages instead.

I see all these new housing developments rip into woods and create deep gashes where once wildlife carved out a living.  Often city folks don't know anything about wildlife and are shocked and afraid if a displaced animal tries to re-occupy a part of their property because it has no place else to go.  They lash out without thinking, often killing a mother and leaving her young to die without realizing what they have done.  I wish people would be kinder and more understanding to the wildlife that surrounds us.  That doesn't mean feeding them, it means letting them live in peace and not destroying their habitat.  How much groomed lawn do you really need?  And all those weed killers, do you ever read the warning labels?  When cities spray for mosquitoes and tell people to close their windows, do any of you ever think what this poison does to exposed birds and beneficial insects and mammals that can't get away from it?

That old oak tree that drops thousands of acorns onto your driveway, please think THRICE before you decide to take it down.  That oak is probably well over 100 years old and took over 50 years to mature before it first produced acorns.    Acorns are a vital food for a myriad of wildlife, and the tree itself produces oxygen and shade.  Picture the emptiness without this tree and then decide against it.  Don't throw the acorns in the trash, put them alongside the edges of your property, where bushes and trees grow, so wildlife can get them and make it through another winter.

I hope that my blog will help you learn about the wildlife that surrounds us and shows you that, aside being vitally important to the ecology of the land, they all have their own personalities and experience grief and pain just the same.  The difference is that they have to fend for themselves, and if sick or injured, often directly due to human activity, they have nobody to take care of them.  The reason so many adults end up dying is that we usually don't get them until they are so sick that they can't run anymore.  Orphans are another matter, without human intervention they would definitely perish.  Raising them so they remain wild and succeed upon release is not an easy thing to do.  Many people have told me that they have raised a baby squirrel, and to this day you see videos and pictures on the internet where baby squirrels and dogs or cats snuggle and look soooooo cute.  A responsible wildlife rehabilitator would NEVER expose a wild animal to either of those two predators because keeping their instinctual fear intact is vital to their survival later on.

Wildlife is not destined to ever become anybody's pet.  It sickens me to see "pet" squirrels paraded across FB pages, often these are disabled and deeply depressed animals that can't get away from their captors.  I am weeding out such people from my friends list, I don't want to see such suffering which unfortunately is not illegal in some states.

PLEASE put away your cell phone while driving, especially during dusk and dawn.  Many animals emerge and attempt to cross roads right before or right after darkness falls, and if your eyes are not focused on the sides of the road where you can pick up the reflection in their eyes and react before it is too late you will either maim or kill an animal or get maimed and killed yourself.

Lastly, if you must drink, don't drive.  Or stick to healthy drinks such as milk.  You'll look a lot cuter with a milk beard and won't suffer from a hangover into 2014.  Take a look!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Carousel

This gorgeous project was featured on Splitcoaststampers' blog ( on 18 December and all I could say was "Wow!  I have to make one of those!"  I still had some other things to finish first but just HAD to give this one a try.

Well, here it is, slightly altered in that I had to do something to glue the Frostyville frame in place, and I had to really search through my collection of dies to come up with 14 decorated panels.

This is not a card you make in one day, maybe in two if you stay with it for 8 hours each day.  It took me about 15 hours to finish this carousel, so keep that in mind if you want to make this and have a deadline.

Here is the front of my closed carousel.  I had to make the spine larger and scored it lengthwise several times so it flexes better when the carousel unfolds.
I am actually quite pleased with how well the sections line up.  In order to tie the book shut I have to clip it between my knees to hold it in place as I tie the bow :)
 The open carousel, bow side.  It measures about 9" in diameter and stands 8" high.

Because the decorated panels are created with mirror silver card stock the camera has a hard time picking out the details.  You are looking through a clear acetate "window" and an inner oval window onto the actual panel.  Each section consists of five pieces:  The front panel with the Frostyville frame, a double red panel with two oval cutouts, a silver mirror double panel with decorations on each half, a large wall panel that slants up and supports the roof, and a roof panel that is folded accordion style.
 These two sections have actually four decorated panels, two for each section.  On the right I chose deer in the woods, on the left an angel and Christmas tree on the opposite panel.
Here you see a pine branch with pointsetta underneath in the left panel, next to it are two penguins in front of an igloo.  The right section features a park bench (not visible) looking at birch trees with cardinals sitting on the branches.
Left is a village section, the right section has candles burning.

Since the Frostyville background die cuts out exactly the same as the Frostyville die, I had no place to adhere the border.  To fix this I glued clear acetate into the panel which actually not only lets the border adhere nicely but also gives it stability.  Bibiana's carousel used the smaller background die which left plenty of card stock to glue the Frostyville frame onto.

The acetate added bulk, which is why I had to build a thicker spine.

I had fun recreating this beautiful project and thank Bibiana for her fantastic tutorial which you find in the above link.  Her measurements are accurate, and her directions are easy to follow.

I made this carousel for my husband for Christmas and he loves it so much that he'll take it with him to the office tomorrow and will display it on his desk for all to see.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Trifold Christmas Card

This is one special card I created specifically for my son.  Unfortunately it will probably arrive a little late.  This is my first trifold card and it is nowhere near as complicated as it looks.

All you need to do is cut a 6 x 12" piece of paper and score it on both short ends at 2 and 4".  Then, using a paper trimmer, cut lengthwise app. 1 1/2" from the rim between the 2" and 10" score mark.  Don't overshoot these points, otherwise the card will not fold neatly.

When top and bottom of the card have slits in them start folding the three sections so they fold opposite from each other.  When done, you should see a figure 8 when looking down onto the card.  Decorate the many individual panels, make an envelope for the card, done.  The card folds flat for mailing.

This is a fun card to make, let your imagination run wild!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Christmas creations

I have been a busy girl this season, and here are some of my Christmas items that I made.  The first one isn't my invention, I saw the concept on YouTube and went "Aaah!  How perfect for gift giving!" and added my own spin in terms of decorations and the look of the box.  A week and a few all nighters later I was finished with this mammoth project.  I had made a total of 29 gift cards...  

My husband surprised his co-workers in the office with the cards and some sweet stuff I had baked the night before, and they all loved the gifts.  Probably the most elaborate I have made to date, But they are so pretty to give and, of course, receive.  

The box inside is filled with nuggets, but you can use anything that fits into the box by height.  I chose to cover the opening with a gold mesh to prevent the chocolates from falling out.

Lots and lots of steps went into making these boxes, from cutting out the individual decorations to accurately measuring and cutting out the box top and bottom to cutting out the box cover and embossing the front cover of the card box.  I had fun, though, I don't ever make anything that I don't enjoy making.

Then I also decided to make some snowflake cards, and I chose a layered snowflake which I put together with dies and punches of different sizes and material.  Just look at all the different cards I made with the same layered snow flake!

 These two cards are the most elaborate in that I chose to inlay the background and glue ribbon around the outside as an added texture.  The inlay work is the most time consuming because the pieces fit only one way and have to be found to be sure it is the correct one.  I love doing this kind of work, but only for a while, then my eyes give out.

 These next two cards show the same snowflake in an entirely different design.  The circle background is a Cheery Lynn die, and I chose glittered white card stock as a layering medium.

The bottom one is a WOW (White On White) card, again with glitter paper as accent.  Very elegant, with stapled insert, as with all my cards.  The envelopes are also hand made and custom fit for just these cards.
You like?