Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Butterfly Easel Cards

These days I am so bogged down with wildlife that there is little time for crafting.  Little, but never no time, I need that stress buster.

I decided to make some more butterfly cards, and I used the Viva Decor Metallic paste medium for some of the embellishments.  I am in love with that paste, but apparently Michaels customers didn't catch on because they are clearing out that medium.  Big mistake, but what can I say...

For this card I used multiple techniques.  The ironworks image in the center is an emboss resist technique where I used a white embossing ink to stamp the image, added clear embossing powder and embossed the image, then added the distress inks until I liked the way it looked.  Wiped off the embossed image to bring back the white and then worked on the embellishments.  I applied the Viva Decor metallic paste on 110lb card stock, let it dry, buffed it, and then cut out the Cheery Lynn fairie butterfly and corner decorations which also needed embossing and which I believe are from Marianne.  The flowers are a punch and hand shaped.  I added the background to the butterfly, colored those with Sakura glitter pens, and also added glitter to some areas.  The flowers have color coordinated rhinestones.  The bottom is embellished with Martha Stewart's punch all over the page daisies, the sentiment is propped up and holds the back in place.  

This easel card was done a bit differently.  I decided to play around with extreme glitter acryilic paints.  I had to apply several coats to 110lb card stock and let the coats dry but also helped them along with a heat gun to speed up the process.  I then used the small Cheery Lynn Lace butterfly and another small one and cut them out.  Took several passes and some shims since the paint makes for tougher cutting.  The background is the same principle for emboss resist, but I layered the image.  It is decorated with color coordinating rhinestones.  The flowers are hand made and have centers of the same color rhinestones.  The embellishment is raised and holds up the back.  

Don't be afraid to try out new methods or mediums!  The results can be quite stunning.  

And now back to feeding my babies!  

I hope you liked my creations which are also available for purchase on my Etsy store.

As always, I welcome your comments!

Happy crafting!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

My fundraiser for my Wildlife Rehabilitation work - will anyone help?

Hi everybody!

I have designed a T-shirt on which is a fundraiser for my wildlife rehabilitation cause.  Please take a moment and take a look and PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!!  The fundraiser is up for a limited time only as per the website's policy and I hope to sell at least 100 shirts at this price.

Front of shirt

back of shirt
Sigi's Wild Tails Wildlife Rehabilitation Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - back

I really, really hope to read your feedback:  what do you think of my design?  I priced it very low for a multi color print in hopes to make it attainable for everybody.

Thank you for any and all help you can provide!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Three hungry baby red squirrels

My wildlife rehabilitation season is in full swing and then some.  I am currently up to 28 wildlife total, 20 baby squirrels  (grays, reds, and flyers), one incessantly begging starling nestling, and 7 adults.  Not much time for anything else right now, babies come first!

This video shows three little hungry red squirrels.  The two larger ones are siblings, the little neon feet girl arrived two nights ago. Her little feet literally flash as she runs and climbs about!   She was accepted without any quibbling and is holding her own just fine.

I have another short clip with one of the older reds playing around on a maple twig on my YouTube channel.  Enjoy!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Marianne Craftables release

Sadly, for the time being, this will be my final release for Dutchpapercrafts.  There is one other I had created before this release, but this one is special.

Doing this release took me a while because I wanted to go out with a Bang, wanted to do something different, yet had to showcase the dies of course as well.  I hope that I've done that, I hope that I have inspired my followers and viewers to some extent.  Crafting and creating new designs is, at least for me, a bit of a mini vacation from the Here and Now, a wonderful and non-toxic (altbeit a bit addictive, sigh!) stress relief and hobby, and I will not stop creating.  Who knows what the future brings, I might be a guest designer somewhere, or Darlene asks us to create something now and then, so you might want to stick around.  I will of course, continue to publish wildlife rehabilitation stories wich started this blog in the first place.

Since I had been creating carousel cards before, Darlene thought I might have fun with the Marianne carousel die CR 1236.  I sure did, the die cuts and embosses beautifully and offers three sizes plus three different hinges.  So without further ado, lets get going here.

Time Flies
 Here I worked with the Marianne Craftables die CR1234, clock.  This die offers two clocks, a large one with Roman numerals, and a smaller one with Arabic numerals.  This is the large clock.  I created a basic twist-up card and drew and cut the wings by hand before I embossed them.

The sentiment is framed with a Sizzix sizzlet frame, and the flowers are made with the Cutie fringe # B256.

Carousel fold-up card:  Grandma's knitting
Here I used the medium carousel die CR1236.  With a strip of clear acetate I offset grandma's rocking chair (Die Versions Whispers DVW-221) a bit away from the wall.  On the left wall you see the smaller clock of CR1234.  The knitting is lying on the floor because grandma dozed off, CR1235.

Garden planter 
I like to play around with dies, and I guess my followers know that by now.  When I examined the smallest die in the carousel set my first thought was to build a baby crib. But then I changed my mind and decided to make a planter for flowers instead.

 I used my own handmade flowers for this project and a punch from Punch Bunch as well as some leaves from a Cheery Lynn border die.  The dark brown paneling is embossed with a Cuttlebug Dots folder.  I distressed the edges of the carousel die to give it a more wooden look.

4th July Fireworks
This piece shows of the large die of CR136 beautifully.  But I had all these Cutie fringes to work with and finally had an epiphany.  The result is this piece.

I pieced the strips for the flag together on white card stock, then added the blue field with the stars.  I then traced the inside of the large die and hand cut the flag pieces to fit nicely into the die cuts.  The fireworks were created with Cutie Fringe B255, B257, and B258.  Several I cut out with white card stock and then added color with Copic markers to mimic the bursts of color when fireworks explode in the night sky.

While I have no idea when this release will published, with this card I wish you all a happy Fourth of July!

Teddy's Bedroom
Okay, this one is a bit over the top, but I hope you'll stick with me.  The dies used here are the large CR1236 for the flooring fringe and the crochet hook from CR1236 Knitting.  The top fringe is a Cheery Lynn Edger, Lady Kate, B278, very pretty.  The picture on the wall is a Martha Stewart punch.  The window is yet another Cheery Lynn die, FRM142, window B.  The walls are cut with Spellbinders Grand Labels One LF161.
The rest is, well, imagination...

The teddy is the tiniest bear I have ever crocheted.  He fits in the palm of your hand.  The bed spread, pillow, and chair cushion are all crocheted and knitted by yours truly.  I then had to crochet yet another little piece in pink to stick the crochet hook from the Marianne set in.

The bed and chair were made from scratch since I do not know of any dimensional dies that will make something like that.  I used parts of the medium carousel for the Head and foot board.

The card has the feel of a doll house room, and I had a lot of fun creating it.  I didn't glue the teddy, bed spread, pillow, and pink crochet down, so hopefully Darlene has put everything back in place before shooting the video.  The teddy can sit on his chair or even on the floor or stand, he is fully jointed.  I have not used any wire, I never do in any of my teddies.  Check out my Etsy store, the only difference is that the larger teddies come with one-of-a-kind outfits that are of course removable.
Closeup of the bed spread and pillow
Here Teddy enjoys his chair

Closeup of the dollhouse scene with the pink crochet and crochet hook.

Well, that is it for now, at least for releases through Dutchpapercrafts.  I had a ball working with Darlene and our fantastic team of design divas.  We learned from each other and hope that you learned from us, and maybe even a little from me?

Dies are tools that can take on a whole different life, depending on how you look at them.  I hope that I have inspired you to think outside the box, to use a die for more than just its obvious use, but mostly, to have fun with your collection.  As I continue to grow with this hobby I find myself buying dies I would not have chosen two years ago but now consider essential pieces to add to my collection.

One last thing I want to say, and nobody has asked me to say that:  you get the best prices at Dutchpapercrafts, as well as the lowest shipping costs.  I, too, shop around, because I can't afford to blow money, not with the wildlife rehabilitation work that I do year round and the many animals I need to feed every single day.  I don't just shop at Dutchpapercrafts out of loyalty, I shop there because shipping happens quickly and the everyday prices simply can't be beat.

I look forward to your feedback.  Thank you for reading my little blog which is an ever changing animal just like the wildlife that change my life every day.  Fangs and claws, paper and glue, the story continues...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Little flying squirrel baby and baby grays

Whoa, my rehab season started with a BANG!  Easter Sunday the first seven arrived, and now I am up to 14 babies, 13 gray squirrels and 1 tiny flying squirrel.

It has been a busy week with lots of new situations, but I have not lost a single baby of the newcomers.  I did, however, lose every single one of the initial neonates, and it turns out they succumbed to Giardia, a highly contagious parasite that responds to only a certain medication which I did not have in my arsenal nor knew that they were dying from this parasite.  Lesson learned, it was an exhausting battle that lasted 10 days. But now I know, and I will never lose another baby to this disease.

One of the babies arrived severely dehydrated, wet, and cold, and it had the dreaded "white eye syndrome" where the cornea of the eye, which is brown in healthy squirrels, has a whitish to bluish sheen.  Usually these babies die shortly upon arrival, but I had just gotten a small incubator from a friend as a surprise gift and decided to take on the battle.  We won, the baby did recover, the eyes actually returned to their usual brown color, and hopefully her vision will not be impaired.  It is too soon to tell, she can see, but I don't know how well just yet.

Here are pictures of the tiny flying squirrel boy.  I posed him on a knitted flying squirrel I designed, and he seemed to like to nuzzle his replacement mom.
Little flyer boy opened his eyes this morning, he is quite a little cutie.  I hope to get him company soon since flyers are highly social.  

Yesterday I had to go "squirrel fishing" here in town when the people could not get a little baby gray out from under their car.  Here is the little stinker, he had been hiding inside a rear tire.  

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my world!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Knitted Opossum FAMILY this time!

The feedback on Facebook was so overwhelming that I had to work on another opossum.  Of course I never write my designs down, meaning not one will ever look exactly the same.  I like it that way.

I decided to give this opossum slightly more adult facial features.  And once she was finished I couldn't resist but try my hand on a baby.  Trust me, while that might sound easy, it was not by any means.  I had to resort to very fine needles because thicker ones would have made for an ugly face and feet.  Just the legs and feet alone took about 90 minutes per foot = 360 minutes for just the four little legs and tootsies per baby.  I was pretty tired of pink toes afterwards, but I had to give her at least two babies.  

Some people do a double-take thinking this is a real live opossum family.  Of course I worked with pictures I had taken of opossums that have been in my care, so I knew exactly what I wanted to recreate.

So here she is, my possie mom.  She stands 7 1/2" high and measures 17" long nose tip to tail tip.  No wires of any kind, it is 100% yarn and poly fill.   All total it took well over 70 hours to create this family which is a true one-of-a-kind.  You can scour the internet high and low, there is nothing else out there even remotely like my design.  I am very proud of this.  The weird thing is, whenever I am finished with something that came out extremely well I then look at it later on and wonder how on earth I made that...

So, what do you think of this threesome?  It will be for sale in my Etsy store, just click on the squirrel with the red cast.  This is a true high end collector's item. And the fun will be over when I can no longer get this particular yarn.  

Marianne Craftables Release

Hello fellow crafters!

It's been a while since any of my creations have been published, but the wait is over and I can show you what I came up with when I was presented with the Marianne Craftables dies CR1228, CR1229, and CR1230

 The first die is called Scandinavian Hearts, and it consists of two dies, a flat heart and a dimensional heart which interweaves to create a tiny little heart basket.  I STRONGLY urge you to keep the instructions on how to make the little basket since I guarantee that you will forget how to do it and get frustrated.  If done correctly, it is actually fairly easy and creates this lovely little heart pocket that you can fill with whatever you desire.
This is a folding triangular card, and I hand inked with a pen around the cutouts in the back.  The heart stems are hand cut and hold the little hearts that get cut out when you run the die through the machine.  The mechanism to make the image stand is my own design.

Here I used the same die, yet it looks quite different, doesn't it?  This time I adhered the images onto a Spellbinders heart die cut which I hand colored around the embossing to match the hearts.  I then filled the little heart basket with my handmade flowers and added a pretty ribbon so the greeting can be hung up if so desired.  On the back of the card I added "Happy Mother's Day".  However, this could be a birthday card, a graduation card, a Welcome Baby card (add baby toys instead of flowers) -- in short, anything you want.  This isn't a die you see coming and going, I love that.

 Here is "Eline's X-mas Star, but it is also called Ice Crystal.  Weeeell, we've been through quite a long and depressing winter and I just could not get myself to make a Christmas card right now.  To me, this die also looked a bit nautical, and so I laid it on top of a stylized ship's steering wheel.  I made the flower in the center which is quite sturdy to hold up to packing, and I used distress ink to give the spokes a little color.  The corners are again pieces of the star.

Hmm, the first card I made with this star certainly wasn't anything wintry or Christmas'y.  So I decided to add one more card, a winter card with the star cut out from silvery specialty card stock. The center and outer snowflakes are Martha Stewart punches.

And here is my final card.  The die is called Eline's Wooden Tree, but my husband said "looks like one of those road signs you see all over out west."  I ran with this idea.  Didn't want to overcrowd the post, so I settled for East and West Coast.  To represent the differences I decided to use Maple leaves for Boston and a cactus for the desert areas around San Francisco.  There is no such thing as a cactus die as far as I know, nor do you need one.  I hopped online to see which cactus I wanted to recreate and decided on this one.  A tutorial on how to make a cactus will follow.

As for this release, I hope you had as much fun watching, reading, and looking at the pictures as I had working it.  And as always, I invite and welcome any and all feedback!

Happy Crafting, and for all you non-crafters, Happy Spring!

Cactus Tutorial

Materials needed:
Green card stock
Shaping tool (rounded end of a bone folder will do in a pinch)
Chipboard or cardboard from cereal boxes or packing material
White ink permanent marker with fine tip.  (Michaels, Staples)

1.  Cut out strips of card stock app. 1" in width and about 3-4" long.  Round the edges free hand.  Using the shaping tool, work the wrong side of the strips until the paper looks hollow.  You want a shape that drapes over the chipboard backing, so work the paper until you get the desired shape.
2.  Cut out strips of chip board or whatever card board you have about 1/8" less in width and round ends the same as the green card stock.  All total you need about 3 strips of thin chipboard for each piece, each strip a hair more narrow than the previous one.  Glue strips together.
Look at the image and make a total of three short pieces and one long one.
4.  Again, look at the image and cut out shapes similar to the ones I have on the top sides of the cactus.  Build up the same way as the other pieces except for the little "handle" pointing to the body of the cactus.  Make sure that the green card stock is smoothed nicely over the edges to give the pieces a rounded and dimensional appearances.  Take your time doing so.
5.  With white pen, paint a cross-stitch design in lines up and down the body and other pieces of the cactus.
6.  Glue finished pieces onto body of cactus, slightly offsetting each piece to keep the cactus from looking too symmetrical.  The two top pieces are glued so the little handles tuck under the main body a bit.

Voila, a cactus!  Now, whatever you do with it is up to you!...

Friday, April 11, 2014

My knitted Opossum...

When I searched in the craft stores for more chenille yarn I stumbled across a tiny ball of a thin specialty yarn with strands hanging loose instead.  It was a mottled gray.  The instant I saw it I thought "opossum!" and grabbed it.  Then I sat and thought about how to create an opossum, and once I had formed the idea in my mind I went to work.
This guy took over 5 days and nights to create, about 30 hours in total.  I wasn't sleeping much anyway, I was fighting a terrible battle with diarrhea in my tiny baby squirrels and didn't dare go to bed for fear of not waking up and giving them fluids and food on time.  So I kept my hands busy.  

Here is my opossum, and it looks so real that my husband took a step back when he saw it sitting on the table.  

When I posted these pictures on Facebook the response was overwhelming.  I must have fielded over 300 comments by now with well over 600 "likes", and the pictures are still being shared.  Of course my friends on FB are all animal lovers and/or wildlife rehabilitators, and several have asked me if they can buy one.  Sigh, when will I get back to paper crafting?  My hourly wage would probably be in the whopping 20 cent range, so I am not sure if I want to commit to this.  Creating has to remain fun for me.  

This opossum is not small.  It measures 11 inches from nose tip to butt and 16 inches nose tip to tail tip.  That is the size of a juvenile real life opossum.  

A friend decided that it can't be that nobody else makes opossums and started an in-depth internet search.  He came up with one 7" tall felted opossum sold on for $75 that is wired and wears a dress and a rather rudimentary knit pattern that sells for $4.95.  I knew that up front even without looking, I simply do not have any competition when it comes to my designs.  

While this is not paper craft, I hope you like my possie and look forward to your feedback.  


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rescue of squirrel stuck in dumpster

This actually happened on 21 September 2012.  The Worcester, MA Animal Rescue League called me and asked if I wanted to see if I could help.  All they told me that a squirrel was stuck in a dumpster's drain pipe, no additional information was given whatsoever.  And no, they weren't going to do anything about it, it was up to me.

I called my tree cutter friend Troy.  He had told me before that if I ever needed help to call him and he would drop everything.  He did.  This rescue cost Troy a job and a lot of money...

Not knowing what we'd be faced with, I grabbed my husband's Saws'all and Troy came with several extension cords, another power saw, and a gas can.  Aside heavy gloves, a carrier, blankets, and towels I had also grabbed a bottle of baby oil in case we needed to grease the squirrel.

Halfway to Worcester, which is about 35 miles south of me, I tried to program the address into my GPS and learned that the address did not exist.  I dialed the Worcester Animal Rescue League but ran into their voice recording.  They had left for the day already.  Now getting really upset, I called Worcester police and explained the reason for my call:  faulty address, squirrel stuck in dumpster.  Dispatch knew about the squirrel and thankfully had the correct address for me.  Then she added that the dumpster was located in "a really bad neighborhood" and did I think this was such a good idea?  I said I have my friend with me, but would they maybe send an officer out as well?  No, they couldn't, and no, they had no intention of trying to help us with the rescue mission.  And she added that the Fire Department also would not come out, they do not go on animal rescue missions.

Troy and I looked at each other, and then we decided that people who care enough about a little animal to call that in can't be all bad.  Besides, it didn't really matter, we had to help the squirrel, and that was that.

The "really bad neighborhood" turned out to be a Puerto Rican community.  The people started to come out, curious, and quickly the overtone changed to empathy for the trapped animal.  We soon were surrounded by a group of very caring, very nice people, and never once did I feel any uneasiness.  I would trade them in for my neighbors in a heartbeat!

I was glad that Troy was with me because I would not have been able to kneel on the concrete patch, my repeat knee replacement still did not let me kneel on the incision which had not yet completely healed.

The tongue depressor actually came from one of the residents.  If I ever get another call like that one I will know exactly what to pack!


Note:  Due  to 10 seconds of third party content YouTube restricts the video to be viewed on desktops and laptops only.
This was definitely NOT "just another day" in the life of a wildlife rehabilitator.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Knitted Flying squirrel

I had been tossing the idea around in my head for some time but wasn't sure how to tackle that.  Flying squirrels are velvety soft, dainty little rodents with one of the cutest faces in the animal world, and I was afraid that no matter what yarn I'd try it would not do the animal justice.  But then I finally simply started working on the body, and slowly the solutions formed in my head and then merely needed to be executed with the needles.

This is how I design everything, I see it in my mind first and then create it.

Well, here are a few pictures of the finished little squirrel depicted in full glide.  The head and face were the hardest part since getting that not quite right can ruin all the work until then.

Unfortunately, since I have discovered that my designs have also been copied onto some websites without credit given and one shadow box's image was actually sold on another website, I am forced to now watermark everything I post.  I hope you understand.

But now I want to give the needles a break and pick up some papercrafting once again.  It is time for new designs!

 I always hope for and welcome any and all feedback!

Happy spring, everybody, regardless how wet or cold -- it is officially spring!  If my snow bells can be eternal optimists and believe that warmer weather is on the way, then so can we, right?


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Season has started

I thought the cold weather would keep babies safe a little longer, but I was wrong.  On 24 March an apple tree had to come down, and it housed a nest with three neonate baby gray squirrels.  The babies spilled out on the frozen ground as the tree fell and were lying there exposed to frigid temperatures.  The man didn't know what to do and left them on the ground as he went to call our police dispatch who in turn called Animal Control who then told him that she "doesn't touch wildlife" but may know someone who can help.  At least she called me right away and when I realized that the babies were still lying on the frozen ground I hung up on her and called the man.  He immediately followed my directions and whisked the babies off the ground and placed them in what was left of the nest for warmth.  Then he drove them over.

Normally I would try to reunite babies with their mother, but the freezing temperatures prevented that.  There was no way the babies could last for an hour or longer for mom to return and start transporting them.  And even a transport would have been risky and could have resulted in frostbite.  Neonates are unable to self regulate their body temperature and need a warm water bottle or heating pad on low underneath their bed to keep them from becoming hypothermic.  Once they are 7-8 weeks old they start to self-regulate, but not until then, regardless of how thick or thin their fur may be.  Hypothermia is a huge problem for us because until the babies are warmed up we cannot do a thing to help them.  Often finders try to feed an ice cold baby and then are surprised when it dies.  Never feed a cold baby, not even fluids, try hard to find a wildlife rehabilitator and only keep the baby warm.  A starving, cold baby cannot handle food, it needs the skilled help of a wildlife rehabilitator to bring it back from the brink of death.  Keep it warm and dark and quiet, and never allow children to handle a baby squirrel.  It runs on adrenaline, not food calories, and children can literally play a debilitated orphan to death.  I have had seemingly fine babies crash and burn once they came off the deadly adrenaline rush.  They need as much sleep as a human baby but hunger has kept them awake far too long already.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring flower cardmaking challenge entry

Well, since that thief already posted two of my designs on the current spring flower cardmaking challenge on, I decided I should enter a few legitimate ones as well.  I expect the others to be taken down, of course.

Here are the cards I have entered.

But then I decided that I should add the cards that were stolen as well, so I did.

I think I made my point. It will be hard to dispute the rightful owner of these cards...   Of course it would be lovely to get an honorary mention, but this Melissa1986 may have ruined that for me.  

Happy Spring, everybody!

And while you may hate the snow and the cold, it does have a bright side:  it keeps people from cutting down trees on their property, leaving squirrels and their nests full of tiny babies in peace--for the time being...  
Please, always check for nests before taking down a tree!  If there is one, I beg you to be kind and not break a squirrel mother's heart.  Squirrels are devoted mothers and will fight for their babies if need be.  

How would you feel if someone destroyed your house and stole your children?  Animals have feelings just as strong as we do!

A thief came to my blog and stole...

I just learned that two of my designs, both original cards created with handmade flowers, were stolen by a person under the pseudonym Melissa 1986 and added to a challenge on as her own creations.

These are the designs this person stole:

What an outrageous thing to do!  It is one thing if somebody semi recreates a design as long as credit is given to the original designer, but to steal it and submit it to challenges in hopes to win is an entirely different crime.  
I hope this person is red flagged and possibly caught and punished for doing such a rotten thing.  

Thank you, "playingwithpaper", for writing to me about this rotten deed.  I really, truly appreciate it!  

I would like to hear from others if this has happened to them and/or what can be done about that.  I have subscribed to that site and added my comments about the thefts, hopefully the challenge moderators will do the responsible thing and act immediately.  

This Melissa 1986 looked at the post where these cards are displayed on 21 March 2014, the same day she entered them in the challenge.  My visitor counter says she is from  Toledo, Ohio.  Please watch for such a visitor on your own blogs!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Crafting, oh yes!

In case you're curious as to what I have been up to lately, this is just a glimpse.  My back went out just before Christmas and remained a problem, so I had to figure out what to do while more or less resting to let it heal.  Making baby booties was the answer, among other things.  

Then came the question what next, and here is a start.  Take a look at the video I posted.  More to come soon, lots of ideas are filling my head, if only my body would listen and let me do what I want again!

As always, I welcome any and all feedback.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week,


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A little bit Wildlife Rehabilitation once again...

I want to share a video I created with you all.  Hopefully you'll watch it even though it has nothing to do with crafting.  I am still doing that, too, of course, but this was important to make and I am really not good with video programs...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Overwintering Big Brown Bats

With the White Nose Syndrome killing off our cave hibernating bats at a hugely alarming rate, with a 90% mortality rate in infected caves and spreading across the continent like wildlfire, it is of utmost importance that we save every last bat we can.  And with the death of my good friend and mentor Fran, the director of our association which may now also coming to its end, a huge gap has been created since she always took in bats.  Many rehabbers do not.  I am one of the few who happens to adore bats, I always have.  So now I will have to crash-course learn all I can about bats, with one skilled bat rehabber nearly three hours away but willing to help me learn as much as she can long distance.

My current count of overwintering, semi-hibernating bats is three, and all are big brown bats.  Their colors vary, two are a more dark chocolate brown, while one is milk chocolate colored.  In the pictures I am holding the little milk chocolate bat, which at first wasn't thrilled and made a lot of buzzing sounds but quickly calmed down in my glove once it realized I was no threat.  Bats are highly intelligent and have a good memory, and they are quick learners.

Defensive bat.  Note how they push themselves up on their knuckles.  The tiny claws help them grab their prey in flight and aid with climbing.  

The fleece on the left is hung so the bats can cling to it when sleeping.  
 Slightly defensive bat.  Note that I am using gloves.  NEVER touch a bat without a glove or cloth, you doom the animal if you do to certain death since human health comes first.  The only way to test a bat for rabies, or any animal for that matter, is to cut its head off and examine the brain for characteristic telltale lesions.  Over 90% of examined bats proved to be healthy, but they had to be sacrificed to protect human life.  

My little bat, now calm in my gloved hand.  Had he not been awake I would not have disturbed him.  

Bats are incredibly beneficial little flying insect eating machines who can eat half their body weight in a single night. That means hundreds of mosquitoes less to transmit deadly diseases per night per bat!  When a bat buzzes close to your head it isn't out to get you, it is after the mosquitoes that are about to bite you.  Bats can navigate hundreds of fine criss-cross wires in a pitch black room without touching a single one, so this nonsense about bats getting entangled in people's hair is just that:  nonsense.

If a bat is trapped in your house for some reason, turn off the lights, open the windows, and help it find its way out.  If it falls on the ground, take a soft cloth, pick it up gently and place it into a tree.  And if you find a hibernating bat in your house and feel that it might get trapped come spring, find a wildlife rehabilitator who takes bats first or contact for guidance before you GENTLY and CAREFULLY pluck the torpid animal from its perch.  (If you're close to me, you call me, of course...  )  You don't want to damage any of the delicate toes.  Bats hang upside down when they sleep, and they make a buzzing sound when disturbed, similar to an angry bumble bee.  A bat that has been disturbed in hibernation will shiver to get its body temperature up to functioning levels, and that depletes much needed energy reserves meant to help the animal survive in deep sleep until spring.  That is why I let mine semi awaken, they have live, well fed mealworms and fresh water at their disposal. is a wonderful source for more information on these tiny flying mammals.  I hope you take the time and learn more about these amazing animals most of us know so little about.

Valentine, Valentino, Love Day...

After just writing a reply to Bibiana's comment on my last post, A Tribute to Popeye, it is time for something a bit more light-hearted.  February, while it still seems an eternity away, is right around the corner, and with it the sometimes dreaded pink and red colored Valentine's Day.

Well, I chose mainly purples and lavender and peach instead!  For good measure I made a few red and pink ones as well.  Flip cards are all the craze lately, and some new Sizzix dies have multi flips and cost a bundle.  I went back to the drawing board and made my flip cards with regular dies.  Not hard to do, but you have to be precise and be careful not to cut that center section.  There are lots of "how to" videos out on YouTube, but choose older ones, they don't use the new dies.  Making your own allows for the freedom of different size cards, whereas the dies confine you to "one size fits all".

I put them all on Etsy already, so it's about time I show them here as well.

Left is the closed card,                    right the open card.  Some are three paneled.

The fronts are decorated with specialty glitter card stock ornate hearts, and the glossy dimensional heart in the purple card I made myself.

Then I thought, who says Valentine's has to be red and pink? and made some green ones...

I glazed the frogs to make them look wet and slippery.  Aren't those "Frog Amore" cards the cutest?