Bear’s Paw Succulent and Hugs, Thinking of You, Paw-some Friend Cards

Hello all! I’ve found another old post in my ‘drafts’ folder and have finally gotten it polished off for you… These were some sweet gift sets I made up last year when I found some ADORABLE Bear’s Paw succulents and put them in some cute cactus shot glasses from Dollar Tree and paired them with some stuffed bears and a handmade card to make some sweet and encouraging gift sets for some beary pawsome friends. First up a set for a special couple needing encouragement:

Awww! That sweet Pink & Main bouquet on the front of the card is colored with some fabulous shimmery Shuttle Art Gel Pens and a hand-drawn edge.

The inside has some cute Pink & Main stamps to match the gift, too…

I’m just head-over-paws in love with those darling bear’s paw succulents (Cotyledon tomentosa)! Aren’t they just TOO cute?!!

Of course, this post was done in March last year (I TOLD you I was backlogged!). Today I stopped by mom and dad’s and saw how much they have grown in such a short time:

This set went to a single friend, so there’s just one bear inside…

 

Supplies used:

  • Pink & Main stamp sets: Fur Ever, Grandma’s Lace, Mini Faces Set 1, and Thinking of You Always
  • Shuttle Art Gel Pens

And, I had this darling interlocking ‘hugs’ card for another friend:

Supplies used:

  • Concord & 9th Hugs Card die
  • Concord & 9th Cuddles & Hugs stamp set
  • Essentials by Ellen All Inside stamp & die and Bear Hugs die
  • DCWV The Butterfly Garden stack cardstock
  • Hero Arts ombre ink pads: ombre dolphin ; pink to red;
  • Tsukineko Memento Rich Coocoa dye ink
  • Copic Markers C1 E 13, 33, 71; R20

I hope you enjoyed these Pawsitively darling little treats!

~D.Ann

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p.s. any ads on this page are placed by WordPress and are not endorsed by me.

pps: UPDATE: Dad finished his radiation treatments Friday. YAY!! Doc said it’ll probably take a couple of weeks for the side effects to resolve. She’ll see him in 5 weeks and then order tests – likely a PET scan – to be done at 8-10 weeks. Meanwhile he’s to exercise, eat well, exercise and stay healthy so his body can clear out all the irradiated cells. We’re looking forward t a good report!

Hope you’re all staying healthy and sane in these crazy times.😉

 

 

 

Nature Day Trips – Florida – Butterfly World

Since spring is just starting and most of you are going stir crazy from being stuck in place due to the coronavirus COVID-19, I thought I’d start pulling out some of my nature pics that have been in my drafts folder for a while so you can go on some germ-free, socially distanced virtual trips and, perhaps find some places you’d like to visit once they re-open and we can all travel again.

Perhaps you noticed a new tab on my home page: Gardens & Parks. I put it there to keep track of what and where I have posted, but it can be a good travel resource for any of you who are planning a trip. I will keep it updated as I post new places. Some day, I may split this little hobby off into a separate blog, but most of you don’t seem to mind my crazy hodgepodge mix of crafts and hobbies.

Do you like butterflies? Lepidoptera is the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. You’re a lepidopterist if you study or collect butterflies and moths. And if you’re one of the many folks who are afraid of them, you have lepidopterophobia and should probably skip down to the second half of this post! Fair warning, this post is quite lengthy and picture heavy, so grab your favorite cuppa, sit back and enjoy!

We recently had family visit and were pleased to get to take them to one of our favorite local attractions: Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, FL. It is the largest butterfly house in the world with 3 acres of butterfly and bird aviaries, botanical gardens and a working butterfly farm and research center. You can also see more pics in my two previous posts (as always, you can click on any colored text you find in my posts to be taken to see the page or website):

There are some 50 species and over 20,000 individual butterflies just waiting to enchant us with their beautiful colors and designs. Here are some of this trips highlights…

There are oodles of the Heliconius genus (aka Longwings), including many hybrids found only at Butterfly World:

Zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) – You’ll see her caterpillar later on:

Piano key (Heliconius melpomene) butterflies. There is always classical music playing softly in the background, adding to the relaxing atmosphere of the park, but I always smile when I see a piano key butterfly just when a piano solo comes on! Don’tcha just wanna ‘tickle the ivories’ on her back wings?!!

There seems to be an endless variety of patterns and colors!

Here’s a G-rated pic of a pair of piano key longwings mating:

White crescent swallowtail (Eurytides thymbraeus):

If you enlarge this picture of a mist encrusted swallowtail, you can tell that the red ‘stay on path’ sign is reflected in the droplets on her eye and antennae:

If you look closely at this paper kite aka tree nymph (Idea leuconoe), you might make out the blurry Florida state bird that happened to be sitting on her wing (a joke as mosquitoes are huge and thick over by the everglades)… I wonder how she’s gonna scratch that itch?!!:

Sometimes, no matter how good your camera, you just have to rely on someone else to take the picture!:

The blue morpho below is missing part of a wing, giving us a peek of her beauty. Don’t fret, butterflies have been observed going about their daily activity with up to 70% of their wing surfaces missing. I once read an encouraging article that used that fact to illustrate how, similarly, many people display a resolute spirit — not giving up despite suffering from severe physical or emotional problems. How? The article sited 2 Corinthians 4:16 and Philippians 4:13 if you want to look them up. I also found a beautiful 6 minute video that talks about this about 2 minutes in… you can see it by clicking HERE (Learn Endurance from Creation is the video’s name.)

Among the most dazzling butterflies are the blue morphos (Morpho peleides) with their metallic looking iridescent wings that span 5-8 inches. Their color comes, not from pigment, but from the structural patterns on the scales of her wings. If you want to see a fascinating 5 minute video explaining this, you can click HERE on to see the video I found that’s titled “The Wonders of Creation Reveal God’s Glory – Light and Color“… about 2 minutes in, it shows how the iridescent color is created.

Not all morphos are blue… these white morpho (Morpho polyphemus) seem particularly attracted to something on this cattleya orchid’s pot. This was clearly taken before coronavirus and social distancing became everyday words in our vocabularies!:

Another real stunner is the male Cairn’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) butterfly, with a wingspan of about 6 inches, in vibrant colors and a heavy fur coat:

I’m going to sneak in a picture of this leafwing that I took at home a while back. His camouflage is pretty amazing!

The yellow-edged giant owl butterflies (Caligo atreus – of the family Nymphalidae) have huge eye spots that remind people of owl eyes. But this was the first time I noticed how the tip of her wings also looks like a snake’s head.  Plenty of protective camouflage!  This is the largest butterfly species in the Americas, with a wingspan of up to 8″

You know my love fore water drop pictures…here you can see how some water droplets magnify the scales on this beautiful malachites’ wings (Siproeta stelenes), while others reflect the surrounding foliage:

To see a video from Butterfly World’s Instagram page with even more butterfly varieties, click HERE.

Let’s move on to the butterfly buffets aka flowers… here’s a view inside the tropical rain forest atrium:

I think the red flowers in the background above are Allamanda blanchetii. Queen’s wreath (Petrea volubilis), aka purple wreath, is our southern version of wisteria with its drooping lavender cluster of flowers (called a raceme). Since its leaves are stiff and feel like sandpaper, it is also called sandpaper vine. I love the flower within a flower look!

Love this tropical rhododendron… it’s like pure sunshine packed into a flower:

A bloom of the aptly named Chinese lantern tree (Abutilon pictum) aka flowering maple or red-veined Indian mallow from the Malvaceae family:

The lipstick tree (Bixa orellana) aka annatto is next. According to the sign, ‘The dye bixen obtained from the seeds is used all over the world as a red dye for coloring rice, cheeses, soft drinks, oil, butter, margarine and soups. It is also used as a dye for textiles and as a condiment. It is the original Amerindian war paint. It has also been used as a sunscreen and insect repellent. The red covering on Gouda and other cheeses is made from bixen. It also has many medicinal uses.’ When I was in the Amazon jungle in Colombia, back in the early 80s, the local indigenous tribes showed us how they used the seeds both as lipstick and to color their grass skirts. One plant can produce up to 600 pounds of seeds! Most of the seeds are gone from the open pods in this picture, but if you look close, you might see a couple that are left.

Jaboticaba (Plinia cauliflora), a native to Brazil, is part of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and its edible grape-like fruits grow right on the trunks of the tree. This fruit was one of my favorite treats when I lived in Paraguay!

The vine maze is packed with many varieties of passion flowers. I love how they look like dancing ladies!! And, of course a cool drink made from the passion fruit is quite refreshing!

The information sign says: ‘Passionflower plants, flowers and fruits are used for many purposes such as perfumes, pharmaceuticals and fruit juices. Butterfly world uses passionflowers to raise beautiful heliconius butterflies, which eat them as caterpillar food plants. Early Spanish and Portuguese missionaries believed each part of the passiflora represent a different aspect of the passion of Jesus Christ, hence the name passion vine… passionflower plants are used by the caterpillars of zebra longwing, julia and gulf fritillary butterflies.’

Passiflora ‘Royale’:

Passiflora ‘Inspiration” by Roland Fischer Passifloraceae:

Tiny Passiflora boenderi (named in honor of Ron Boender, the founder of Butterfly World) … the leaves have a row of egg-mimicking dots. See the Zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) caterpillar?

The tiny passion fruit of the Passiflora boenderi — as someone who saw this pic said, “it’s really thumb-thing!”

Mysore trumpet vine (Thunbergia mysorensis) aka Indian clock vine, dolls shoes or ladies’ slipper vine (not to be confused with ladies slipper orchids!) from the  Acanthaceae family. I love how it looks right before it opens (second bloom from the top on the right)!

A bumblebee happily foraging for food on a giant milkweed (Calotropis gigantea) (EVERYTHING’s bigger in the tropics!). Oh! There’s another really interesting two minute video you might want to see about how bumblebees manage to control their flight in the video I found HERE: Was It Designed? The Bumblebee’s Flight Control

There are two aviaries with plenty of colorful birds like this Lady Gouldian finch:

Even if you haven’t taken the time to watch any of the other videos I’ve linked in this post, you’ll want to make time for this less-than-two-minute impressive video I found on why bird colors never fade and how researchers are trying to mimic this for paints and fabrics that never fade. You can see it by clicking HERE: Was It Designed? Bird Colors That Never Fade

Budgies (Budgerigar) are among the smallest of the true parrot species. In case you didn’t know, all budgies are parakeets, but not all parakeets are budgies.

The pair in the video below happens to be courting (for you young whippersnappers reading this, that’s the old-fashioned way of saying ‘dating’). Click in the middle of the video below ( or HERE) to see the couple doing their love dance (Do the budgie hop! Hop! Hop! Hop!)

I hope you enjoyed your virtual vacation today! I have several more ‘trips’ stored in my drafts folder and a few more cards and crafts. As I find the time and energy, I’ll post them for you. Stay positive. Stay safe, socially distant, disinfected and healthy!

-D.Ann

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A Visit to Lion Country Safari

Jambo! (Welcome!)

Today the whim takes me to a different hobby… photography (and my love of critters). Since most of you are in the dead of winter right now, I thought you might enjoy a hot safari adventure to get your blood flowing… so let’s go on a trip through Lion Country Safari, just west of West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s a drive-thru 300 acre preserve with over 1000 animals, plus a walk-thru amusement park, too. (If you only have time for a quick laugh today, then scroll on down to the last few pics.)

It has changed a lot since we first went through in the early 70s. Back then the lions roamed freely with the cars and would lick the bugs off your headlights. It’s still a “cageless zoo” but you can only see the king of the jungle through the fence. They also used to let you hold the lion cubs to get you picture taken. One of my treasured pics! (It was up on the blog briefly during one of the Cat Lovers Hops a few years back.) It’s still an amazing place to be able to get as close as one currently can to some of these majestic creatures without having them in small, sad cages. So, grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and enjoy some pictures and facts about these amazing creatures!

The Greater Rheas (Rhea americana) in the first section were in an amorous mood. I love this one dancing on one leg!! (In the background are some Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), the only species of pelicans that dive into water to catch their prey. It’s fun to watch them over at the beach! Most of the ones here are rescues with wing injuries and can no longer fly.) Rheas are the fourth largest of all birds growing up to 4 ft tall and 50 lbs. Males build the nest, incubate the eggs and raise the young! They are flightless, but can run up to 30 mph. Here’s a short video clip of some of their ‘moves’ (just click on the white arrow in the middle of the picture below):

The South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris) reminded me of my time down there. They weigh up to 650 lbs. The tapir’s closest relatives are the horse and the rhino.

Their short ‘double-barreled’ trunk cracks me up, so I just had to include this out-of-focus pic that shows it better:

This waterbuck ( Kobus ellipsiprymnus),  with his heart shaped nose and target-like pattern on his rump (not seen in this pic), seems unimpressed by the impala (Aepyceros melampus – one of the most agile of the antelope species) ladies grazing by.

A side view of the waterbuck’s horns:

Curving the opposite way are the scimitar-horned oryx’s (Oryx dammah) horns. Sadly, this beautiful animal is extinct in the wild since around 1990:

The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) male has some amazing horns – they curl around 2.5 times and average 4′ long, but can grow to 6′! How do they move thru their densely wooded habitat without getting tangled up? By tilting their chins up so their horns lay flat against their back. They are the second largest antelope, weighing up to 690 lbs. Both males and females have a spinal crest, but only the males have horns and a beard.

I love the ‘got milk?’ mustaches and peach-colored ears of the female kudus!

The world’s largest living bird, the ostrich (Struthio camelus), grows up to 8′ tall and some 350 lbs. They are also flightless. The males are black, the females gray. This female has taken an interest in the SUV in front of us!

Don’t know if she was going for her reflection, a bug, or our handsome driver! Maybe she just wanted text her kids to get their heads out of the sand. I think she gets a kick out of people watching! Now we know why they require you to keep your windows shut!

A small herd of wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus – also known as gnu) compared to the herds of millions in the wild! They are a member of the antelope family.

The eland (Taurotragus oryx) is the largest of the African antelopes. Bulls can weigh up to 1 ton and be 6′ tall. Their straight screw-like horns can grow to 3′ long. A flap of skin called a dewlap hangs down the front of the neck and has a tuft of hair on the end of it.

The Asiatic water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) can weigh up to 1.5 tons and has a life expectancy of 25 years. This one gave me a raspberry for taking his picture on his way to take a bath! lol!  (See the cypress knees below his head?! They’re so interesting!)

About half way through the 4 mile drive are the park’s namesakes: the African lions (Panthera leo) that are now kept fenced off from the cars. (I couldn’t help but wonder what happens when the hurricanes come and blow down the fences…. every mammal for himself!!) Males can weigh up to 500 lbs, 4′ high at the shoulder and up to 8′ long – they are the largest of the African carnivores. Gestation is 100 days and they have 1-6 cubs per litter. A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away. They were snoozing on our fist trip through, but up and about the second time thru,I just didn’t get a good pic.

The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is one of the smallest members of the antelope family at 3′ tall. This native of India gets its name from the dark color of the mature male (buck). The ringed horns twist three or four times are about three feet long.

I found it interesting that the white lower coat makes them look extra slender at a glance… Wish I could find clothes like that!!

Ankole-Watusi (Bos taurus) is a breed of cattle with large horns that may span 10′!  Blood circulating through the horns is cooled, then returned to the body, which helps them to tolerate extreme temperatures. Newborn calves weigh 30-50 lbs, but grow up to weigh 900-1600 lbs. At night the herd sleeps together with the calves in the center and the adults facing outward with their horns as a protection against intruders – the ultimate in portable fences! This breed is often referred to as ‘cattle of the kings’ as those with largest and longest horns belonged to the African tribal kings. Here they come with a scimitar-horned oryx laying down in front of the pic and and Impala (Aepyceros melampus) standing behind him.

Looking out the window of the SUV, we were glad they were more interested in eating some grain that attacking the car… bet they could do some real damage if they wanted!!

Impressive! They are associated with several tribes, including the Tutsi. BTW… doing the Watusi dance has nothing to do with the cattle. The dance was named after the Watusi (now Tutsi) people of Africa, whose traditions included spectacular dances.💃

I’m thinking this next guy look more like a water buffalo than a watusi, but I’m not sure. He’s got an amazing personal towel rack, tho! 😂

The endangered southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simun) weighs up to 2.5 tons and lives up to 40 years. Unlike their cousins, the black rhino, they are reasonably docile. They get their name from the Afrikaans word “wyde” meaning wide or square lipped. They are actually stone gray in color. Rhino horns aren’t bony, but are made of keratin… a protein also found in human hair and fingernails.

Grant’s zebras (Equus bruchelli bohmi) are a member of the horse family. Not as fast as a race horse, but easily have more stamina. Zebra stripes are like fingerprints – they are unique to each individual. Which made me laugh, wondering: how much stripe-print dust do the zebra police use to find the guilty party?!! 🤣🤣

No, I don’t have a fascination with zebra butts.. I included this pic as I thought it was interesting: see the one on the left? He has tan stripes in between the black and white!

After driving through the park, you can take a picnic lunch into the Safari World amusement park or get something at their restaurant. There are lots of rides and water activities, but there are also lots more critters to see in this section of the park…

The sarus crane (Antigone antigone) is the tallest of the flying birds and can stand up to 5’11”:

The East African crowned crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps) looks very regal, indeed! I wonder if the queen’s guard got their uniform ideas from it?:

The beautiful flamingos (Phoenicopterus) get their color from their food source.

Hmmm… next card I make with flamingos, I’ll have to deside if I want a green or a blue background for them… I like them both!

Of course there are reptiles in the park. Since I move about the pace of a giant tortoise most of the time, I had fun watching this guy mosey along in his pretty shell. The great thing about these guys… it’s easy to get an action shot that isn’t blurry! Lol!

Swanderful reflection!

They have a couple of aviaries for feeding the Budgies and Lories. I love those AMAZING colors on this lory!! 

And they have several types of macaws, including one who loves to dance to music! This blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) sports more great colors I’d love to use on a card!!

My favorite part of the amusement park was the giraffe feeding pavilion. You get up eye-to-eye with these beautiful creatures! The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is the tallest land mammal with a height of up to 17′ and it’s long prehensile tongue can extend its reach by 15 inches.

And, for $3 they’ll give you a few romaine lettuce leaves to feed them. Yep, I want a perch like this in my Paradise dream home (sans fence, of course!)!!

Now here’s the question of the day: How DO mother giraffe’s know when they’ve liked that dirty spot off their kid’s neck?!! 😄

Lets close this trip with a Humor Gallery… These critters just had so much character and made me laugh, so I just HAD to share them with you!!

How DOES this East African crowned crane sit like that?!! I wish I had a mini keyboard to put under his feet!  😄 😄

“Did I get any grain on my cute little heart-shaped nose? Really?! Well, you’ve got spinach between your teeth!’:

‘I would smile wider, but my laugh lines might show!’ Forget Clark bars, this one’s a Snicker! (If you get it, we’re DEFINITELY showing our age! Hahaha!😉)

The singing kudu… what do you suppose he’s singing?!

“In the jungle, the might jungle, the lion sleeps toniiiiiight!

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh….

Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling, the lion sleeps confined.

Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling — unless there’s a hurricane!

AyeEEEEEE!!! —

We-run-away! We-run-away We-run-away! We-run-away!”  — The Joke’ns 🤣🤣

I hope you enjoyed your trip! If you didn’t know it was in Florida, you might think you’d just been to Africa. One small tip: if you plan to visit. We regularly get coupons in the mail for $8 off per person…. if you know someone who lives down here, let them know if you’re planning on visiting so they can save their coupon for you! : )

I have a few craft projects waiting to be posted, so I hope to be back soon to share them with you. Meanwhile, stay warm y’all. Spring isn’t far away!!

~D.Ann

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Painting Dory and Strawberries plus Flower Pics

Thanks for joining me today! I’m hoping to start catching up on some back-logged posts I’ve been wanting to share with you. Today’s comes from a visit to my aunt’s home in N. FL back in the Spring. She has some amazing plants, so I thought I’d share a few…

The Panda Plant aka Pussy Ears (Kalanchoe tomentosa) has these darling furry velvet ‘ears’ that you just want to pet!

She also has this nifty Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Davallia fejeensis) where the rhizomes (creeping rootstalks) look like fuzzy rabbit’s feet.

A pretty cactus bloom.

She was given this by family in Ohio and told it was a Jerusalem plant, tho I can’t find anything like it on the net. It’s nifty how the inside reminds me of a poppy ‘fruit’. Let me know if you know what it is!

I finish with her lovely irises… I couldn’t pick a favorite, so you get to see all three…

The strawberries and leaves on her welcome sign had faded away, so I went to Michaels and got some paints and refreshed them for her.

She wanted me to sign and date it and we all got a laugh when she caught that I put ‘o8 instead of ’18… yep, I’m running a few years behind! lol!

I was honored and a little bit nervous when she entrusted me with her next project…

She was tired of her plain white fish and wanted him to be colorful. Her BFF had a picture of her son’s royal blue tang and those were the colors she wanted used…

Ahh… Dory! Also known as regal tang and surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus).

So, I used the picture as a starting point and then took a little artistic license for some extra pops of color and sprayed on a lacquer to seal her up for easy cleaning and give her some shine….

My aunt seemed pleased with how it turned out and if she ever gets bored with those colors, we now know it’s not too hard to change it up.

Thanks for stopping by here today. I look forward to seeing you again as soon as I can find another little break to catch up again. Have a lovely day!

~D.Ann

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Fringed & Parrot Tulips with a Jumbo Tulip Thank You Card

Hello! In case you couldn’t tell from the title, today we’re going to focus on tulips. While in Indiana this spring, I saw fringed tulips, parrot tulips and other hybrid tulips for the first time and fell in love! Here are just a few my cousin’s wife has in her garden:

Ah, the beauties of the great outdoors! They’re such a delight to behold and reminded me of the Quietfire stamp that I used for the inside of my card:

Some people, life flowers, give pleasure just by being!

Inspired by those beauties, I used my Polychromos to color up a frilly jumbo tulip by Stampendous for my card:

FYI, the third largest frame in Spellbinders 5×7 Matting Basics B perfectly fits the inner rectangle area inside the pierced dots of the Bella Rose Lattice die, allowing for the white corners. The sentiment is embossed on acetate which I adhered with ‘Stacey Tape.’  The embossing on the tulip is a custom mix…

 

I mixed Stampendous Pomegranite Opaque with Fran-Tage Opaque Shabby White. I love the mottled look and the flecks of shiny gold!

Since the Serendipity Floral Butterfly wouldn’t fit, I cut off one of its wings (and used the pieces on the inside). To highlight the tulips in the wings, I added Nuvo Crystal drops to them. To finish off, I made a matching envelope:

 

Supplies used:

  • Stampendous Jumbo Tulip and Jumbo Thank You stamps
  • Spellbinders Chantilly Paper Lace Collection by Becca Feeken
    • Bella Rose Lattice Layering Frame
    • Lunette Arched Borders
  • Spellbinders Card Creator 5×7 Matting Basics B
  • Serendipity Stamps Floral Butterfly die
  • Quietfire Design Garden Delights stamp set
  • Tsukineko Versamark ink
  • Stampendous Fran-tage Opaque Shabby White embossing powder
  • Stampendous Merlot kit – Pomegranite Opaque embossing powder
  • Inkadinkado black embossing powder
  • Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils: Cadmium Yellow; Light Chrome Yellow; Delft Blue; Dark Red, Madder
  • Tonic Studios Nuvo Crystal Drops – gloss red berry
  • Tsukineko Memento dye ink – Tuxedo Black
  • Recollections cardstock: white, blue; silver glitter & shimmering red
  • Brutus Monroe Alabaster pigment ink
  • SMS ‘Stacey Tape’
  • Scotch tape runner
  • Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue

I’m playing along with the following challenges – click on any one of them for more information on how you can join the fun:

As always, I thank you for the comments you’ve been leaving… it’s always a tread to read them!

-D.Ann

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Morel Mushrooms and Power Poppy Thanks So Mush Card

Hello and welcome back!

I have been anxious to share this fun card and story with you and am happy I finally have the chance. One evening near the end of April, while in Indiana, we left my cousin’s home after supper and suddenly mom hollered, “stop the car!” Her eagle eyes had spotted some morel mushrooms alongside the road. These delectable delicacies are a favorite of ours, but have a short season and usually require hours tromping through the woods to find, so we rarely get to enjoy them anymore. We counted about 16 right there near the road.

We called my cousin to let her know where they were so she could get them, as they were on her property. Fortunately, her husband (who, I hear, doesn’t particularly care for mushrooms) answered the phone and said, ‘you guys go ahead and take them!’ (Actually, my cousin is such a sweetheart, I know she’d’ve said the same thing.)

As we got out of the car and started hunting, we kept finding more and more and, in a span of just a few short minutes, ended up with a mess of about 46! Best mushrooming EVER!! Thanks, cuz!!

The largest was over 4″! They fried up nicely and were absolutely DELICIOUS!!

 

Oh, I’m also going to show you a picture of some wild violets up there… in a minute you’ll see why…

Now, how do you thank such a generous sacrifice? Well, Power Poppy has a fabulous morel mushroom stamp that was just perfect:

They look so REAL!! And Becca Feeken’s fabulous Annabelle’s Trousseau die makes a lovely open lacework base for it! I may have to make a whole set of these in the near future!!

Materials used:

  • Power Poppy Wild Mushrooms stamp set
  • Spellbinders Annabelle’s Trousseau die from the Chantilly Paper Lace collection
  • Spellbinders Fancy Tags 3 (with ends snipped off)
  • Core’dinations cardstock: white, purple, kraft
  • Tsukineko Memento dye ink: Rich Cocoa
  • Copic Markers: B02; BV00, 02; C1; E31, 33, 51G02, 82; V17, 25; Y000, 02, 13; YG17
  • Foray Stylemark pen .5mm purple
  • Pebbles, Inc. Pearlescent Chalks – jewel tones
  • Ranger Adirondack Dimensional Pearls: Eggplant
  • Misc. adhesives

I’m playing along with the following challenges – click on any one of them for more information on how you can join the fun:

20180628SSSWiW

I’m glad you stopped by today! Thanks for leaving your encouraging comments!

-D.Ann

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Butterfly World Part 2 – Birds & Flowers

Hello again! I’m happy to be back and that you could stop by, too!

After a long break to try to let my wrist heal (perforated ligament and tendon inflammation), I’m slowly starting back. I’ll start with the rest of the pics from butterfly world. If you missed the first post featuring the butterflies, you can find it HERE. There are plenty of birds and flowers in the park, too! For those of us who are paper crafters, there’s loads of color inspiration! So go grab a cuppa something good, put on some classical music like they have playing throughout the park, and just enjoy the pics…

The skyflower aka blue trumpet vine (Thunbergia grandiflora)

These ground orchids (Epidendrum radican) are so cute!

This one is a jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) – I love hose shades of green!!

I must try a card the color combo in these orchids… brown, pink and pale yellow!

This vine is an Acanthaceae (Thunbergia mysorensis).

A bottlebrush bush (try saying that 5 times fast. lol!) aka Callistemon.

There is a huge variety of passion flower (Passiflora) vines. I don’t know how many of the 550 species they have, but it’s a lot!

They remind me of dancing ladies! And they go from these giant ones as big as your hand to the tiny ones, smaller than a thumbnail:

I love finding ‘faces’ in the bougainvillea flowers! : )

The aviaries are filled with canaries, finches, honeycreepers and more… most flitting around too fast for the lens to catch, but a few are otherwise occupied, like this cute parakeet couple and the peeping Tom. : )

The vibrant colors of the Macaws never cease to amaze me.

There is a Lorikeet encounter where you can feed them or just enjoy the amazing bright colors and shrill songs of these lovely parrots. (you can click on the arrow in the middle of the picture below to watch the short video.)

Lastly, one of my favorites… this gorgeous little shimmering hummingbird just sat there sticking his tongue out at us as if giving raspberry and saying, “Nyah, nyah I’m the most beautiful bird around and I know it!” (click on the arrow in the middle of the pic for the short video to play.)

That’s just a few highlights from this wonderful little park. And I didn’t even get the the museum. I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour!

I hope to start catching up now. I have several spring garden posts that I HOPE to get posted before next spring, but you know I roll in slow motion, so it may be a while. I seem to have a few cards backlogged, too. So there is more to come, Thanks for your patience! Hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.

-D.Ann

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Cup of Cheerful Columbine Card and Robin Eggs

Surprise! I’m back!! A lot has happened since my last post and part two will have to wait a bit longer. Meanwhile, it’s time for the 2018 Spring/Summer Coffee Lovers Hop.

Although I haven’t had much time for crafting lately, I was excited to make up the new Power Poppy Cheerful Columbine stamp as it is a prefect reminder of a couple of the fun highlights of my recent trip to Indiana… My aunt’s columbine flower patch and getting a birds eye view of newborn baby robins!

This year the robins built their nest in my aunt’s garage window. They were very attentive to their family.

    

  

Here’s a video of the the first two newly hatched. They’re not the cutest, but still they’re amazing! (click in the middle of the pic to start the video):

Aww!!

Columbines are one of my favorite flowers. Their little stamen bunches look like little balls of sunshine! Did you know the first official Colorado State Song was Where the Columbine Grow? For me, they grow in my aunt’s flower garden in Indiana!! I was happy that they had just started blooming when we were there. My aunt has several nifty varieties. Here are just a few:

  

 

   

That last one on the right is a Clementine Rose Columbine.

  

I chose these as a color guide for my card (they go the best with the MarkerPop challenge colors this month – see below):

What a sweet tea cup full of flowers! To give the flowers a sense of depth, I fussy cut them and a couple of extra plus the robin and an extra egg. I used flower shaping tools to shape them and foam dots to help hold their shape.

I added the little seeds stamp and filled them in with Liquid Pearls… there was even room to poke a seed in her beak. A little Wink of Stella gave some morning dew sparkle to the slower petals and cup.

Materials used:

  • Power Poppy Cheerful Columbine stamp and little seeds
  • Spellbinders Thoughtful Expressions Thinking of You die set
  • Recollections cardstock: white, brown and Blig Bloom (peach)
  • Memento Rich Cocoa dye ink
  • Copic Markers: B02, 05, 21; C5, FYG1; G05, 09, 24, 82; N4; R20, 22, 32; RV63; V12; W3, 5; Y000, 32; YG17
  • Ranger Liquid Pearls Coral & Dark Chocolate
  • Pebbles, Inc. Chalks
  • Martha Stewart Crafts Florentine Gold Microbeads
  • Misc foam dots and pvc glue

I’m playing along in the following hops and challenges – click on any one for more information on how you can join the fun:

  

Thank you for stopping by today and for sharing your encouraging comments – I always look forward to reading them!

-D.Ann

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Butterfly World Part 1 – Butterflies

Hello, everyone! As you might have already guessed, today’s post is going to be full of butterflies. There will be plenty of amazing colors to inspire your next papercrafting project!

We recently went to Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida – the largest butterfly house in the world with 3 acres of butterfly and bird aviaries, botanical gardens and a working butterfly farm and research center.

It was a cool day and we arrived first thing in the morning, so most of the 20,000+ butterflies (up to 50 species) were still lazing about posing for picture after picture rather than rushing about all a flutter to fill their tummies with nectar.

How many snoozing butterflies can you find?!

Choosing pics for this post was tough! Take these lovely Tree Nymphs (aka Paper Kites (Idea leuconoe))…

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How can you choose just one pose?!!

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The gorgeous green Malachites (Siproeta stelenes) were also showing off for the camera:20180330_091717_wm

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There’s also a huge difference depending on which way the light hits their wings!

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This Julia Heliconian (Dryas iulia) is another case in point.

As the sun warms things up, everyone flutters about their business. You can see some of those amazing blue Morphos flitting by in this video…

Here’s one I caught recharging her batteries – love that gorgeous iridescent blue!

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The under side of the wings have large eye spots that startle predators. Their wingspans measure 5-8 inches.

This one has a piece of his wing missing so the iridescent blue of the opposite wing shines through. I love the water droplets beading up from the fine mist sprinkers nearby!

The Owl (Caligo) butterflies have huge eye spots. The outer wings are a duller blue than the Morphos. With a wingspan of up to nearly 8 inches, the species is the largest butterfly in the Americas.

A Rusty Tipped Page (Siproeta epaphus) and a Tiger Longwing (Heliconius hecale).

 

There are oodles of variations of Piano Keys (Heliconius melpomene):

  

 

Check out the amazing female Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) butterfly with a wingspan of about 6 inches:

As is often the case in nature, she is greatly surpassed by gorgeous colors of the male Cairns Birdwing:

I MUST do a card in those amazing colors some day!!

Let’s close with a trip to the nursery and check out the newly emerged butterflies still clinging to their chrysalises…

It’s interesting to see the chrysalises with the Malachites still inside are green, but once they’re out, they’re white.

I hope you’v enjoyed seeing these flowers with wings! I’ll be back soon with part 2 – birds and flowers. Thanks for taking the time to enjoy these wonders of creation with me!

~D.Ann

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A Visit to Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County

Hello all! Those of you who are regulars here know that, in addition to crafting, I love photographing nature. Since many of my cards have flower in them, it’s also a great way to get color inspiration, too. We were fortunate to have some cooler days in March this year. After having missed most of the nice weather with that 3 month migraine, it was wonderful to get out and enjoy a garden again!

Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County, Florida is a 14 acre living plant museum divided into 23 themed gardens. It’s right across from the Palm Beach International Airport. For those of you who have been with me from the beginning, you may remember one of my early posts was of a visit to this garden. (Click HERE if you’d like to re-visit it. I’ve selected different flowers for this round). There is special pricing in effect as they currently have a special exhibition: Washed Ashore Art to Save the Sea.  It runs through June3,  2018. So, if you’re a member of the American Horticultural Society, you get a $5 discount off the $15 admission, instead of the usual free admission.

FYI, there is a main paved trail throughout the garden for easy wheelchair access, but to get close to many of the plants you’d have to go off-roading, which is tough.

Throughout the gardens are various sculptures of aquatic creatures endangered by marine debris and pollution. They are made of items collected from beaches by volunteers. This one, weighing in at 1600 pounds, is called Priscilla the Parrot Fish and she’s made of up toys, bottle caps, buoys, lighters, beer cans, a bowling pin, toothbrushes and fishing lures, among other things. Did you know that parrot fish feed on algae and take in coral in the process, which passes through their system undigested, coming out as sand? Think of this fish-produced sand next time you’re walking on the beach! : )

The botanical show opens in the parking lot with an arbor supporting the Variegated Chalice Vine (Solandra) with its huge, chalice-like flowers:

You know I can’t resist catching a busy bee hard at work!

This is the Vanilla Orchid which produces a seed pod which is fermented and dried into the “vanilla Bean” and then processed into vanilla extract. Wish computers came with a scratch-and-sniff feature!!

The cool thing about photographing flowers is that you notice things you might otherwise miss… I didn’t know there was another sweet little flower inside moss roses! Since it was in the edible plants section, it must be of the varieties that are fit for snacking.

Nasturtium flowers and leaves are also edible I have enjoyed them in salads.

I remember first seeing the Floss Silk Tree (Chorisia speciosa) in Paraguay. Commonly called the ‘Palo Borracho’ (drunken stick) as the trunk gets kind of a ‘beer belly’ as it matures. The silk was used in the past to stuff pillows. It almost looks like snow when it starts falling to the ground.

The huge spines covering the bark are pretty amazing!

Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) or velvet sage is so fuzzy you just want to pet it!

Rosy Camphorweed (Pluchea rosea) is another fluffy little flower…

A zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charithonia) slurping some sweet nectar from a firebush (Hamelia patens).

This nifty little shrub has various names… Cup and Saucer plant, Chinese Hat plant & Parasol flower (Holmskioldia sanguinea):

Yes, even in Florida we have stink bugs.

Did you know the Sausage Tree (Kigelia africana) is from the bigonia family?! This is the first one where I’ve been able to get close to the ‘sausages’. They run 12-39″ long, up to 8″ wide and weigh up to 26 pounds. The fresh fruit is poisonous and must be dried, roasted or fermented for human consumption. Can you spot the orchids?

So neat to see the three stages of the canna (not a true lily) all together:

What is it about hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) that make me want to pluck them and twirl them like dancing dolls in rich chiffon ballroom gowns?!

A busy bee thoroughly enjoying himself on this Jamaican Poinsettia (Euphorbia punicea).

Just like this little guy, I hope to BEE back soon with more fun posts! I hope you enjoyed your garden tour – especially those of you who are still putting up with that white stuff that ISN’T Floss Silk!

~D.Ann

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