Saturday, April 30, 2011

Belated Psyanky

Easter has come and gone and like most holidays, I'm late for this year but early for next year! I wanted to get this done in time to send to my grandparents for Easter. Oh well! Granny is turning 89 tomorrow though!

Designing any sort of new paper pattern is always tricky. It's easy to visualize it in your mind, but the actual construction can be a challenge. I remember designing a brochure once and being so pleased with the layout. But once I printed it and folded it on brochure paper, I quickly learned that brochure paper doesn't like to fold and crease as well as regular copy paper. Kind of the same thing here - cutting the diamonds proved to be somewhat inexact :-)

Don't forget you have until 6pm MTN time tonight to enter my ACEO contest for April!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Birdie Life

We saw Rio on the weekend loved it! It’s an adorable family movie, and while I could have waited for it to come out on DVD, I had to see it! There’s nothing too special about the story or animation, but the animators and writers really got the relationship between birds and people right. I couldn’t even go through the first two minutes without crying. The movie opens up when Blu is a baby parrot and falls out of his nest by accident. Awww! There were a couple of things in the movie that weren't advisable though, such as feeding a parrot chocolate chip cookies (chocolate is deathly for birds) and birds eating out of a person's mouth.

In real life, Blu is a Spix’s Macaw, which really is an endangered species. It was a great and gentle way of showing how species conservation is important. When smugglers steal baby chicks, they are robbing the future population by leaving only older birds to mate.

My big fear with a movie like this though is that people will suddenly want a parrot or other companion bird. This is where I have to put on my PSA hat and warn against anyone thinking of impulse buying a parrot, whether it’s a budgie or a cockatoo. Domestication is a relatively new thing for parrots and one is essentially still living with a wild animal, even if it's a little budgie!

First and foremost, you must love the bird personality. This means that you must love and tolerate their curious and expressive natures. Birds are extremely social and parrots moreso; if you want a pet that is going to be a decoration, please get a pet rock! A pet bird will want to be with you a great deal of time.

Then there's also:
  • Birds are messy and loud. This is just a fact and the way that they are!
  • Birds need specialized care. It’s important to budget for vet care as well as live near a vet. This website can help you find an avian vet.
  • Parrots live a long time. A budgie can live past 10 with good care and a macaw up to 80 or 90 years.
  • Birds need the biggest cage you can afford. Many bird cages are really birdie prisons and will literally drive a bird crazy. Find out the minimum dimensions for a species and then double or triple it.
  • Parrots are highly intelligent and need room and stimulation or else they’ll get bored

Lastly, birds are fragile and there are risks to keeping a flighted creature in your home. Open doors and windows are the best way to lose a bird, as are toxic fumes and sprays, candles and stoves.

Entire books have been devoted to parrot care, and there are many excellent online communities where one can ask questions, such as Parrot Lovers and Tailfeathers Network. Please for the love of the birds, prepare yourself before you purchase one. And don’t forget to check out free to good home ads or the SPCA. Many wonderful birds, like Muffin, are awaiting a forever home out there!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Ready!

On the last Saturday of every month The New Gallery holds an artist trading card session from 5-7pm. This time I have plenty to trade! I did them on the day that they forgot to book a model for our class.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Monday, April 11, 2011

Win This ACEO for April!

Here’s the prize for my monthly contest in celebration of five years of business. It’s an Ukrainian Easter egg ACEO/ATC. Another schnipster project, this one took a few hours to design. Schnipstering can be a little hit or miss at times :-)

All you have to do is leave a comment and I will pick a winner on April 30 at 6pm MTN.

When I was thinking of this month’s prize, I wanted to share a special Easter tradition that others might not know much about. The eggs are more than just a decoration; it is a symbol of renewal and resurrection of course.

I learned how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs as a young person in Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton has a huge Ukrainian population which is very proud of its culture. My first egg was made in Grade 4, but it wasn’t until Grade 7 that I really made one that was really good. Designing each egg takes a lot of thought. A tool called a kiska is used to scoop wax and draw with it. Anything covered in wax will have the colour preserved as the egg is dipped in different dyes. So the first layer would be white, and then yellow and so forth.

Good, even wax coverage is necessary for a good strong line. The final dye coat is usually black or red. At the end of the process, the wax is melted off with heat from a candle and wiped with a tissue. The real name for the eggs is psyanky and you can learn more about them at this website .

Vegreville, Alberta, by the way, is home to the world’s largest psyanka! Vegreville is also home to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, which is a wonderful historic park to visit, especially if you like Eastern European churches.

Whew, this post is getting long! Other Eastern European cultures also decorate eggs, and they have different styles and names. Wikipedia has a good round-up of Easter egg traditions if you want to learn more.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Super Scarecrow Sunday!

There is nothing like the peace and quiet of a Sunday. Last week was full of super silly stuff! I'm looking forward to this week even though the big group assignment for PPRL is due on Wednesday. The pitch part of the proposal is taking place on the next two Wednesdays. Our group's name was drawn for this week, eek!

I'm formatting the proposal part, but just taking a minute to share my prize envelope from Sunshine Shelle had arrived on Friday! Here's what I won from her Oz Day Blog Party a few weeks ago:

I love it! It's so awesome. This is my second ACEO from Shelle. The first one was a spooky ghost for last year's ACEtsy Team swap. I felt so lucky to receive it, and I feel lucky again :-) Thanks for sharing your art with your fans Shelle! This card is so amazingly detailed and photographs don't do justice to her work. They are wonder to behold (and hold :-)).

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I'm going to say that my appearances here are going to be sparse for a while. One of my classes, PPRL200, has a pitch and proposal for the final project. It's a group project and quite a lot of work. I can't wait for the end of school because of all the projects I have on hold. It's hard not to procrastinate, especially on a day like today when it's snowing! What!! Maybe we'll have spring by Easter :-)

So on that note, here's the winner of the March contest - Ms. Lazyhawk - Marlene! Congratulations Marlene. I will email you shortly.

Watch for the April contest - I plan on doing either an Easter ACEO or 4x6" picture.