There is absolutely no point to this post, other than to say I love black swans. Most days I go walking at a big lake on the way home from work, and I love watching these guys as they paddle about on the water. They are majestic and comical all at the same time. At this time of year, when they are not consumed by the breeding urge, they are friendly and inquisitive, quite happy to waddle up to you and graze nearby or check out what you may have for them. Sadly, I don’t bring them food because I know it’s not good to do so (especially bread) and so I am a bit of a disappointment. Still, they seem to know me now and will hang out for a while if I sit on one of the benches or on the bank.
I love their little honks and whistles, their head-bobs-in-greeting and their lovely big feet. I love their upside-down feeding when their in bums are the air and their heads are underwater, feet paddling like crazy. I love their ballet stretches and their sleepy eyelids when they are dozing off. The way the water beads on their blue-black plumage, and those bright red beaks. Just beautiful.
“…Our bird plays a starring role in all this owing to a belief in Europe, dating back 2000 years to Roman poet Juvenal, that swans are invariably white. Like purple cows and flying pigs, the black swan was a symbol of what was impossible. In medieval Europe, unicorns had more credibility. Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh, by finding black swans in Western Australia in 1697, showed how risky it is to declare something impossible…”
I’m glad they ARE possible, and that I get to share their space with them. Come breeding season they are less inclined to be so welcoming but, even then, they are accommodating and patient, allowing a certain amount of intrusion into their little family groups. Cygnets are the most adorable things on the planet. Grey balls of fluff – it’s hard to imagine they will grow up to be something so tall and glorious. Don’t get too close though – you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a Mummy Swan’s wrath 🙂
So, I am working on lots of things for this month’s Design Team requirements. I have been able to make a few cards – the Simple Stories paper and stickers are great to use, especially on those days you’re not feeling particularly inspired and just want to make something easy. I don’t generally use stickers on my cards – I don’t like the one-dimensional look of them. They’re so flat and look like stickers, if you know what I mean. So for these projects I stuck them on to card and painstakingly cut them out again so I could use padded tape on the back of them and give them more “oomph” and definition. I like the little snowman – he’s kinda cute. The “Handmade Holidays” sticker sheet is really good value – it has loads on it and you could make a bundle of cards with it (and just a couple of sheets of co-ordinating cardstock or papers). I’m still working on some more cards from those papers so stay tuned…
I’m also using a couple of pieces from the Graphic 45 “Birdsong” range. So pretty! All those cherry blossoms and gorgeous vintage-y Japanese ladies.
I attempted to make an ornate picture frame with a geisha hair pin as decoration. The frame was an ugly little plastic IKEA one I had stored away. It came with it’s own little stand too. I spray painted them both with a high gloss enamel (black) and they came up pretty nice. I also rubbed a little bit of red metallic buffing creme to the edges and details, just to add a bit of contrast and definition.
I agonised over the hair pin – I did have one that a friend brought me back from Japan but I didn’t want to glue that on, I wanted to make my own. So I tried a few different things – chopsticks, skewers, nylon wire and string. In the end I used a cut-down chopstick that I painted a rich crimson colour, added a bead to the end and wound some string (painted black) around it and added some other black and red beads for the “dangly bit”. It didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted…but hopefully it gives people some ideas (that they can then execute better than I have!). Anyway, it makes a change from cards and it shows a different way of using scrapbooking paper.
Now I am starting another project using the Graphic 45’s “Nutcracker Sweet” range – lots of purple and green and sugar plum fairies! But before I attempt anything with those lovely papers, I had better clear up my mess, rediscover my table and plan what I am going to do. Or I could just push everything to one side and work in a little tiny corner of the table like I usually do…that sounds more like me!