Saturday, March 17, 2012

Birds and Squirrel and Butterfly, Oh My!

We are entering Birthday Season here in the Creative Compulsive household!  We have 3 out 4 birthdays with in a month of each other.  Baby Girl has the first birthday of the season.  For her fifth birthday she has requested a bird, squirrel, butterfly party......with all of her friends from school.  

I've been working on her invitation for about a week now.  Our scanner is currently only scanning in black and white, so I thought I would have a little fun making vector graphics look like cutout paper.  I thought, perhaps, I might talk her into just one animal.  So I started with the birds.  Being the generally agreeable child she is, she loved the birds.  But after a few days I got to thinking that a squirrel really would be cute on the trunk of the tree....

so I added a squirrel.  Baby Girl was very excited about the squirrel!  I showed the invitation to Bouncing Boy, who insisted that I really should go ahead and add a butterfly...perhaps a butterfly and a flower....

so I added a butterfly and a flower.  So now we have it all, 5 birds for a fifth birthday, a squirrel, a butterfly, and some bonus flowers!  My Italian still needs to be proofread, and I think I will add our phone number...but it's close, very close, to being printed....except for the fact I am out of printer ink!  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Night Eagle!

eagle costume

Oh! Carnevale!  You are a costume designers dream.  Now we have more occasions to wear more costumes! Italian children get to have three days off of school for Carnevale.  When you add the weekend, that is 5 days total!  So unlike Halloween when you just get to dress up one night of the year, Carnevale offers a plethora of opportunities to don your costume.   This year the kids each had a party at school, and we went to some of the festivities in Vicenza and some of the festivities closer to home. 

The beginnings of Bouncing Boys costume this year has roots in Halloween two years ago when he dressed as a wizard.  At the time he wanted the wizard to have a bird mask, so the Hawk Mask was born.   In February this year I taught a Carnevale Cape and Mask class at our local Arts Center, and one of the patterns I offered to the class was the Hawk Mask.  One of my students made the Hawk Mask out of star felt that she had used on a previous project.  I thought the star felt was a brilliant choice that give the Hawk Mask a completely different feel.  So for Valentines Day I made Bouncing Boy a similar Hawk Mask out of the star felt.  He LOVED it, and so "Aquila della Notta" or "Night Eagle" was born.
The Wizard in his Hawk Mask
But, what Night Eagle would be complete with out a set of wings?  I've been itching to make some wings for awhile, so I was excited for the opportunity.  Bouncing Boy wanted the wings to go around his wrists, I had a different idea.  I love making costumes for the kids, but I have learned a costume will get much more play and use over time if the child can easily put it on and take it other words fast costume changes are a must!  So instead of using elastic bands, or ties I sewed the wings into sleeves.  The wings are put on just like a jacket, but instead of a full front to the jacket there is only a single Velcro closure.  This wasn't the first time I've sewed wings into sleeves.  For Bouncing Boy's 2nd Halloween he had dragon wings sewed into sleeves.  The major, and in my opinion a very important difference is the new wings are very easy to get on, where as the dragon costume was a major ordeal to get on and take off.   
Black shirt underneath the Night Eagle wings. 
dragon costume
Well, I couldn't very well mention the Dragon costume and NOT post a picture!  He did love this costume, even if it was a booger to get on and off!
I did get in a small amount of trouble for picking red for the wings.  In Bouncing Boy's opinion they should have been some dark color, "like the night."  He wasn't with me at the fabric store so  I picked red because it's been his favorite color for years.  However, he loves the costume in spite of the fact I picked the "wrong" and enjoyed wearing it through out all of the Carnevale festivities without any further complaints!  
eagle costume

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Joy of Pre-Spring!

A Post in 3 Acts...sprinkled with flowers. 
Hepatica nobilis

Act I:  YEAH! I Lived Through Another Winter!
I am not known for my cheery disposition on Winter time.  Sure, I love the Winter Solstice, and celebrate with my own particular flair.  However, the reasons for my Winter Solstice joy are fueled by the fact I know from that day forward the days are getting longer, and soon enough February will arrive.  And why do I love February? Because here in bella Italia the first flowers start to bloom and I know I've made it out of Winter and into the season I like to call Pre-Spring. That is ...on every other year but this one!  So when I headed out on my traditional Mid-February walk-through-the-woods/flower-assessment I was left wondering...Where the Heck Are All the Helleborus. 

Helleborus viridis

Act II:  Where the Heck Are All the Helleborus!
In other places (where it snows) snow time activities keep me preoccupied until Spring.  We had only two very light snows this year, with not enough snow to make a run down the sledding hill. We did, however, have a lot of very cold weather in January.  This cold weather kept my Pre-Spring favorite from showing itself for 3 whole weeks later than normal.  

I am fascinated with the unassuming green flower, Helleborus. I get a little giddy when I spot the first one of the year.  As Pre-Spring advances into Spring I track the Helleborus from full bloom to its fully ripe seed pod...a very interesting looking seed pod, I might add.  And on my various treks through the woods through out the year I smile as I past my known Helleborus stands.  Mid-Feburary I saw NOT ONE Helleborus...I was saddened but not panicked.   By the end of Feburary I had only seen three small clusters....doomsday scenarios running through my Vitamin D deprived brain.  But then like magic... we have a delightfully warm, sunny week and by the time Friday rolled around my friend was back in full force!  Pre-Spring is finally here *large sigh of relief*. 

Snowdrop, Galanthus

Act III:  Where in the Helleborus Has Creative Compulsive Been?
Oh, I've been creating plenty.  But the Vitamin D deprived brain does not like to share.  A brain without D thinks things like...Who cares anyway, there are plenty of other people posting on plenty of other blogs, you don't need to bother with have some more chocolate...better not type on the keyboard now, you have chocolate on your, licking your fingers and then typing would be gross....just go eat more chocolate.  
So I've been busy with my little projects, and eating lots of chocolate, and perhaps now I'll be doing some make-up sharing.  Because NOW, I've seen the light... literary...the Vitamin D flows again, plus all those endorphins from actually getting out and exercising...and I haven't had a bite of chocolate in a whole week!  A brain bathed in Vitamin D likes to share, thinks it is participating in a community of others who like to share ideas and experiences, and above all, thinks blogging is fun.  

And now, some more Snowdrops for your viewing pleasure...

 And a final Helleborus for now...