Thursday, November 16, 2017

Festive Birdies

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm sharing a Christmas card featuring the newest Pion Design collection "Christmas Wishes". These darling water colour bird images have completely captured my heart! Aren't they just so perfect for a holiday card!

Pion products:
Christmas Wishes - December Birds PD9805
Christmas Wishes - Christmas Morning PD9802
Christmas Wishes - Santa's Friends PD9806
Images from the Past - Christmas Wishes PD1631

The Snowflakes are from Penny Black, the flowers are from Wild Orchid Crafts and everything else is from my stash. For the snow, I wanted something that had texture but wasn't shiny, so I applied the DecoArt Snow Writer and then covered it with Stampendous Chunky Embossing Powder in white!

I get a lot of questions about feeding the birds from my hand, so I thought today I would try to answer some of them for you.

1- In my experience Red Breasted Nuthatches are the most trusting, if you have any of those in your area, it's a great way to experience this amazing trust. Just stand very still and hold your arm out to them. It may take a few tries until they learn that you aren't a threat, but they'll come eventually. And once they trust you, they'll be all over you! They sit on my shoulders and even my head!!

2- Next up are Chickadees. They take a little longer to warm up to you, but once they do it is an amazing experience. They will sit on your hand for quite some time, so be prepared to wait. They will often sing at you and check you out up and down. I even had a baby Chickadee this year that flew onto my hand and then had a litte nap. Dang my arm was sore by the time he woke up and flew off!

3- The larger birds are more difficult, they take a lot of time to trust you, if ever. Cardinals, Blue Jays, Starlings and Blackbirds are very cautious and scare very easily. Even though I feed many of them from my hand, I rarely take a photo of it, for the same reason I would never use a flash on a wild animal. No sudden movements, no loud noises. I have managed a few shots in special cases when they were used to the camera shutter sound.

This is a shot of a Blackbird, see the difference in size!

An here is a Starling...

I have fed other wild animals by hand as well, but no photos for the same reason as the birds. Deer, rabbits and raccoons, these animals are especially timid and can injure themselves if you spook them. I do have this one shot of Big Kate taking a cookie from me. Again, she was a special case because she was used to the sound of the camera and of me being close to her.

And of course, there are my squirrels. Believe it or not, I do NOT encourage the squirrels to eat from my hand. Not all humans are friendly, so it is very dangerous for these animals to think that an outstretched hand is a sign of good will. I only feed the ones who initiate contact, I never force the issue. Again, I don't often photograph them when they're this close, but there are a few exceptions.

Miss Chrissy

And of course, the sweetest squirrel in the world, Crazy Karen!! 
This photo was taken just a couple of days ago. Doesn't she look amazing after her hard summer!

Well I hope that I have answered some of your questions. That's it for today. Thank you for stopping in and for all the amazing comments. If you have any other questions, please let me know!

I do NOT recommend you feed any wild ground animals by hand. It's really bad for them and it can be dangerous for you. I've been doing some training, and I have some experience now. Eventually I will be getting my Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation licence, so I will be handling these animals daily for life-saving measures. 

The food you see in the photos I post are NOT proper foods for animals! Peanuts, cookies and bread are junk food to these animals and are harmful in large quantities. I also make sure they get plenty of proper healthy foods on top of the treats I use for photo shoots. Here is a quick list for anyone who is interested (not a full list of course).

Songbirds - Black oil sunflower seeds, Mixed birdseed, Unsalted Peanuts, Suet, Mealworms and Safflower seeds. NO RAW RICE, NO BREAD, NO SUGAR, NO SALT, NO HONEY!

Ducks & Geese - Cracked Corn, Frozen Peas and Corn (not canned), Wheat, Barley, Oats, Birdseed, Grapes, Mealworms, Salad Greens, Duck Pellets. NO BREAD, NO JUNKFOOD, NO CEREAL, NO CRACKERS!!

Squirrels - Coconut, Unsalted Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Hazlenuts, etc.) easy on the Almonds. Watermelon, Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Avocados, Squash, etc. Any sort of deer antler treat. NO CORN, NO PEANUTS, NO SUNFLOWER SEEDS, NO LEGUMES!!

Rabbits - Collard greens, Carrot and Beet Greens, Romaine, Red or Green leaf  Lettuce, Spinach, Parsley. NO POTATOES, NO ICEBERG LETTUCE OR LIGHT GREENS. Contrary to popular believe, carrots are neither a favourite of rabbits, nor are they good for them!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tis the Season

Hello Everyone!

Today I am sharing this festive Christmas card in my favourite colour palette for the holidays, red and green, poinsettias and holly! I've used papers from Graphic 45, Recollections and My Mind's Eye.

So this background is the flip side of the wood I purchased. It's Red Oak, stained with Walnut on one side, but left natural on this side. It's lighter so I can use it for darker toned papers, but still capture the details of the white accents.

The doily is from Prima, the flowers are from Wild Orchid Crafts, the sentiment was cut using a Sizzix die, the frame was made with hot glue and a custom mold, the ribbon is from May Arts and everything else is from my stash.

We didn't get the snowfall that I hoped for, but there were some light flurries blowing around under the street lamps. As I watched the snowflakes reflecting the lamplight, I realized how magical I find winter to be. My hope for winter continues, but until then I'll share some more autumn photos.

I don't take photos of our lake here very often any more, but I couldn't resist the orange glow coming off the lake on this morning. Straight out of the camera, no edits,

A female Sparrow

A male Red Winged Blackbird

Probably the last rabbit I'll see for this year. Although they don't hibernate, these sweet animals sure do disappear for the winter months. What I wouldn't give for a rabbit in the snow shot!

"Sure I can smile for the camera, but I don't have to stop eating, right?" 
~Sweet Cheeks~

UPDATE: Karen seems to be back to her regular old self recently. She's not as solid on the branches as she used to be, but she's putting on her winter weight and started growing her winter fur. I'm so happy to see her smiling again!

"It looks like corn, but I think the human is playing a trick on me!" ~Crazy Karen~

"Bwahaha, I'm so clever! I found a peanut hiding under a leaf! Autumn is no match for me!" 
~Mary Jane~

For my macro today, some morning condensation on this stunning leaf! I'm looking forward to some frost so I can whip out my big macro ring and get in super close!

That's it for today. Thank you for stopping in and for all the amazing comments. If you have any questions or interesting tidbits about today's wildlife, please let me know.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Violet Beauty

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm sharing a feminine card featuring my amazing new paper collection from Lemoncraft, "Violet Silence". Thanks to my talented friend Lisa of A Mermaid's Crafts, I have these beautiful purple and pink papers to play with. If anyone is looking to purchase this collection. please visit Lisa's Etsy Shop HERE.

Thank you so much to everyone for your feedback on my new photo set up. It seemed pretty much unanimous that the dark background works better, so today is my first post using my new photo lab set up!! I'm still playing with props and settings, so there may be a few hitches, but I'm very happy with the overall appearance, and the minimal effort required to get good shots!

The roses are from Wild Orchid Crafts, The wood flourishes and the ribbon are from Michael's Craft Store and everything else if from my stash. Wait, I just realized I didn't use a single die cut on my card, how strange is that!!

Rumour has it that it is supposed to snow tonight while I'm sleeping. If it does, I'll be happier than a squirrel with a bag of nuts!! Meanwhile, I did finally get a nice sunny day to go out to The Shire and take some autumn landscapes and macros without having to take a bag of leaves with me! HAHA!

Am I the only one who wants to shrink down really tiny, so I can snuggle with one of these Nuthatches! Dang, they're cute!

s"Did I just hear a feather joke back there! Not cool human!" 
~Mr Cardinal~

There's still a few Geese on the lake and although it's muddy on the shore, they seem to be enjoying the cool water.

"Excuse me, could you come out from behind the camera and pay attention to me please!" 
~Mary Jane~

"Ummmmm, where did everybody go? 
~a trail friend~

"For the love of Pete, do they have to make these walnuts so stinking big!" 

For my macro today I have these wet leaves. This was taken with the smaller macro lens, but I've been experimenting with the big one and wait until you see how close I can get now!!

That's it for today. Thank you for stopping in and for all the amazing comments. If you have any questions or interesting tidbits about today's wildlife, please let me know.