Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Crafts

For some reason I've been feeling the need to make tons of holiday decorations. I don't have much in the way of Christmas decorations or any Hanukkah decorations so even though I'll be back in Portland for Christmas I feel like making a bunch of stuff.

This is about the extent of it. My cheep artificial x-mas tree with mainly purchased ornaments and Nate's menorah. I started making these felt puffballs that I saw a tutorial for on someones blog (I can't for the life of me figure out which one). I'm going to try to make a garland if I have enough felt but these are now making the counter space with the tree and menorah look a little less sparse.

I also made Nate a stocking which I didn't take a picture of yet. It's ok, not my greatest work.

What I've gotten most excited about making though is this succulent wreath. I decided on Monday at work that I absolutely had to make one of these living wreaths. If it does ok I can have it on the door year round. I managed to find all the supplies in one shopping plaza (Michael's and OSH). It just required a wire wreath frame, floral wire, peat moss, potting soil, rooting hormone and lots and lots of cuttings from succulents on my patio.

I cut all the succulents the day before I started to make the wreath so they had some time to callous over. I packet the wreath first with a layer of wet peat moss, then soil then more peat moss and then wrapped the whole thing with floral wire so it stayed attached to the wreath. I poked holes with a screwdriver and stuck the cuttings, dipped in rooting hormone, into the wreath. I thought I would have enough cuttings to go all around the wreath but didn't quite make it. I took some more cuttings last night and will hopefully be able to finish it tonight. It is mostly jade and what I think is Graptoveria. Its filled in with some donkey's tail, some mother of millions starts and some other random things. I'll take a picture once it's all done. Hopefully the cuttings will root ok.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Favorite Extinct Animals Cards

I've been going crazy lately printing linoleum block Christmas cards. I feel like I've printed so many of these but I probably still need to print about 20 more. At some point I will post a picture of them but maybe, possibly, hopefully, some people who I will be sending Christmas cards to actually read my blog so I won't spoil them for those few people.

Anyway after I printed a few of these I decided to distract my self by carving a few different blocks to make printed cards. These are inspired by some of my favorite animals to have gone extinct in the last 500 years. All of these animals are featured in the book A Gap in Nature. Which is a really nice coffee table type book with beautiful illustrations of 103 vertebrates that have become extinct since 1492.

This is the Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis). It was a big flightless bird related to puffins and murres that was formerly native to the North Atlantic. It was last sited on July 3rd of 1844.

This one is Steller's Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas). It was a 3 ton manatee like animal that in prehistoric times lived along the North Pacific coast. It was first seen by Europeans when the Russian explorer Vitus Bering's ship was ship wreaked on the Commander Islands in 1741. The crew found the animals quite tasty and easy to catch and by 1768 it was extinct.

The final one is the Stephens Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli). It was a small flightless wren native to Stephens Island, a small uninhabited island off New Zealand's South Island. A lighthouse was built on the island in 1894 and the entire species was supposedly wiped out by the lighthouse keeper's cat named Tibbles in that same year.