Friday, March 29, 2013

Owning a House Rabbit

For the last day of Bunny Week, I wanted to talk about owning a house rabbit. I've blogged about Trouble many times before, but I thought I'd go into a bit more detail. People are always fascinated to hear that our rabbit is loose in the house instead of locked up in a cage all day. Those same people wouldn't dream of keeping their cat or dog locked in small cage all day, so why would a rabbit be happy locked up? 

"Yeah.  Why would anyone do that?"

Rabbits are highly intelligent, affectionate, curious and playful. They like to be involved with what's going on with the family, whether it's artwork....


.... or paying bills.


Trouble is as much a member of the family as any dog or cat would be. He follows us around and likes to check out what we're doing. He enjoys spending time with us and hanging out in the same room as us, just like a dog or cat would.  


Here are the questions I hear over and over:

  • Is Trouble litterbox-trained?
Yes. Rabbits are very clean animals, most of whom have excellent litterbox habits. Not only does Trouble use his litterbox perfectly, but he only dirties one small corner of the litterbox.
  • Is it a pain to clean the litterbox?
No, not at all. Cleaning up after a rabbit is FAR more pleasant than cleaning up after a dog or cat.  
  • Does Trouble (or his litterbox) smell bad?
The droppings don't have a scent at all. The urine has a smell, but as long as you change the litter each day, it is very minor. Trouble himself does not smell at all.
  • Does Trouble destroy your stuff?
Rabbits not only like to chew, they NEED to chew. Their teeth are constantly growing. Trouble has chewed a few inappropriate things (most recently, the handle of a tote bag), but he isn't any worse than a puppy would be. As long as we provide fresh branches semi-frequently (his favorites are apple branches), he doesn't go looking for other things to chew.   
  • But what about cords?
Rabbits can chew through cords, mistaking them for the vines they must cut through in the wild. We have rabbit-safe cord covers on the cords in the area he's allowed in. Baby gates block him from areas we can't make rabbit-safe. 
  • Do rabbits do anything other than just sit around? 
I'll let this video answer that question.

There are many great reasons to own a house rabbit. You can find an excellent list here. There is an outstanding pro and con list here as well. If you do decide to adopt a house rabbit, please consider a rescue organization or shelter. There are so many wonderful rabbits out there who need a good home. Before adopting a rabbit (or any other animal), please do your homework. Rabbits have specific needs to keep them healthy and happy. If you adopt a rabbit, you are committing to ten years of providing a loving home.  

Owning a rabbit has brought us more joy than we ever thought possible. Trouble is awesome in every way. If you are considering a house rabbit or just have a question about rabbits, please ask in the comments! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Perler Bead Bunny

Trevor is absolutely obsessed with Perler Beads.  He constantly asks to go to various craft stores to check out their Perler supply, to see if they have a board shape or idea book or bead color he doesn't already have.  He's recently gotten into making the 3-D shapes, which are totally amazing.  He and a friend made an incredible pirate ship the other day, but Trevor sent it home with his friend before I could take a picture.  

For Bunny Week, Trevor and I searched on eksuccessbrands.com for bunny project ideas. There was an adorable set of 4 bunnies, which Trevor immediately wanted to make.  They even had some 3-D bunnies, but unfortunately we do not have the bunny pegboard yet.

I decided to design my own bunny.  Trevor has an idea book with blank pages in the back to design your own patterns.  (He's been designing Ninjago characters, which I'll share at some point.)  Here's how my pattern turned out.



Alas, we did not have light grey beads amongst our (literally) thousands of beads.  So I settled for tan.  

 
I think he came out really cute!  

Tomorrow I'll be wrapping up Bunny Week 2013 (because I've now decided this should be an annual event) with answers to the most frequently asked questions I get about owning a house rabbit.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bunny Handprint Cards

What better way to say "Happy Bunny Week!" than with a card?  

 
I am a huge fan of handprint crafts, so it's no surprise that I would have Trevor make a set of bunny handprint cards.  They are so quick and easy to make.  Use a brush to paint the palm, pointer finger and ring finger.     



Press the painted hand to the card, then lift straight up.  Let the handprint dry, then draw on a mouth and whiskers using a Sharpie.  Add googly eyes and a construction paper nose, add your message inside, and that's all there is to it!

Here's a grey version Trevor made after he finished the white ones.

These would also be adorable on a canvas to bring out each spring!  Here are a few other handprint crafts you might want to try:

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paper Bag Bunny

Welcome to day 2 of Bunny Week!  Today I'm sharing a fun and easy paper bag bunny project.  Isn't it cute?



Materials: paper bag, scissors, pink construction paper, glue, black pen, googly eyes, button, cotton ball

Begin by cutting a rectangle out of the top of the paper bag, then round off the remaining parts to make the ears, as shown in the picture.

 
Cut the pink construction paper to fit inside the ears.  Glue these in place.  Use the pen to draw a mouth and whiskers.

 
Glue googly eyes and a button nose in place.

 
Open up the bag and stand it up.  The ears will be in two pieces - carefully glue these together, then glue the top opening closed.  Add a cotton ball on the back.  So easy and so cute!

This is one of Trevor's bunnies.  He made two - one to save to enter in the fair and one to play with.  My bunny is the one at the top of the post.  
 
I have another bunny craft to share tomorrow for Day 3 of Bunny Week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Origami Bunny

It's Bunny Week, here at My Creative Life!  It's a whole week of all things rabbit.  It's like Shark Week, but fuzzier.

Being major rabbit-fans, we're always on the lookout for a cute bunny craft.  When I found instructions for bunny origami, I knew Trevor would want to try it.  Aren't they adorable? 



They're really easy to make!  Start with a square piece of paper.  We used a 6-inch square for the white bunny on the left and a 5-inch square for the grey bunny on the right.  We used ordinary copy paper, which worked fine but didn't fold quite as cleanly as origami paper would.  

Step 1: Fold the paper in half diagonally to make a triangle.

 
Step 2: Fold down the diagonal edge.  This will form the ears, so a wider fold will make wider ears.  

 
Step 3: Rotate the triangle so that the ears are on the bottom.  Fold up the left side to meet the point at the top.

 
Step 4: Repeat with the right side.

 
Step 5: Fold up the bottom point.  This will make the base the bunny will sit on.

 
Step 6: Turn the bunny over.  Fold the top point in to finish the shape of the face.

 
Here's what it looks like from the back.

 
Step 7: Add a face!  These are mine.  The ones at the top of the post are Trevor's.  

 
 Here's Trevor with all four of our bunnies.  He lined them all up, gave them names and had them talk with each other.  Adorable.


Here are a few other rabbit crafts and projects you might enjoy!
See you tomorrow for Day 2 of Bunny Week!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hand-Painted Easter Eggs

We colored Easter Eggs yesterday and tried a new technique that I just had to share.  It was so fun and totally different than the usual egg dyeing!



All you need is standard egg dye, a small stamp, Staz-On ink, and a small paintbrush.  We used a flower image to stamp on the egg.  Stamping a curved surface was pretty challenging. We found that rolling the stamp across the egg gave the best image.  



The stamped eggs were far from perfect, but that was totally ok. 
 
Then all we did was dip the paintbrush in the dyes and paint in the flower petals.


We had eggs sitting in the some of the dyes while we did our hand-painting.


Trevor was very proud of his finished egg.


Here's a closer look.


Here are the hand-painted eggs with some of the eggs that were dyed with more traditional methods.  We also used masking techniques on some of our eggs, like the green with orange stars on the right.


Trouble watched the whole process with great interest.  He stood on the egg cartons while I added vinegar to the cups.


After thoroughly sniffing everything and even licking the tablespoon that I'd used to measure the vinegar, Trouble retreated under a chair to watch.


Hi Trouble!

 
These pictures of Trouble give me the perfect opportunity to announce that tomorrow will be the start of Bunny Week here at my blog.  It'll be all things Bunny, all week long - crafts, activities and more!

Friday, March 22, 2013

March Flamingo Four

It's time for another Flamingo Four!  This month, three other designers and I worked with these products:



          1)  4x4 canvas
          2)  6x6 paper pad - Pink Paislee "Indigo Bleu"
          3)  Wendy Vecchi Art Parts - Pocket Watch
          4)  Maya Road Acrylic People keychain

As usual, there were some tricky components in this set of items!  The 4x4 canvas makes a natural base, but its small size means that it would be very difficult to fit the other items onto it.  But a solution came to me quickly this time.  I love when that happens!  

I cut a yellow piece of the paper to just under 4x4 then dug through my stamps.  I found a Fiskars "enjoy..." stamp and a Scenic Route "TODAY" and stamped them together on the upper left hand corner of the paper.  I used matte Mod Podge to attach the paper to the canvas. While I was waiting for that to dry, I painted the pocket watch black.

 
I took apart the keychain and selected the woman.  I peeled the protective film off the acrylic, then put the acrylic back on the chain for a future use.  I put spray adhesive all over the protective film and pressed it to a sheet of type paper.  Then I fussy-cut out the shape.  I pulled out two different prints - a blue for her dress and yellow floral for her hair.  I cut the hair by using a scallop circle punch, then shifting the shape and punching the other side.

 
I layered these together and let them dry.  Then I used the Mod Podge to add a few more shapes to the canvas.  When that was dry, I turned the canvas over and attached the pocket watch.

 
Here's my finished project.  Enjoy today - an important reminder for us all.  

 
To see what the other three designers made, head over to Flamingo Scraps.  It's always so fun to see how four people can use four products with such different results!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kindergarten Memories

Once again, I've been tackling the huge piles of unfinished layouts that have accumulated on all my work surfaces.  One of the pages was a collage of random pictures from Trevor's kindergarten year.  I'd planned to use some school-themed paper, but the busy paper with a busy photo collage just wasn't working for me... so I set it, unfinished, on the pile. 

When I came back to the layout, I knew that the problem was busy-on-busy.  I removed the school papers, matted the collage with a subtle blue dot, and backed the whole thing with a lime green.  It was really stark, so I added white mist to the background.  I stamped my title on a red dot, then punched stars from that same paper.  The finished layout is somewhat plain, but I love that the photos are front and center.



Now that I'm on a roll (and starting to see my desktop again), expect to see more finished layouts in the near future!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fiskateer St. Patrick's Day Crop (Part 2)

Here are the rest of my projects from the Fiskateer's St. Patrick's Day Crop.


Challenge 4: Kiss Me, I'm Irish
Your challenge is to create a project focused on love and kisses using green as your primary color instead of the traditional pink and red.
This was challenging for me.  I decided to go super simple with a dotted paper, scalloped cardstock edge, and a punched heart.  I think it's more masculine than the typical red/pink love-themed card, which is good since it is for my husband.



Challenge 5: He's After Me Lucky Charms

That little lepruchan on the Lucky Charms cereal commercial makes me giggle, "He's after me Lucky Charms!" Your challenge is to create a project using charms.  For you papercrafters, that might mean digging into your bowl of metal to unearth some long-forgotten embellishments, and you fabric enthusiasts might find yourself reaching for a soft charm pack.  

I dug through all my stuff, hoping to unearth a charm.  There was exactly ONE charm in the whole scraproom - a Christmas tree.  It fit the green theme, but didn't exactly say St. Patrick's Day!  Fortunately, there was no theme requirement.

The charm was with a bunch of other Christmas stuff, including a half-used sticker set.  I noticed that the packaging was really cute- green with lots of holiday words watermarked on it.  It's hard to see in the picture; it's much more visible in real life.  I used the packaging to make a tag... trash to treasure!


Here's how the finished tag turned out.  I need to tuck it with the Christmas stuff or I'll forget all about it 9 months from now!



Challenge 6: As Luck Would Have It
This one is inspired by that little four-leaf clover that is said to bring you luck. Your challenge today is to create a project based on good fortune, good luck, &/or lucky 4-leaf clovers.
I pulled out some green scraps and a shamrock sticker and started playing around until I came up with this.  The inside says, ".... to have you as a friend."


I really enjoy these online crops because they inspire me to be creative and make projects I NEVER would have done otherwise.  And now I have 5 cards and a tag all ready to go.  Love that!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fiskateer St. Patrick's Day Crop

You know I'm a huge fan of online crops with the Fiskateers!  When I saw that there was going to be a mini crop for the St. Patrick's Day weekend, I made some time to play along. There were only six challenges (a typical Fiskateer crop often has 12-24 challenges), so this was totally doable. 


Challenge 1: Kermit the Frog Here
Your challenge is to create something inspired by America's favorite 'GREEN' character - Kermit the Frog!  You can take this in any direction you wish.  Use the color combination of his character (lime green, with a pop of red, white and black), marry the colors of him and his lover girl Miss Piggy together on a project (green and pink), create a frog punch art embellishment, sew a frog stuffed toy, or make a card focused around his famous one-liner or a froggy-focused sentiment.
By happy coincidence, I had recently won some frog-themed patterned paper.  I cut a strip and layered it over cardstock and a dotted patterned paper.  As a final touch, I cut a party hat from patterned paper and popped it up.

 


Challenge 2: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
When I think of St. Patrick's Day, of course, I think of rainbows, don't you!?
Your challenge is to create something that clearly makes rainbow colors shine on your project!
I dug through my scraps and found a rainbow of colors.  I cut them into strips, glued them to a base, and matted that with black.  I stamped a sentiment on white, matted it on black, and added it to the card.  As a final touch, I colored in the "dot" of the i with Stickles for some shine.

 


Challenge 3: All that Glitters is Gold
At the end of the rainbow you're sure to find a pot of GOLD!  Your challenge is to create using gold products: fabric, paper, embellishments, glitter, paint, sequins, tissue paper, etc.
I started out with the intention to make the ENTIRE card gold.  I used shiny gold cardstock as a base and stamped it with gold ink.  I stamped a sentiment in gold ink, then embossed it with gold.  I added gold ribbon.  Alas, there wasn't enough contrast for the sentiment to show clearly, so I colored the letters in with a black pen.  



Tomorrow I'll share the other three challenges.

Monday, March 18, 2013

From Snow to Volcanoes

My inlaws own a cabin in gorgeous Bear Valley and we're able to use it several times a year. A few months ago, we chose a date in March when Trevor had some time off school, invited friends, and prepared for a fabulous 5-day weekend.  It was a beautiful day when we arrived at the cabin.



It only took us about 15 minutes to dig in.  Steve lit the fireplaces and turned on heaters while Trevor and I shoveled off the deck and stairs.  Then Steve turned on the water.  The water started flowing out of the WALL instead of a more appropriate location.  Long story short, what should have been a wonderful 5-day vacation with friends turned into a 33-hour "adventure" that bore no resemblance to a vacation at all.  

We came home and washed root beer snow cone syrup out of all of our belongings (because dealing with a broken pipe and no water is not nearly as fun unless a bottle of snow cone syrup spills into all the luggage in your car).  We invited the friends who'd planned to join us at the cabin to stay over at our house.  It wasn't quite as fun as a snow trip with them would have been, but we did have a fantastic time.  We ate, drank, chatted, and played Mad Libs in the evening...

 
... and spent the next day crafting!

 
Since our snowy vacation turned into not-snowy and not-vacation, it seemed appropriate to do a craft that is the opposite of cold.  So we made volcanoes.

I gathered our materials: watercolor paper, watercolor paints (blue/purple), construction paper (brown), tissue paper (red, orange, yellow), cotton balls, scissors and glue.  We started by covering the watercolor paper with blue and purple to make the sky.  When that dried, we cut construction paper to make the main volcano and other terrain and glued it to the background paper.  Finally, we added tissue paper to make lava and cotton balls to make smoke/steam.  What I love most about this project is that they all turned out so differently.  

Here's mine:   



This is Trevor's.

 
This one is Jonna's. 
 
And here is Steve's.  

 
I'd love to see how a whole classroom of students would interpret this project.  I imagine it would make a beautiful display.  

Our vacation definitely did not turn out how we'd planned, but we still managed to have a lot of fun with some great friends.  And now we have some awesome art filling our walls.  It's all a matter of looking on the bright side, right?  :)