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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Orchid Beauty - OSAAT #263

Hi my friends and Happy Sunday and Happy Memorial Day weekend. I hope you are enjoying your weekend and time off on Monday if you have it. While you are enjoying yourselves, don't forget to give some thought  to those who gave their lives for our freedom that we enjoy.

I have a very simple card to share with you today.  It's called Orchid Beauty. This was a package deal - I got the digital papers along with the image and just love the colors. They are from Coosty Creations.
I used a sentiment from an old Hero Arts set that I've had for a long time, but I love all the different sentiments, so I hang on to it. I used Crisp Cantalope cardstock from Stampin Up. It was just perfect with the digital papers.  The bling and lace trim are from my statsh.

The theme from One Stitch at a Time is Anything Goes with Stitching ( real or faux).  Mine is faux stitching.  The Copic Markers I used were YG61, YG63, YG67; YR000, YR14, YR61, YR62.

Our sponsor for this challenge is our own Stitchy Bear Stamps and one lucky winner will receive a $10 gift card to use at the store.
I hope you'll come play along with us. Don't forget to hop on over to the Challenge Blog to see what the rest of the Design Team have to share with you.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bashful Dream

Hello again my friends. Happy Sunday. I hope you are doing okay. I can't believe that it's the middle of May already. We're in another rainy pattern. I thought it was April showers bring May flowers!  We're having May showers which you know will bring the hot and humid Summer!

Well, on the the post at hand. This fortnight our them over at One Stitch At A Time is Anything Goes With Hot Colors!  Here is my card for a little bit of inspiration.
Materials Used:
  • Image - Bashful - Stitchy Stamps
  • Sentiment - Tim Holtz Idea-Ology, Small Talk collection
  • Cardstock - XPress It Blending Card; Stampin Up Calypso Coral and Concord Crush
  • Designer Paper - Prima - Rose Violet collection
  • Accessories - Purple rick rack from my stash; Wild Orchid Crafts - Flowers; Martha Stewart Leaf Punch
  • Copic Markers - B0000; E07, E09; E50, E51, E53; BV01, BV13, BV25; RV02, RV13, RV14; RV55;YR07, YR14, YR16
I hope you'll join in on the fun this time. Hop on over to the OSAAT Challenge Blog and see what the rest of the Design Team have for your inspiration. You could be chosen as one of the Top 3 or you could be our random drawn winner of a $10 Gift Card from Stitchy Stamps.
I am submitting this card for the following challenges:
Card and Scrap - Flowers
Card Mania - Flowers
Classic Design Team Open Challenge - Anything Goes
Crafty Enjoyments - Lots of Flowers
Creatalicous Challenge - Anything Goes
World Wide Open design Team Challenge - Anything Goes
The Crazy Challenge - 3 Layers or More

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

Hi my friends and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, whether they be your own children, your nieces, nephews, fur babies or adopted children that you nuture and care for in any which way. I have something a little different for you today. Besides my stamping therapy, I have started another hobby in which I also nuture some of God's most wonderful creatures - the Monarch butterfly. Monarchs are endangered so there is a wide-spread movement to save them and help them to replenish their species. I just started this project last Spring, but it sure has taken off and they do take a good chunk of my free time every day (which isn't that much to begin with since I also have a full time job).

Some friends have asked me about raising these butterflies and what all it entails, so I thought I would do this blog post to show you what Monarchs are and what to do to help them save the species.

First of all to get Monarchs or any kind of butterfly you need to attract them to your yard. You need to have the kind of flowering plants that they like where they can get the nectar to sustain their own life. Then you need to have a place where they can lay their eggs and something for food for their offspring - baby caterpillars.

 Here is part of my garden where I have flowering plants. I also have a rose garden and other shrubs and plants around the yard that will attract the butterflies.

This is the first step, next you need to have plenty of Milkweed plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on. These are called Host Plants. They lay their eggs and then when the caterpillars hatch, they eat the leaves (devour is more like it) and grow to be big enough to turn into a chrysalis. This is my milkweed garden area which has about 1/2 dozen milkweed plants planted where the butterflies can come and lay their eggs.

I also have to keep some in pots to put in the butterfly hutch where they are transferred in order to keep them safe from predators and be able to have a safe place to become a chrysalis.

This is the butterfly hutch that I had built.  It will hold 6, 1 gallon pots of Milkweed. 
 Here is a little caterpillar that probably hatched a few days ago. I take this and put it in one of the pots in the hutch so it will have more food to grow on.
They continue to eat and grow until they get to be about this big.  Then they are ready for their next step - becoming a chrysalis.

When they get ready to change, they climb to the top of the hutch which is screen but they don't need a hutch to attach, it can be anywhere outside like a windowsill, door jamb, even one of the milkweed plants, and they attach themselves. Here's a look inside the upper part of the hutch where you can see tons of chrysalises hanging down. I always thought that they spun a web around the caterpillar in order to make the chrysalis, but they actually shed their outer skin and the chrysalis is formed inside.
These are all fairly new ones. You can see some that are clear which are ones that butterflies have already hatched from.
Before they hatch, the chrysalis gets dark as the butterfly forms inside. You can see the colors through the skin. Here is a more recent photo showing many empty shells and a few dark ones that are getting close to hatching. I have a couple boards across the top to keep rain from pouring down on top of them.
My great desire is to see these transformations happen.  Would love to see one shedding it's skin and also see one coming out of the chrysalis.  That hasn't happened yet. There is no clear way to tell when either event will happen without sitting out there all day and night waiting for it to happen. I haven't gotten that desperate yet.  ;) Here are some butterflies that have recently hatched. It takes some time for their wings to dry and for them to be able to fly. If it's warm I keep them in the hutch during the day and will release them in the evening before it gets dark.
Since I got started this year, I've been able to release over 40 butterflies. These days I don't keep track anymore.  I'm putting more in the hutch and releasing more butterflies every day.  Every day now at least one butterfly comes back and flies all around my yard and will visit the blooming flowers for some nectar. I like to think that they are coming home from where they started.
Well, that's about it. I hope you enjoy this little walk through showing how a Monarch butterfly becomes a butterfly.  If you want to know more, there are many websites where you can find answers to your questions.