April, 2021 March came in like a lamb and went out the same way. It's an early spring, at least so far. The weather is beautiful, the roses have 2" sprouts and just got their first fertilizer meal of the season, and the seedlings in the greenhouse are looking forward to April 17, our last frost date, when they can go out in the garden. It's a beautiful time of year, the time of Easter. I just love the cheerful symbols of this season: cute rabbits, chicks, and ducklings!
A Sweet Pair of Bunnies
In 2015 I enjoyed a trip to England, specifically to a lovely little town, Henley-on-Thames. I was there for a week and enjoyed staying in just that one place and immersing myself in it. I spent each day walking through the town, even the days it rained. It would be so wonderful to live there!
I remember the old church, St. Mary's, built in 1204. It was fascinating to wander through the graveyard reading the inscriptions on the tombstones. And inside the church is an amazing effigy of Dame Elizabeth Periam who died in 1621 and was Sir Francis Bacon's sister.
Most of my wanderings, though, took me to the fabulous little shops. I was there in late March, just before Easter, and one thing that really struck me was how much the English celebrate Easter. The stores were stuffed with Easter-themed merchandise. It was difficult to limit my purchases, as I am a great fan of Easter, probably because of the plentiful images of rabbits, chicks, and ducklings. One thing I brought back with me was an assortment of Easter cards with charming illustrations.
This painting is a watercolor I did from the design of one of them. Watercolor is always difficult for me, but it was worth the struggle. The innocence and sweetness of these two rabbits always make me smile. Hope you smile too!
The needle-felting bug bit me again a few weekends ago and, as a result, I converted some of my supply of wool batting into this bunny. It was so fun! I'd have to say the best part was dressing her. I've done far more elaborate costumes in the past, but this body shape would have been really difficult to make a dress for because the arms are set so far forward, resulting in a narrow chest measurement and a wide back one. I wasn't quite up to that challenge, so I settled for a simple shawl.
I made the shawl from a piece of a vintage handkerchief which belonged to either my mother or grandmother, thought I'm not certain which. It seemed sort of plain though, so I added trim around the neckline. It's vintage lace which I think may be genuine tatting. I doesn't look machine made to me, but, again, I'm not certain.
I am certain, though, about the brooch and her ear ornament as they are both vintage jewelry - Denton china from England. The ear ornament is, appropriately, an earring. It was a screw back, so I just nipped off the screw part and then I could tighten the wire around the edge of her ear. (Ouch! Do any of you remember wearing those types of earrings? Or, equally painful, the clips?) It felt good to use the vintage items, especially the lone earring which is now saved from becoming trash!
Since she was all dressed up, she enjoyed a little walk through one of the fairy gardens!
A Very Fancy Egg!
It's not Faberge, but it's pretty nice anyway.
It's polymer clay, and the year I made it, I actually made a set of three. I used duck eggs because they're a little bigger than chicken eggs. The first step was to cut the hole in the egg shell with cuticle scissors. Then I covered the eggshell with a thin sheet of polymer clay. Perhaps surprisingly, that's the hardest part because it involves wrapping a flat sheet over the shape of the egg, so there's a lot of trimming and smoothing at the two ends.
At that point, I cured the polymer clay and was then able to pick out the eggshell from the inside. If I didn't do that, the polymer clay coating could eventually crack. Now for the fun part - sculpting the tiny rabbit and her basket with a chick inside.
Using the same clay as for the egg, I then sculpted the ribbon and rose for the top of the egg and the little pointy cone on the bottom. I embedded a loop of wire in the tip of the cone so I could attach the beaded tassel, and another wire loop in the rose so I could add a ribbon to hang the egg by. I made the tassel from seed beads and pearls, then added the finishing touch - a smattering of flatback Swarovski crystals.
By the way, I've heard that Swarovski crystal will soon be no longer available to the craft market. The company wants to enhance its high-end image, I guess. Well, there will be others, Preciosa, for example, but still it's a sad day for us crafters!
I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, a 15% discount in my Etsy shop, TheFoxesGarden. Profits from any sales from the Bear section will go to Idaho Black Bear Rehab. Everything in the shop is hand made by me. From April 5 through 19, just use discount code APRIL15 at checkout. I ship the day after I receive your order, and domestic shipping is free. Click on the image of the three rabbits to visit my shop! (By the way, the only items that are not discounted are my books Tales of Love and Courage from Milkweed Manor and A Milkweed Christmas - The Inn at Ivy Knoll. If I discounted them, I'd be selling at a loss.)
The News from Milkweed
I'm working on illustrations for this year's A Milkweed Christmas book. The badgers will be this year's hosts. So why the deer? This is the artwork for the dedication page, and my dedication will be to all my wildlife neighbors who bring my sister and me so much joy. I'm hoping the book will be out by August. Wish me luck!
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