Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Birds are Back

Feed the birds.
Tuppence a bag.
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.

From where I sit, I can almost see the birdfeeder on our deck. I have heard, now and then, the birds chirping in the morning when I take the dog out for her morning constitutional. Could it be that spring is really about to make a comeback? I love winter, but the thought of spring, of green, of flowers and of birds cannot help but make me smile. Since snow is in the forecast, it is a little hard to believe, but, perhaps, the birds know a little more about the weather to come than the computer models and the Old Farmers Almanac. We can hope.

I remember that my mother had a parakeet in a cage in the family room of our home when I was a very small girl. I had originally thought I imagined it - this little yellow bird in its little yellow cage on a pole in front of the huge picture window. My mom has confirmed, however, that this bird and this cage really did exist. I have no idea what happened to that little bird, but somewhere between my toddler years and elementary school, she disappeared.

I was never really been a bird person and never really gave birds much thought.  When my younger son was in Kindergarten, though, there was a feeder on a pole outside his classroom window. The kids would fill the feeder and watch the birds. I assumed there was some lesson about birds at some point, but I did not dwell on it. The kids enjoyed it and, in fact, so did the parents.

At the end of that year, the class parents decided it was time to replace the tired feeder with a new one. So, a shiny new feeder on a long pole became her class gift. That was twelve years ago. That teacher is now the school librarian, but that feeder is still there, outside that classroom and probably over 250 children have enjoyed it in the years since.

I decided I liked this idea, too, and, so, my husband and I got a feeder on a pole as well. We planted it where a tree had recently died and been removed. It nicely filled the space. We watched the birds from our deck as they handily scratched at the seed, picking what they wanted and discarding the rest. Most of it ended up on the ground - where it sprouted and grew nicely into an abundance of ugly weeds. We bought more desirable food after that.

One summer, however, the screw holding the feeder to the pole had rusted so much that we couldn't get the feeder down to fill it without using a ladder. Its time had passed. A Japanese maple had started to grow nearby anyway so we removed the feeder and let the little tree grow.  It is nearly fifteen feet tall now and fills the space nicely as had the feeder before it.

Now, we have a smaller feeder on our deck. We fill it before snowstorms so the little things will have something to eat. I even sprinkle a little food around for the squirrels who have yet to figure out how to steal food from the birds. Unfortunately, we cannot get to the feeder right now as our deck is completely covered with snow, barricading the door from the house to the deck. It is melting, though, so, soon, very soon, we can once again, feed the birds.

When I was a little girl, I did not give birds very much thought, but my favorite movie was (and might still be) Mary Poppins. And my favorite song from Mary Poppins might just be Feed the Birds.

And, so, we do.


Layout Notes

Snow Birds

The large bird is a piece of chipboard from Clear Scraps.  I painted it white and then glued diecut snow paper on top.  Then I painted the whole thing red.  I sanded the raised areas to reveal some of the snowflakes. I did the same with some paper which is the cover of a small book with many more birds photos.  The tree branch is hand cut.  The snow is by Mud Puddles.

Supplies: patterned paper - Basic Grey; cardstock - Coredinations/Tim Holtz, Bazzill; chipboard bird - Clear Scraps; paint - Plaid; lace paper - KI Memories; snowflakes - recycled from homemade holiday card; chipboard letters - Target; spray ink - Tattered Angels; brads - unknown source; snow - Mud Puddles, marker - Micron; magnet (on accordian book) - Bazzill.

Feed the Birds

Branches were cut with a Tim Holtz die in a Sizzix machine.  I folded the piece of paper in half before putting it through the machine to make the branch on the right side twice as long. The fold was placed so it would not cut out two pieces, but one long piece.  I then trimmed the branches to make it less symmetrical.  The snow is paint.  I stamped dots of snow with a Tim Holtz stamp from Stampers Anonymous.  I used the same stamp on a few places in the photos as well.

The birds are wood, from Maya Road.  I painted them black and then drybrushed white paint on the chest areas to resemble the bird in the photo.  The eyes are a dot of Viva Paint. I stamped them with a little bit of snow as well.

The charms, both metal and wood, were gilded with Ranger Alcohol inks so they would all be gold. This works better if you smear the ink on with a piece of felt rather than dabbing it on in the usual fashion.

Supplies: cardstock - Paper Company, Bazzill; patterned paper - Authentique; birds - Maya Road; paint - Folk Art, Viva; tree branch - cut with Tim Holtz die; stamp - Stampers Anonymous; chipboard letters - Basic Grey; sticker letters - Making Memories; markers - Y and C Gel Extreme; charms/wooden shapes - unknown (wooden birdhouses, bird's nest charm, bird charm), Blue Moon - large bird charm, Magenta (pewter charm); chain - unknown; ink - Ranger Alcohol Ink, Tsukineko; glaze - Vintaj.