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Easy DIY Father’s Day Plaque

I’m in a pensive mood tonight, and realize it would be quite easy to ramble on about any number of topics.  So I turned to my iPhone for inspiration.  I began scrolling through all the photos and videos stored within my happy little device (yes, I imagine it’s a happy device, it’s well loved and frequently held, I believe it would feel cared for and treasured much like the old rocking horse or velveteen rabbit).  That’s when I realized, I never did share the Father’s Day project we came up with for Pop Pop.  I suppose it’s about time I gave up a few details on that one.  🙂

My Dad is a squirrel nut (pun intended, obviously).  He feeds them at the lake, and collects pictures, stories and the like.  I’m not really sure how his collection started – it’s really only as old as the girl is… so it’s not a long standing one.  One day we just kinda all seemed to agree that we should give him squirrel related gifts, and thus a collection was born.  I have to say, it’s a better idea than the Xena Warrior Princess figurine my husband and I jokingly gave him a decade or so ago – gotta love a scantily clad warrior princess, right?  LMAO

So I had this idea, that the girl and I should create a squirrel crossing sign for him, you know… for at the lake.  Problem was, I couldn’t find the materials I needed.  What I did come across though, was this cool tree round with the bark still on.  I bought it, not quite sure what it would become, but I loved it and knew I’d figure something out.  By the time we got home?  I knew it would be the perfect canvas for a squirrel picture.

Now, I’m not a cartoonist.  Impressionism I can do – in fact, I spent a number of years working as an impressionist painter and illustrator (sold quite a few pieces too) before I traded in my brushes for a camera.  So I’m not lacking in some skill, but cartooning has never been my strength.  I even tried my hand at some basic folk art, gave the results to my siblings (who were still wee things at the time)…  I see them all the time at my parents place and… well…  yeah…  cartooning/folk art?  Was not my strength even back then.  So clearly I would not be freehanding anything.

While the girl was occupied, I did some looking online for a “squirrel colouring page”.   Thanks to Bing (yes, I bing rather than google stuff) I found a few super cute little doods.  I asked kid kid which was her favourite, and we had our inspiration.  I downloaded it, resized it, and printed it out.

Now, like I said… I’m not a cartoonist – but I do have a pretty good eye.  So what I did was to hold the print out in place over the wood, and using the back of a paint brush (no, I didn’t trade them ALL in), I traced/etched a few lines to help with the proportions.  I etched six or seven little notches, but I imagine you could actually do the entire drawing if you can’t freehand at all.  Personally?  I have no patience for things like that – but if you can’t draw?  I think it would work just fine.  Then I took out one of my paint pens (just a plain black one) and sketched the line drawing out.  If you did etch the whole thing, you could then just trace over your etching to give you the black outline.  That gave me this:

A squirrel for pop pop

If you look closely at the paper, you can see where I’ve etched/traced a line here and there.  And comparing the two you can easily see the differences too.  LOL  But it’s not about creating an exact replica, it’s about having something that gives the impression of what you are creating.  Clearly, that doesn’t look like a REAL squirrel…  but you see it, and you know that’s what it is.  So whatever you create, the idea is for it to give the impression of the thing.  If you can tell what it is?  You’ve succeeded.  🙂  And for us, this particular squirrel holding a strawberry is significant.  I’ve called Lily-Ann “my strawberry” since the day she was born.  So finding a colouring page illustration of a squirrel holding one?  Pretty cool….  and I think that’s what swayed the girl to this particular free use image.

After the black ink was dry, I just let the girl have at it.  She painted it.  And to be honest?  I was actually downright shocked at how well she did.  She was only four at the time!  At one point she even had me stumped:

“Momma?”  she asked.

“Yes Lily-Ann.”

“Can I have the white paint again?”

“What do you need white for?”

“The strawberry.”

“Oh…  you don’t need white on the strawberry, do you?”

“Yes Momma, I do.”

So I dug out the white paint again (totally thinking she was going to make a mess of the very pretty berry she’d already created).  You can imagine my surprise when my girl, who doesn’t do anything gingerly or daintily, ever so carefully touched the very tip of her brush into the paint and dabbed a tiny highlight on the strawberry.  I shouldn’t have doubted her, or questioned her vision, but she showed me.  LOL  She knew exactly what she was doing.  And here’s the result:

The finished plaque - a pretty painting for Father's Day of a delightful little red and brown squirrel.

After it dried it just needed a couple of coats of sealant (which I did without the girl, don’t need her breathing in that scary stuff) and it was ready for Father’s Day.  All in all, a very cool project.  We had fun doing it, it turned out fabulously – and was well received.  A successful project to store in the memory bank.  🙂

Recoup and Recover

I could certainly do with a few days to recoup and recover…  It’s been a crazy week, and I’m feeling completely worn out and exhausted.  But no.  That’s just not in the cards (not for a mom with a high need little girl, anyway).

To attempt a recap?  I’m not sure I could even do it.  But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share a little more again as things settle down. For now though, I do hope you’ll forgive me.  Two boring blog posts in a row?  *slaps self on wrist*  BAD BLOGGER, BAD!  I’ve been punished, and hopefully tomorrow I’ll come through with shining colours.  Maybe then I’ll be able to actually share a tutorial or two for the fabulous gifts I helped the girlie to craft for her Dad and Pop Pop.  See you then!

A full life, a good life.

Tonight is one of those nights where if I were someone who actually planned out their blog posts I might have something to write about.  LOL  But I’m not.  The fact of the matter is that my muse is pulling me in a few different directions and I’m feeling somewhat scattered because of it.

I want to write about the fabulous Father’s Day crafts the girl and I have been working on…  but if either my Dad or hers actually read the post it would ruin the surprise.  I want to write about a MW friend of mine who’s ghost hunting stories got me thinking about all the things out there we don’t really know about.  I want to write more about Skippyjon Jones, and my surprise at how few people I know have heard about this fabulous series of books.  I want to write about the fact that kid-kid is going to be “graduating” from pre-k this month, and what choices we’ve made about our next step.  So… yeah…  kinda being pulled in a few too many directions just now.  😉

Do you ever have one of those days?  When you’ve spent time working on so many different projects, and thinking about so many different things, that you’re just left feeling kinda scattered at the end of it?  The girl and I do so many fabulous things (today we actually drew our own chalk zoo on the sidewalk in front of our house – complete with lion, 2 crocodiles who’s heads we created by tracing our butts and legs, a baby elephant who’s nose is too big for her face, a hippopotamus, a bear wearing blue jeans and loafers, and a bunch of people who came to see them all), and I always have so much on the go that the problem is rarely coming up with something to write about – rather it’s narrowing down to ONE thing to share.

I really do love everything I’m involved in, and the fact of the matter is, I’ve actually cut back a great deal.  I’m no longer the President of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, nor am I associated with Camp fYrefly, and I haven’t been dedicating the time to scrapbooking that I used to.  I’m also done with dog shows (at least for the next month or so – I doubt I’ll ever actually be done with them, I love them too much).  Yet my plate is still happily full.  And of everything I do?  I love the things I do with, or for my daughter the best…  and that includes a LOT of things.  😉

Whenever Lily-Ann and I get talking, I can’t help but emphasize to her how lucky we are…  in so very many ways.  But one of the simplest is that our lives are full of love.  We both have so many people who love us and care about us.  And that is a very big deal.

Yep.  It’s a good life.

The girl, posing on her “sitting rock” on our way to school today.

Being that it’s Father’s Day…

I figured I’d try to keep on topic.  But I’m also going to try to be brief.  After working 13+ hour days from Friday through Saturday, and then being busy today too… well…  I’m wiped right out.

Today (after a photo shoot at the U of S) we headed to my parents place to celebrate Father’s day with my husband and my Dad.  It was a pleasant surprise to find my Grampa there too.  As I shared pictures of our puppies (who are now four weeks old) I realized that this might be the perfect opportunity to share the blog post I made in his honour.  So I did just that.

I tried not to spy, as Grampa read through my words.  But I noticed him tearing up, pulling out his old cloth hanky to wipe his eyes and quietly blow his nose.  Afterwards he took the laptop in to Grandma Joan (who was sitting in the other room playing a game on the Wii with my parents and siblings) so she could read it too.

Grampa came back into the kitchen, where I was sitting, and relayed a few memories from some of our camping trips when I was a wee thing.  I’m glad he got the chance to read it.  And of all the days he could have read it on, I’m glad it was today.

Grampa gave me an extra tight squeeze, and a kiss on the cheek when he left.  And Grandma Joan said she thought that it was a lovely thing I’d written about him.  It was a good Fathers Day.  🙂

Haven’t read my post about my Grampa?  Head on over HERE to do so.

So, here’s my thank you.  To my Dad, to my Grampa, to all the men out there who love, nurture, protect and respect their children.  Who give us the space we need to grow, but the guidance to do so safely.  Who are steadfast, true, and ever present – even when we (in the moment) may wish they weren’t.  Who hold us tightly in their hearts, and in their arms too.  To all of you, THANK YOU!  We wouldn’t be who we are without you.  You are appreciated, and what you do matters.  Happy Father’s Day!

A weeks worth of photographs

I know… it’s been a little while since my last post.  And I was doing so well too.  LOL

You know, I think I may continue this blog even past the project 365 challenge.  But I’ll make a bit of a change.  The whole reason I haven’t posted was because I’m photo’d out.  I’ve been working on my new photography site, which means combing through thousands and thousands of old photos from the last couple of years.  So honestly?  I just wasn’t up to looking at any more photographs.  I took pictures every day, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull them up on the computer.  So I didn’t.

We are now past the half way point in the year.  And I really have come to enjoy my daily blog time.  The only obstacle that keeps me from it occasionally is the photography end of it.  There are times when I’m just feeling like my brain is made of mush…  and while I’d be able to post while feeling this way (today for example), I don’t feel creative.  And, for me, photography requires muse.  So perhaps, next year I’ll continue posting every day, but follow the example of others, and share in “Wordless Wednesday” with a purely photographic post.

Anyway.  Lots has been going on this last week, and I’m a little burned out.  I’m coming down with a cold, which is never fun.  So I’ve ramped up the intake of herbs to try to keep the virus at bay.  LOL  At the very least it should help lessen the severity of it, and perhaps shorten it a tad too.

Okay… on to the photographs.

Oh!  heh heh…  one more thing.  For those of you who do check in on me regularly, what keeps your interest?  Are you here for the photos, or are you here to read?  You don’t have to share, but I am curious.  And it may help decide the future of the blog, past this year.

Friday, June 18th

We had a busy day.  Lots of running around, including a doctors appointment for the wee girlie (who, thankfully, loves going to see the doctor).  We couldn’t get in to see our GP (funny thing?  GP, depending on the circles you’re in, can mean general practitioner, guinea pig, or german pointer) so headed to the minor emergency clinic we use.  The doctor we saw thinks the wee girlie may have asthma.  She’s too young for the test, but he said her symptoms point that direction… especially considering there is a family history.  Not sure how I feel about this yet.

beautiful sleeping girlie

Sleeping Beauty

Saturday, June 19th


Natasha (my cousin) came into town this weekend, so the whole family got together at my parents place.  It was so nice to see the babies (Clyde and Hudson) who are on either side of the one year mark…  well…  they were last weekend.  Both are now over one.  🙂  I love family gatherings, I always have.  So this was a really nice treat.

The wee girlie was so good with the boys.  She shared all her toys, and even bounced them on the trampoline.  She really enjoyed having them around.  Well, until Hudson borrowed her highchair.  LOL  Of all the things in the world for her to hold sacred, I never would have expected it to be her highchair.  As soon as Natasha put him in it, she came over to me with this indescribable look on her face.  She tugged the sleeve of my shirt (to ensure she had my attention I suppose), and said in a very serious tone “Momma, that baby has GOT to GO.”

Picking a photograph to mark the occasion was really difficult.  So many wonderful new memories formed today.  In the end though, I had to go with this one.  Jamie (my pregnant cousin) and Ron (who lives at my parents place) comparing bellies.  I’m not sure Ron really understood why everyone was so excited about Jamie’s belly, after all, he’s got a nice one himself.  ;D

comparing bellies...

Baby? Bellies!

Saturday, June 20th

Happy Fathers Day!  We had a lovely day today.  Spent the afternoon and evening with my Dad.  I feel very fortunate to have such wonderful men in my life.  My Dad is awesome, my Grampa is amazing, and my husband is fabulous.  Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I love them all very deeply, and am so grateful they are so involved in my life.

Here’s Lily-Ann and her Pop Pop (my dad) filling up the bird feeder we got him.  The wee girlie was being a little goofy, but that’s just par for the course.  😉

Lily-Ann and her Pops

Monday, June 21

Here’s the wee girlie putting some stickers on the poster she got from the library last week.  Stickers she got at the co-op of Cooper the bear (their mascot).

Not every day can be super interesting.  😉


Tuesday, June 22nd

Okay… now I’m just getting tired of sitting here.  LMAO  So here are the pictures, a la wordless wednesday tradition (and yes, I know it’s not wednesday).

Swingset (taken from the car window).

Wednesday, June 23

Another of a sleeping girlie

Thursday, June 24th

Okay, technically this isn’t a picture I took…  but I the wee girlie knew I was pulling out my phone to snap a quick shot of something, and she asked if she could do it instead.  So I said sure, and handed her the phone.  She took a picture of me sitting in the car.  🙂

Me (by the wee girlie)

So that’s the last week.  🙂  Will have something else to post tonight, but I haven’t taken a photo for today yet.  LOL  See you then.

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