Snowflakes

It snowed today. Not a dusting, but actual snowfall. It made me think of a remarkable man known as “Snowflake Bentley.”

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amazon

Snowflake Bentley tells the true story of Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) who grew up in Vermont. He loved snowflakes and was determined to capture them on film.

Imagephotograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakeblentley

A self educated farmer, Bentley’s vision and determination led to being the first person to ever capture a snow crystal (snowflake) on film in 1885. During his lifetime, he captured 500 photomicrograph snowflakes.

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.” — Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley 1925

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

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photograph by Wilson Bentley via snowflakebentley

To learn more about this scientist/artist, visit the Jericho Historical Society in Vermont or view the Snowflake Bentley Online Exhibit.

In honor of this remarkable artist, I have added a snowflake pattern from usefuldiy.

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photograph via usefuldiy

Keep in mind, this is just to get you started. Remember, no two snowflakes are alike. Try making your own design.

Holiday Advent

It’s hard to believe, but there is only one week until Thanksgiving. Typically, we begin our Christmas decorating the next day so I thought it would be fun to share a project to help count down the days of December. This charming advent calendar was created by Lucy Atkins at Craftberry Bush.

Image     craftberrybush

To begin, I’d head over to the creative team at Boxwood Clippings to learn how to create a padded frame. Sarah and Emily provide directions here.

Once the frame is prepared, the rest of this project is quite simple. To make Lucy’s clay tags, you will need the following:

Materials:

Air dry clay or Sculpey

Paper tag

Straw

Rolling pin

Sharp craft knife

Fine grit sand paper

Pins

 howtomakeclaytagstutorialcraftberrybush

craftberrybush

Directions:

1. Roll out air dry clay or Sculpey over parchment paper. Roll the clay at least 5 mm.

2. Place a paper pattern over the clay. Using the rolling pin, roll over the tag so it leaves an indented outline on the clay.

3. With a sharp craft knife, cut around the edge of the tag.

4. With a straw, poke a hole at one end.

5. Remove any unwanted clay around the edges.  Smooth any rough edges and set it aside.

6. With a pin or toothpick, draw or stamp the number.

7. Allow to dry or cure as per the package instructions.

8. Once dry, gently sand edges and/or any imperfections on the tags.

9. With a thin brush, paint inside the numbers (optional).

claytags131415closeupcraftberrybush

craftberrybush

I like the simplicity of this advent calendar.  Each tag could list an activity to be performed rather than a treat or toy.

Perhaps the tags could include:

a helpful service, to be rendered

a scripture reference, to be read

a song, to be sung

an activity, to be enjoyed together

Ken Scott

photograph by Ken Scott, via pinterest

As the beginning of the season approaches, how will you count the days until Christmas?

Memory

When I was a child, I loved to play Memory. The goal is to collect the most pairs of cards. The challenge is to remember where the cards are hidden in a random assortment placed face down on a table.

Instructions

You begin by shuffling the cards and laying them face down on a table. The youngest player goes first. On each turn, a player turns over two cards one at a time. If the player successfully matches a pair, they keep the cards and take another turn. If the cards do not match, the player turns the cards face down again and the next player to the left takes a turn.

When all the pairs have been found, the player with the most pairs wins.

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This Christmas, I thought it would be fun to give a family tree version of this game.

ImageAs our family grows and settles in different locations, it is important to us to keep in touch with our history.  Using the template below, I took family photos and placed them in each square.

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Photos may include current and historical portraits.  Another fun idea is to include beloved family pets in the card deck.

Using the back template below, copy these double-sided pages on cardstock.

ImageNext, trim the excess outside blue border leaving only the white edge showing. Cut on the light grey vertical and horizontal lines to finish your cards.

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This game is fun for the whole family.  It may even start a conversation about each individual represented in the deck.  Family stories and memories will add heart to this simple but timeless game.

It’s A-L-I-V-E!!!

This week, there is a pumpkin carving contest at work.  For inspiration, I naturally think of Ray Villafane’s genius.

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photograph via dailyartfixx

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photograph via dailyartfixx

villafane-chubby cheeks

photograph via maqet

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photograph via dailyartfixx

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photograph via villafanestudios

villafane-Goofy Zombie

photograph via fadedandblurred

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photograph via roughwaterjohn

Are you inspired yet?

Here is a simple tutorial by the master pumpkin carver himself:

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photograph via villafanestudios

Once a teacher, always a teacher…

To learn more about Ray Villafane, visit:

http://villafanestudios.com/about-artists/ray-villafane/

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photograph via ibtimes.co.in