August 12, 2019

Hiking Ricketts Glen

I was going to be writing about hiking in Harpers Ferry this month, but this past week we (my husband and I) found ourselves hiking one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania and I have to write about it right away. My urge to write is so strong that it’s keeping me from what I should be doing, which is writing a paper for my grad class.

So, where was this beautiful place? Ricketts Glen State Park - smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania. The drive was almost 3 hours: along the Susquehanna River and up and down the Appalachian Mountains. When we reached the park, we entered from Rt 487 at the Visitors Center. For the Falls Trail System, it is recommended that you park at Lake Rose Trailhead Parking. FYI - Cell service is scarce!

As we began the hike, I was overwhelmed by all the bright green moss and the lushness of the trail. It doesn’t take long to reach the first waterfall. And wow! The park has a total of 21 waterfalls ranging in height from 11’ to 37’ to the tallest at 94’. According to the park map/guide, the falls are mostly named after American Indian tribes, but a few are named after close family and friends of Colonel Robert Ricketts (the original landowner.)

The trail that continues along the creek is composed of large flat stones. The flat stones are used for steps for steeper sections of the trail. The first third of the hike is primarily hiking down, while the second third is climbing back up from the bottom of the falls. There are beautiful falls along both stretches. The last third of the hike is flat, dirt trail, which is a nice release after climbing up 300 feet of switchbacks and creek bridges.

I took so many pictures! The sound of the water was relaxing. We encountered an orange Gekko. The trail was wet and humid, but the breeze coming off the cascading water was refreshing. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes and bring bottled water.
To see our adventure, click on this Youtube link: 

*All photos taken and owned by me 

July 15, 2019

Handpainted Bookmark DIY

Those that have been following my Snowywinds art journey may have noticed that I like to paint on found or repurposed objects: clothespins, seashells, bricks, and denim.  Last year I did a DIY blog post on magnetic, clothespin chip clips. Today I’m going to share a few ideas for bookmarks made using tongue depressor sized craft sticks.

In addition to painting and hiking, I also love to read.  My interest in books led me to search Pinterest for DIY bookmark ideas.  I came across this Quick Craft from the blog DIY Home.  I decided to adapt this craft to my own artistic style.  Below are the materials and steps to create your own.

Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks 6" x 3/4"
Acrylic paint
Acrylic varnish
Paintbrushes and a stencil brush
Mini Stencils
Paint pallet
Wax paper
Step 1:
Paint the solid color. I use wax paper to prevent the sticks from sticking to my painting surface. *Depending on the age of the craft sticks, you may want to apply a multi-purpose sealer prior to painting the solid color.

Step 2:
Paint your design on the wooden piece you have chosen to be the front.  For the pineapple, banana, and strawberry designs, I used a mini stencil that I made myself.  A stencil brush helps prevent bleed through underneath the stencil.  

Step 3:
Once the base designs are stenciled on, next comes adding the detail.  I use a collection of very small paint brushes (I like to paint tiny.) Dots are added for extra color and pop.

Step 4:
Coat each wood piece with a clear varnish

*All photos taken and owned by me 

June 20, 2019

Creating with Canva

I was first introduced to Canva through an Etsy blog.  I was looking for a digital tool to assist me in making a new, professional looking banner for my Etsy shop. I also wanted to be able to set that banner at the proper dimensions for Facebook and my website as well. I was so pleased to see that Canva had formatting options in a variety of social media format sizes. Here is the first banner that I created (still a little clunky) and here is my newest banner.
 Snowywinds Etsy Shop

During most of the year, I am a high school Social Studies teacher. When it came time to teach a unit on the American culture of the 1950s, my mind started to think of ways I could have my students make a creative presentation. What digital tool could my students use to accomplish this task while also advancing my students’ technical skills? That’s when I recalled Canva! Canva is a graphic-design tool website.  Canva utilizes a drag-and-drop format with access to millions of images, graphics, and fonts.  After exploring Canva more, I learned that in addition to social media and website banner templates, it also has templates for brochures, posters, and, resumes to name a few.

                       music in the 1950s project                         

Through a combination of working on my Masters in Educational Technology and working on my crafting brand, I’ve continued to master Canva. I have used both the web application and the mobile app.  The mobile app is useful for creating collages from photos and directly sharing to Instagram (which still only allows uploads from mobile devices.) The main advantage of the web app is the larger screen size, but that larger screen also allows for more design icons to be viewed at once compared to the mobile app.
Screenshot of the mobile version
Screenshot of the web version
In conclusion, here are a few of my Canva projects...

Just this week, I created this Instagram post:

Here is an event post I created last year:

And here is a project for my grad class that I can also use to introduce myself to my new students in August:

February 12, 2019

Painting on Slate

My interest in painting slate goes back to when I was a kid in Girl Scouts.  Actually, a big chunk of my love of crafting, as well as my love of the outdoors, comes from my experience in Girl Scouts.  I first joined Scouts in first grade and I continued into college, at that point being the adult leading workshops for younger girls.  

painting of dragonfly and lotus flowerAbout five years after graduating college, I was redoing the yard of the house I was living in at the time, and I remembered that my parents had a stack of old slate shingles in their shed from past Girl Scout folk art projects. I used some of that slate to create stepping stones for the garden and painted some ivy designs on them.  It was then that I decided to once again recycle the slate shingle for hand-painted art. Instead of traditional ‘folk art’ designs, I chose to paint in my own style; colorful butterflies, flowers, & garden designs.

The design for each piece of miniature art is determined by the shape of the slate.  Larger pieces become wall-hangings featuring flowers or winter scenes. Smaller pieces become novelty magnets, little pieces of fridge art. Most recently I completed a series of four slate magnets.  The largest is roughly 2" x 1.5". The smallest is about the size of a quarter. Below is the series of steps of my slate painting.

After washing & drying, each slate gets a solid color background.

Some ideas come quicker than others...

or I get in a certain creative flow.

I use images of real butterflies when painting. 
Currently, slate magnets are for sale in my Etsy shop Snowywinds Studios.
Wall-hangings are currently only available at in-person events.  
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Until next time,

*All photos taken and owned by me