Friday, May 3, 2013

Neapolitan Ice Cream and Rattlesnakes

Sometimes the Color My Heart challenge colors just flow...and sometimes they require ice cream to get the creative juices flowing.

This week's challenge was to use Cocoa and Saddle together with one other color.  I pulled this, that, and the other out of my stash, but nothing screamed, "Pick me! Pick me!" until Cotton Candy came on the scene. There is a warm undertone to Saddle and a cool undertone to Cocoa so, even though they are both brown, there's a bit of a clash going on.  I decided to play that up by letting the Saddle be something big but not overwhelming.

I used both Artiste and Art Philosophy cuts.  The cone is actually the tree on p. 31 of Art Philosophy. Using my Design Studio, I shortened the length of the tree to give it a broader width to depth ratio. The ticket shape also comes from Art Philosophy on p. 25.  The ice cream scoops are from p. 69 in Artiste.  If you only have the Art Philosophy cartridge, you can use the cupcake shape from p. 70 and cut off the bottom.  (It just wastes a little extra paper which was unnecessary for me since I also own Artiste.)  I did trim the Cocoa colored ice cream scoop to add some variety to the shape.  It's turned upside down from the Cotton Candy scoop, and the white scoop is flipped so the two bottom edges are a little different.

Non-CTMH products used here are the doilie,  ribbon (CTMH sells something similar only with Cocoa and cream colored stripes but I wanted white stripes), and embossing folders.  The swirl one you can get at a local craft store; the one on the cone is from Stampin' Up.  After I embossed each shape, I sponged them with their coordinating colors to bring out the texture.  On the cone, I beefed up the edges because darker colors recede so it makes the edges "fall away" and rounds the cone.  I even dabbed a tiny bit of Cocoa on the edge of the cone to intensify the receding effect.

Cotton Candy works well with Cocoa because both have a cool, bluish undertone.  Because the card is mostly brown, I needed more of the Cotton Candy color than the one ice cream scoop so it didn't look "lonely" on the rest of the card.  I added the ticket first. (LOVE that mini clip!)  The picture doesn't show it well, but the whole ticket has Cotton Candy sponged over it with more along the edges. It didn't have enough Cotton Candy "oomph" though with just the sponging, so I added the thumbprint.  I'm not sure what inspired me to use my thumb rather than a stamp...maybe the ice cream was melting???  The sentiment comes from Piece of Cake (retired) and is stamped in Cocoa.  Even with the Cotton Candy ticket, I still didn't have enough of the pink to balance out all that brown.  Cotton Candy puff ball ribbon to the rescue!  Too bad it's retired.  However, if you want to recreate this card, you could very easily substitute Hollyhock and use the coordinating Zipper Lace.  Now, if you are really paying attention, you'll see that my sewing only goes from one edge of the puff ball ribbon to the other.  Yep...tried to get the sewing foot to go over those puffs but nothin' doin'!

If I weren't limited on the colors by the challenge, I think I would have added a cherry (p. 70 of Artiste) on top of the ice cream cone.  Maybe not.  I'd want to play around with it and see if a red cherry clashed.  Oh...and maybe I could have cut tiny bits of Cocoa baker's twine and sprinkled them on top. Or...

Better quit while I'm ahead.

Now...if you were here last week and wondered about my trip to Mangum, OK for their 48th Annual Rattlesnake Derby, here are some pictures to give you a little flavor of the event:

 Jack, our tour guide, was one of the founding members of the rattlesnake derby.  This year they were paying about $10 per pound for snakes and anticipated about 2000 lbs. coming in.  On average, one snake weighs a pound and a half. We went out to an inactive rattlesnake den where he talked about how to be safe.  If you look closely, you can see the snake in the clump of grass about three feet in front of him.
 See that silver box in the background?  It was on the bus when we boarded.  Right in front where you had to pass by it.  Only after we are at our destination do they pull it out and let you know that there are two rattlesnakes in there.  Yeah...not sure I would  have boarded if I'd known that.

Jack is showing us the difference between a boy rattlesnake and a girl rattlesnake.  Girls will only have three rings.  Boys have more.  Not sure why I care because, if I see one in the wild, I'm not sticking around long enough to count the rings, that's for sure!
 Betcha didn't think I'd do it!  But I kept it as far away from me as possible.  
And could I look any more like I'm questioning my own sanity.
 Two guys walk around in a pit filled with rattlesnakes.  And, yes, they have some other, non-venomous snakes curled around their necks which totally freaked me out when the snakes curled up under their chins or licked their cheeks.  Bleh!!  The guys wear Kevlar enforced boots, though, so they aren't complete idiots.
 Even though you are separated from the snakes by double mesh, I didn't get much closer than the woman on the left.  I did see some teenage boys banging on the screens and trying to get the snakes to attack.  Stupid kids!  I almost wish they'd been bitten just to see how tough they were with venom racing through their veins.  Go ahead, call social services on me.  My kids are grown and gone. 
Nope!  Not on your life!!  And certainly not on my life!!!

I will say this, I learned a ton.  The most fascinating thing to me was talking to a man who milks snakes.  He  uses a long hook to pull one from a box, flop it on a table, and smush the area just behind the snake's head so he can pick it up with his hand.  He squeezes the sides of the "neck" until the mouth opens and hooks the fangs over a funnel (the same way the fangs are hooked over the metal in the snake pit picture above).  He squeezes the snake's cheeks and out squirts the venom.  All this must be done by hand because there's no machine that can duplicate the process.

Snake venom is selling for $274 per gram right now.  There's a shortage because drought has killed so many snakes.  Venom creates anti-venom, and anti-venom has a shelf life, so new venom is constantly in demand.  Venom is also used for pharmaceuticals.  There are 34 different medications, including anti-coagulants to prevent heart attacks and blood clots, on the market which have been created by synthesizing different properties of snake venom.

Like I said...fascinating.  Great research for my current novel!!

Until next time,


  1. You are much braver than I am! Saw your photo on the ECA's website and thought I'd pop on over to say hello!

    1. Hello, Amy! Are you still in Japan??

    2. Yes, we are still in Okinawa. We are really enjoying it. It's been a great transition into military life for us.

  2. Were you seriously eating ice cream while you were making this card? LOL that sounds like me. :) Well, it worked, because you did an amazing job! I really love the cone especially. That embossing folder is perfect for it. And thanks for taking us through your thought process. I especially like the part about making the cone look rounded. BTW I cringed at most of your snake pictures, but it really does look fascinating.

    1. No...I wasn't ACTUALLY eating ice cream, but I was certainly THINKING about it! :)

  3. Becca, your card is fabulous! I love all the textures you used to create the ice cream cone and the ribbons too. Your card is perfect just the way it is--you don't need a red cherry on the top! Interesting read about your rattlesnake adventures--I didn't know that you write novels!

    :) Marie

  4. Your ice-cream cone is worthy of Willy Wonka! Love all the layers and embossing--so rich. Also love all the sewing you're doing on your cards recently. My machine is currently buried under several layers of paper...
    Can't believe the rattlesnakes! Fascinating and creepy at the same time. I'm intrigued by how all that's going to end up in your novel!


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