Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Tree of Many Seasons

Here's a project I've been working on since August.  It's a tree that changes with the seasons!

The above is my January version :)  There's a mirror ball for New Year's Eve and critters are ready to get their party on!

I got the idea out of the Cricut Magazine (I can't remember which issue.  It was old one I borrowed from my mom).  The original had it on a square canvas and it was all done with paper and glued down. I thought it was really cute and would fill in this space nicely. 

When I was planning it out, I started to think how fun it would be if I could change the color of the leaves and remove them as the seasons marched on.  But how would that work?  After some brainstorming, I decided magnets would work best.

For my first attempt, I painted the canvas with magnetic primer.  Just in case your interested in trying it out, don't bother!  Even after 4 heavy coats, it wasn't very magnetic.  By the time I put a sheet of scrapbook paper over it, my strong kitchen magnets wouldn't stick!  Walt, my husband suggested screwing a piece of sheet metal onto the canvas.  So he loving cut out the metal, filed the corners, and screwed it on for me.

Next I made the background that would permanently stay on there.  I used a piece of blue sky paper for the sky, and three different greens for the hills.  I not only glue them together, but I used my sewing machine to outline them for a little character.

The tree came from the Cricut cartridge Stretch Your Imagination.  I found a neat wood grain paper at my local scrapbook store, Scrappin' Attack.  I also used the leaves from this same cartridge, but more about that later.  

Now that the background was done, I used some sticky glue dots to stick it to the sheet metal on my canvas.  I like how the canvas gives some dimension.

Up next, the leaves.  I used the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge again and cut out a ton of the leaves using the Cricut Magnet Material.  Then I cut the same design out of various greens, reds, oranges, and brown and glued them on to the magnet pieces.  Here's what I didn't like:  1)  the magnet paper is white, so if the paper doesn't match up EXACTLY, there's white showing around the edges.  & 2)  that magnet paper is really weak.  The leaves were having trouble sticking through multiple layers of paper. to solve the problem, I just bought a bunch of tiny super strong magnets and super glued them to the back of each leaf.  The added bonus, the leaves became more 3D!  

So now I have a large collection of leaves to use for the various seasons.  As you can see, for January, there are no leaves!  Here's my Thansgiving/November scene with fall leaves.

All of the characters are taken from the Create a Critter cartridge.  I love the whimsy!  & I just received the Create a Critter 2 cartridge for Christmas, which has even more holiday themed animals in it, so I'm really excited to start playing with that.  For these, I didn't use the magnet material, I just used good old card stock to make them sturdy then super glued one or more of those little magnets on the back.  I've also tried to make all the accessories separate so I can mix and match their hats!  

The last problem I had to overcome was finding a way to store them.  Dumping them all in to an envelope was not exactly working.  I ended taking another, smaller piece of sheet metal and sticking them to both sides, then putting that sheet into a big manilla envelope.  Then the stay organized and don't get all stuck together!

I'm really pleased with how this has turned out and think my son will have fun helping me change it every month as he gets older.  As I make more scenes, I'll be sure to post them!  Meanwhile, below are a few other ones I've done.

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