15 October, 2020

Conditioning at its best

Inspired by the autumn season, I created a simple card using a beautiful Nina Štajner squirrel. 
The card might remind you of the little bird I made some time ago, and in fact I cut the image from the same cover of a paper collection because why not use covers as well if they feature such wonderful motifs? 
Since the image is rather large, I decided to display it prominently across my card, and for a touch of seasonal colours I decided to go with a kraft card base. For the background, I used a strip of a soft beige background paper, which was featured on the birdy card as well - I swear I didn't plan to use the same elements all over again, but it somehow aligned and it now looks as if I'm recycling my old ideas!
Anyways, there are differences, too: instead of a button, I added a couple of cream pearls on the lower part - enough for a little "extra" without diverting attention from the main motif.
The only thing that doesn't look like autumn in the card is actually the blooming branch, which would resemble spring and springtime squirrel mood. 

Because despite all the autumn colours and squirrel stuff, the real inspiration probably lies in the first warm days of the year when I took a walk through park Tivoli and one of those fluffy climbers hopped along. I managed to make him get closer, but he took off as soon as he realized I didn't have anything edible with me. I felt so bad that I actually went to the market to get some nuts, and returned to the park to see if I can find him again and apologize. I'm not sure whether I met the same one, but I had an actual squirrel eating from my hand that day. 
Of course they don't stay anywhere near you once the get their goodies, but I was beyond myself - I had no idea at that time that some people are occasionally feeding them, and I'm sure they're still more or less wild animals who come only once they have some basic trust in you, and even then only if they please.
And so I began to walk through Tivoli more often, figuring out the best times and best spots to observe them, as well as their food preferences. 
I enjoyed their poses and fights, and their acrobatics.
I learned how to call them effectively, and realized how different every single one of them is: the brown one, the orange one, the small one, the fluffy one, the one with a dark spot on the back, the mom with her prominent teats...
And no matter how I tried, I always felt bad when there was nothing left - but then again there's nothing like those tiny paws checking your palm, and those little noses sniffing around!
I'd go to the park early in the morning because it meant there'd be less people, especially less dog walkers. I love those quadrupeds, too, but the squirrels just won't come if there's a furry boy waiting by the tree trunk, no matter how good he is. 
And after a while, the little cuties seem like they're posing even though I believe it's just their general looks and curiosity on display. 
And the best thing? I believe that some of them must remember me from previous years as they didn't need much of training this year compared to last season, or the one before. 
And who'd have thought that just one week of regular visits can make such a difference in behavior? I guess good old Ivan Pavlov would be pretty impressed.
By conditioning squirrels, however, you also condition yourself in some way. 
In fact, when I was left on my own this spring with no physiotherapy in sight, it was those morning walks that made up my daily exercise (at least once I was fit enough to get all the way to that park and back). All weak and wobbly on my feet I'm not sure whether I'd be able to get up again in case of a fall, but I just assumed that sooner or later, somebody would have found me. On the positive note, early morning lockdown walks meant I'd walk through more or less empty streets, meaning I could take my time balancing every step, and wouldn't necessarily embarrass myself if I suddenly stumbled on a seemingly even sidewalk (because those things aren't even close to even when the slightest tilts and cracks make you go down).
And even though I could't get up from crouching for weeks, the furry creatures made me try more and more every day. It has been a long journey from literally crawling on all fours to slowly getting up if I tried really hard, to taking it further by improving my skills in the weeks and months that were to come. 

krafty chicks: CAS
kreativtanten: autumn colours
love to craft: ATG 
morgans artworld: ATG
moving along with the times: animals/birds
path of positivity: girl power (I'll go with my version of girl power for this one: while the physical power might not be worth mentioning, I think the slow & steady willpower has its advantages, too - because you'll ultimately reach the finish line no matter whether you're performing a super fast sprint or 
going step by step, but only the latter gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the beauty along the way. Also, determination seems like a special girl power to me, given how much more effort a girl/woman often has to put in her work in order to be recognized on the same level as her male contenders.)


  1. Your card is so cute. Love the fun squirrel and the branch. love seeing your friendly squirrel. We don't seem to have them here in the country. We had them when we lived more in the city.. Always got my bird feeders.. Thanks for sharing over at Crafty Sentiments.

  2. Wonderful card, and the pictures makes me think of the squirrels around here. Thanks for playing our challenge this week at Krafty Chicks.

    Leanne DT/KC

  3. Wonderful card with great patterned paper. Thanks for joining us at CHNC Patterned Paper Challenge this month.

  4. What a cute card! Thanks for playing along with us at Penny's Paper-Crafty Challenge.

    DT Stacey

  5. Cute card. Thank you for sharing with us over at Morgan's Artworld Open Challenge. Love to see you join in each month.
    ~ Danka DT

  6. Beautiful colored card with the squirrel!! Love all the fun photos of the little guys!!
    Thanks for sharing your art creations with us at 613 Ave Create …..Good Luck and Look forward to seeing you again!!
    ¸..• ´¨¨)) -:¦:-¸.•´ .•´¨¨))*((¸¸.•´ ..•´
    Shell ~ DT 💕

  7. What a beautiful card and pictures Cheiro.
    Nice that you are participating in our challenge.
    Big Hug Bianca
    The Sketchy Challenges Blog.

  8. Lovely card and some fantastic photos. Squirrels always make me smile. Thank you for sharing at Path of Positivity. Pippa DT

  9. Beautiful card. I absolutely love these little cuties. Squirrels always make me smile! Thanks for playing along with us at our present challenge at Kreativ-Tanten and good luck! Hope you will join us next month again.

    Crafty greetings

    *Owner* Creative Crafting Uncles
    *DT + Admin* Do-Al(l) Kreatives
    *DT* Kreativ-Tanten Challenge
    Alex' Kreative Seite

  10. WOW - what cute squirrels! Your CAS card design is a perfect way to show off this adorable image! This is a wonderful card!
    Hugs - Rachelle : )

  11. Beautiful card! Thanks for joining us at Unicorn. Have a nice day,.. Succes!!
    DT Anneke

  12. Fabulous creation! Thank you for sharing with us over at Morgan's Artworld. We hope to see you again.
    ~ Judy DT

  13. Beautiful creation, love the photos! Thank you for sharing with us over at Morgan's Art World. We hope to see you again.
    ~ Sherry DT/Admin/Coordinator xx

  14. This is just gorgeous. I love squirrels. Thank you for sharing with us over at Morgan's Artworld. We hope to see you again.
    ~ Annette DT

  15. A great card - thanks for sharing it with us at Penny's Paper-Crafty Challenge Blog.

    Helen x

    PS Amazing photos too!

  16. I love your card, and what I love even more is the way you have described being slow and steady gives you time to smell the flowers. I resonate with that whole heartedly.

    You are so talented with so many skills and doing medicine alongwith all this is commendable. I do hope that medical curriculum becomes more holistic and less pharmaceutical in the future. So many doctors out there are blowing the whistle on the way the medical industry functions. Anyway, I do wish you the best.

    Lovely to be here and see the different poses of that cute, cute squirrel. I find them so cute and calming.


  17. Sooo sweet :)
    Thanks for joining us at the Creative Aunt Challenge.
    Greetings Andrea

  18. Beautiful card. Thanks for playing with us at The Sketchy Challenges. Veronique

  19. This is just so beautiful. Nice work here.
    Thank you for sharing with us over here at World Wide Open Design Team Challenge and best of luck with your entry.

    Annette DT / Admin / Registered Owner for https://worldwideopendesignteamchallenge.blogspot.com/