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I chicken out....

Well kind of anyway. The plan this week was to do bird handling, but in the end I decided a trip to the sanctuary was sufficient. Before I explain more about that, first the crafting.

A nice simple make. This was a box from the Works, with a keyhole added. It's a paper clay keyhole, one of the Iron Orchid Design ones. I painted the box white before adding a Prima Antique Brilliance wax. It's amazing the effect this has on white background. You can see the purple sheen. I painted the hole part black, then added some umber antiquing cream on the keyhole, sealing it with matte sealer. Finally I glued some lace onto the bottom.

This was painted with chalk paint, stamped with a script stamp, then I used Lindy's embossing powder on various wooden shapes, including a bird using a gradient powder technique.

The other side was my take on an old Tim Holtz tag. I painted it with chalk paint, stamped a face and a sentiment, then die cut some tiny tattered florals (still can't get the hang of the roses in this set) and some butterflies out of coloured paper, before assembling the tag.

Here's the progress on the current stitch. I actually made a mistake on it today (after this was taken) so I have had to improvise. I'm hoping it works.

Talons cling onto,
arms clad in brown leather gloves
eye meets beady eye

This is the Screech Owl Sanctuary, just outside of Indian Queens. Lack of transport has stopped me going here before but it's only a half hour walk from the bus stop at Indian Queens, with only a couple of turns so I couldn't get lost!

As you can see, most of the owls are caged, though some are hand tamed. These are the ones that are available when you book a session. Cost put me off doing that; £30 for half an hour seems a little steep to me. As well as the owls (multiple species, including some of the rarest in the world, one species that is restricted to one island in the world) they have meerkats, pygmy goats, emus, shire horses and alpacas, so there is plenty to look at. They do flying displays daily, I am assuming with the same three owls given their reactions. Voicy, Angel and Bob, in that order. When Voicy was performing (not circus style performing but simply flying from post to bench) Angel was in her cage, squawking and clinging to the front of fence. She knew she was next. Voicy got excited towards the end of her turn, as she knew she would be getting a treat (cockerel chicks). I actually think this is a rather clever idea, as owls do have to eat, and cockerels are slaughtered when they are a day old, as they are unfortunately of no use to the farmer. Angel was one of the rare ones, but Bob was the funniest in my opinion. Didn't listen to the trainer at all, and has an eye for the ladies (who does that remind me of?) The trainer actually got a number of women up to try the glove on, and Bob flew to them right away. We were told that Bob put on weight once, and they put him on a diet, but he gained more weight. Turns out a wild owl was coming in at night, going to Bob's cage and feeding him!

You'll have noticed that as well as the animals there is a plate of food in the pictures. There is a darling little tea room in the Sanctuary, so we got ham egg and chips. Bloomin' lovely. The ham was thick cut, with plenty of it, the eggs were cooked how you wanted them, and the portions were huge. Well worth it if you don't bring a picnic.

All in all, a lovely day out, and somewhere highly recommended. If you've got the money, go for a handling session. As expensive as it is, looking back on it I think I might have missed out.



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