Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Winter Tradition, Revisited

It's that time of year again! We've had our first snow of the season, and Mike's up to his old tricks cutting snowflakes. They're a minor passion with him. At Christmastime, we have them all over the Christmas tree and hanging from the windows. We have books and pewter ornaments from Vermont Snowflakes, a company affiliated with the Jericho Historical Society that honors the memory of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley. In addition, Mike made several special paper snowflake ornaments to hang from our tree and garlands. Ever since Mike was a little kid and learned how to cut paper snowflakes, he was hooked. He retaught himself in high school (that college prep math mattered for something), and as surely as the snow falls, Mike has his trusty scissors in hand. In fact, a few years ago, Hallie bought him some special Cutter Bee Scissors. Other people have genuine talent at creating paper snowflakes as art. For instance, "Dr. Snowflake" (Thomas L. Clark) of Ann Arbor and Les Barker both do truly remarkable work. (Speaking of incredible paper art, check out the work of Peter Callesen.) In comparison, Mike is a rank amateur.
Back in 2004, Mike found a website called Make-a-Flake. The URL has changed, and they don't let you make stamps and other fun things out of the flakes anymore, but the virtual scissors, table, and gallery are still there. Try your hand at making your own. Mike made the flake above, and here are a few more he made (click an astrix): (*), (*), (*), (*), (*), and (*). Mike's only complaint is that the files you can save come up with a blue snowflake on a white background. They're prettier in the gallery, but they're smaller. The site has all the hallmarks Internet brain candy: it's fun, a challenge to master, and a bit addicting. Betcha can't cut just one! This year he found another site called Snow Days. It's harder to "cut" the flakes, but the results are quite intricate. It would probably help to have something more precise than a mouse or a track pad. Anyway, whether your instrument of choice is a pair of scissors or a mouse, happy cutting!

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