Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

It is sometimes hard to come up with a blog post.  There are days when I could write a hundred posts easily and then, more often, days when I get stuck once I’ve clicked on “New Post”.  Sometimes I have great ideas, usually just before
I fall asleep or while I’m out walking or when I should be listening during a presentation at work, but these ideas are fleeting and disappear as soon as I start thinking about something else.  Quite often I will work through an entry,
completely in my head, to the point of finishing it, but then, when I go to type it up, it’s gone forever.  It’s as though my
brain says “Well, you worked it all out already – why does anyone else need to see it?  Move on!”

I also don’t have a very interesting life.  Which is fine by me, until I want to find something to write about.  I’m not a daredevil or a risk-taker.  I don’t have dangerous hobbies or a need to do things in bigger and better ways.  Most times, I am just happy to have gotten through a day without falling down (clumsy), crying (overly-emotional) or embarrassing myself (social ineptitude).  There isn’t anything left to write about.  Nothing that would interest anyone else anyway.  I can only go on about my illness or marriage breakup so many times before people start nodding off, or worse, logging off and “un-following”.  I have my crafts but sometimes I don’t like what I have made or am just not able to get anything new made in the first place.

So, what to write, what to write…?  I have looked around on the internet to see what other people suggest.  Here’s a few good sites with topics and tips if you stuck like me:

Molly Greene : Writer

Stringcan.com 

Social Media Today  

Title Tool (this one is great – it has a title generator!  Type in a keyword and it gives you suggestions for blog posts!  Cool!)

There’s a hundred and one other sites to look at that might help fuel your creative fire.  I am going to try some myself today – you may or may not get to see the result!  🙂

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Watercolours & Waterbabies

Watercolours & Waterbabies

Mum and I took a watercolour class yesterday hosted by the University of Western Australia (UWA), off campus at their Taylor’s College site.  We arrived bright and early (being ridiculously early is a habit of mine – I spend a lot of time waiting around outside venues and people’s houses, class rooms and doctor’s offices because I am always there, as I said, ridiculously  early) and had a bit of a wander around the lovely garden and old buildings.

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It was a bright Spring day – not too hot, not too cool and the birds were singing in the trees as butterflies and bees visited the rose garden and sampled the pollen .  It seemed too nice a day to sit inside but, as we had paid the fee (and not a cheap fee at that) we eventually found ourselves a seat in the class room and waited for the class to begin.

Our teacher was Debi Riley  and she guided us through 11 different watercolour techniques including wet-on-wet, charging, dry brushing and gouging.  It was a fast paced class and the time went very quickly, despite it being all day.  I have had horrible back pain all week and was dreading having to sit still for hours on end but, luckily, I was kept too busy to think about my back and we were often up and out of our seats to watch what Debi was doing in her demonstrations.

Debi went through all the materials and equipment needed with her recommendations for different products and supplies.  Mum and I baulked at the squirrel hair brushes – an ethical, synthetic version will be used by us – but it was good to know which paints are better than others and what paper we should use for the best results.

My Mum is not a novice at painting (although she told the class, during the introductions, that she had “dabbled a bit”) but I haven’t done a lot, other than the basic stuff and some folk-art.  I haven’t ever sat and learnt a proper technique before.  So basically my work was rubbish ha ha.  But it improved as the day went on and I think, perhaps, I might get better with a bit more practice. I was very pleased with one piece I did where we had to use a paint knife and “scrape” it on to very wet paper, until I realised that we were supposed to be creating a mountain landscape, not an abstract image.  Whoops.  Don’t know where my head was at when she mentioned mountains…

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Whoops…but I still secretly like it

I did do one mountain scene which looks kind of Japanese-y.  It still leaves a lot to be desired as a work of art though!  So we’ll call it a work in progress!

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Mount Fugi? Hmmm, maybe not…

I quite liked my trees and their greeny-blue mottled tones but I didn’t like the scratched trunks we were supposed to add (with out finger nail) – it looks a bit dumb.  But next time I will know what I am doing so maybe I will get it right then!

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Trees!

I think I was happiest of all with my gum leaves at the end of the day – I think, with some more practice, I could make a half-decent attempt at them.They were enjoyable to do as each one came out differently, adding to their natural look.

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Leafy!

So, all in all, an enjoyable day and nice to spend it with my Mum who is now all enthused about getting back in painting and art in general.  I found the class very informative and gave me some new skills and techniques.  I want to sit and paint now but I have no time and I am still getting
ready for my market stall which is in TWO WEEKS time (aaaghh!).

I am rather behind in announcing the birth of my brand new little niece, Amity Jane.  She was born on the 15th and is just a delight.  I am an Auntie again for the fourth time and am already thinking about putting my babysitting fees up ha ha.  Mother and bub are doing well (my brother’s partner, Anna, is AMAZING and the best Mum ever) and I am so blessed to have another little person in my life.  Her brothers and sister are also besotted.  And why wouldn’t they be – just look at her!:

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So cute!

Well, it’s time to make dinner and sort out my dining room and do some ironing.  At least one of those things will probably not get done.  I vote for ironing!

Hope you have all had a good weekend and got to enjoy some time with your family and friends.  That’s what weekends are for.  Well, that and crafting!

Have a great week everybody – thank you for visiting 🙂

Way Down Upon the Swan(ee) River…

Way Down Upon the Swan(ee) River…

Ah, Perth in the Summer time…well, almost Summer time.  It’s only November after all and we have a couple more weeks before Summer officially arrives, but the weather has been so warm (hallelujah!) and after-work walks have been the order of the day.  Or, at least, I’m trying to make them the order of at least three days a week, rather than just coming home every day and collapsing in a heap  on the couch.

I am very lucky to live so near to the Swan River.  A short walk away, I can stroll along the foreshore, watch the boats and swans and ducks and seagulls and, if I’m luckier still, the dolphins.  Everything seems better by the water.  Calmer and fresher and just better.  Plus I live at the top of a steep hill so the walk home always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something (albeit with much wheezing and unattractive sweating).

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I love watching the black swans – they are so majestic yet, at times, comical, and even downright scary at other times (you do not want to get in the way of a Mother swan and her brood).  They are beautiful and they remind me of my dear geese that I miss so much now I do not live in the country.  My retirement dream, so far flung in to the future, is to have a little cottage on the coast with enough room for me and my menagerie which will, of course, include a gaggle of geese.  Who will chase everyone except for me.  As it should be.

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Sorry – the water looks kinda gross here.  Near the shoreline it gets a bit choppy and churned up..

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This one looks like the Loch Ness Monster!

When I am walking I like to zone out.  I actually don’t feel very confident when I am out walking on my own.  I feel like I stand out.  I feel uncomfortable in my own skin and would rather not have anyone else around me.  Since being ill I don’t have the world’s best balance or ability to walk in a straight line.  I often trip over things and overbalance.  Basically, I am a huge klutzoid.  It also makes me feel ungainly and awkward so I do feel self-conscious when walking.

Music helps me concentrate on something else.  I have my trusty iPod with me or plug headphones into my phone and away I go.  Not too loud, that’s not safe for my ears or my own protection, but enough that I can’t get distracted from what I’m doing.  Which is trying to walk briskly without falling down or losing my balance and ending up in a ditch.

I like different kinds of music on different days.  I like rock and pop and alternative, rap and funk.  Different beats and rhythms make you walk differently and help you stay on track.  I am currently trying to force myself to walk with my head up (I have a bad habit of always having my head lowered, partly due to timidity but also because of aforementioned clumsiness) and I find having a song playing helps me do that somehow.

I don’t have a regular playlist per se.  But I have a few that always come up on rotation and may get repeated a few times because I like the way they match my stride:

Del Amitri – Roll to Me

Scribe – Not Many

Sia – Buttons

King Charles – Bam Bam

Rob Zombie – More Human than Human

The KLF – 3 A.M. Eternal

Lulu & The Lampshades – Cups

BlackStreet – No Diggity

Icona Pop – I Love It

Cornershop- Brimful of Asha

And then there’s the old favourites that I listen to when I’m not so much working up a sweat as working through some sadness and just  need to get some fresh air.  Then I’m afraid I crank up the Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Simon & Garfunkel and whatever 70s or 80s song I have on my playlist.  I admit I have to stop myself from air-drumming sometimes (oh come on – who hasn’t done it to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”?!) but mostly I just like that music takes you away from where you are, even if it’s somewhere as nice as by the river.

Do you have favourite exercising tunes?  Any embarrassing ones?  I won’t tell.  Promise 🙂

Pretty Pegs

Pretty Pegs

How did it get to be Sunday afternoon again already?  I don’t know where the weekends go.  The weeks themselves fly by, but then it gets to the weekend and time just speeds up even more.  So unfair.

I’ve had a nice couple of days.  The weather has been lovely (too hot for some at this time of year but I love it) and I’ve spend time with my Mum and Mother-in-law.  I did a simple high tea/morning tea yesterday, nothing extravagant and we had a nice time just catching up and chilling out.  I wanted to stay in touch with my Mother-in-law as much as possible, after my marriage break-up, so I have tried to keep things as they were, at least between us.  She has always been very kind to me and welcomed me into the family straight away and I would hate to lose contact with her.  I’m not sure what the protocol is when you break up with someone, but I feel that I didn’t break up with her or the rest of the family so, while keeping a respectful distance from the ex and not making things uncomfortable for him (I don’t need to turn up at every family gathering) I think it’s ok if I at least see them for their birthdays and other big events. This week both my Mum and Mother-in-law celebrated their birthdays, hence the morning tea.  November is a busy month for me with lots of birthdays and other occasions.  I’m also doing a watercolour painting class in a couple of weeks which I am looking forward to (with some trepidation – I’m not the world’s greatest painter AT ALL but I do love the look of watercolour).

Last night (actually, late last night – I was up past midnight naughty girl) I prepared a bunch of pegs for making into my “Pretty Pegs” sets which I aim to sell at my mini-market.  They are good little sellers – easy to make and not a lot of initial outlay for materials.  Good for stocking fillers and just look really pretty when displayed.  They are also a good “TV Craft” i.e. they are something I can do whilst watching telly.  I like to multi-task! 🙂

So, last night I glued co-ordinating papers to the pegs in sets of four.  I used Ranger Matt Accents – it glues well and dries quickly, sealing the paper to the wood nicely.  I left the pegs to dry overnight to make sure the paper had bonded well.  This morning I sat and snipped the paper so it was nice and close to the edges of the pegs and then sanded them to give them a lived-in, distressed look and to take off any rough edges.  I hate sanding – it takes forever (well, not really, but I am an impatient crafter!).  I had quite a few little sets to do:

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Lots of pegs!

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Extreme close up! 

Next I will tie the pegs together in their matching sets with a length of raffia (which I have just realised I have run out of) and attach a little tag that gives ideas for using the pegs and voila!  That’s it.  Easy-peasy.  Which is what you want on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I am hoping to make a few more things today…so stay tuned! 🙂

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Cheated a bit here – I used a photo from some sets I made previously (“here’s one I made earlier!”)

Christmas is coming…

Christmas is coming…

I decided to get some Christmas cards made today – I am seriously behind on getting them ready for Christmas and so I need to devote a bit of time to them this fortnight (even though I want to get stuck in and play with those lovely new beads!).  I had a horrible back issue today – I’m in desperate need of a physio appointment but I just can’t afford it right now as my Health Insurance has run out for the year (roll on January!) – so I was being a bit pathetic and not accomplishing much.  But I did get a handful of simple cards done  and some is better than none!  Here they are :

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This “word” panel actually had “love” in the middle of it.  But I decided to cover it with the matching red paper
so I could use the crocheted lace in the centre for a bit of texture.

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Another crocheted flower (courtesy of my lovely cousin)…

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This little guy needed a little something…

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…so with the next one, I added a traditional snowman hat.  Much better I think 🙂

So, not a bad day’s effort in between moaning and groaning about my back and doing laundry and making dinner etc (whoops – which is still on the stove…).

Hope your weekend was happy and you got lots of whatever you love to do, done!

Thanks for visiting! 🙂

 

Op Shop Beauties

Op Shop Beauties

I have been really good lately, not spending money or going op-shopping.  I have to watch my pennies as I am now paying rent and bills on my own and I am a bit paranoid that I won’t be able to manage.  So I’ve been extra thrifty (to the point of dumbness – like not having food in the house) and just trying to live as frugally as possible.  That is until yesterday when I made the mistake of going to a craft shop and then an op shop.  Deadly mistake.  I did need craft supplies because I’d run out of some things and so I think those purchases are justified when I do intend on selling some things I’ve made and therefore recouping some money.  I needed to get some new beads too and so I went to some op shops to see what I could pick up there (so much cheaper than going to a bead shop and you get a great selection, often vintage and in larger amounts than you might otherwise be able to afford in a speciality bead shop where you are charged BY THE BEAD in most cases) and was particularly looking for turquoise and bright yellows. reds and oranges.

Well….I was in luck (my wallet was not, however).  I got some really lovely glass beads in the colours I needed and LOTS of turquoise in different shapes and sizes.  I spent a bit more than I had intended, but I’m still happy with what I got and think they were a bargain.  So, now I just have to take them apart and make some lovely new things!

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Lovely, lovely pearls.  Really good quality glass ones.  VERY heavy – they would weigh your neck down! The beaded feature on it is kinda 1920s-ish-looking but I will put it aside and maybe make something with it later…I just wanted the pearls!  There’s over a metre of them in total!

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Love these orangey-yellow glass orbs.  So sunny!

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This brown-toned necklace caught my eye for all the little tiny beads and charms.  But I’ve decided to keep it for me to wear.  This one is NOT being taken apart!

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Gorgeous turquoise!  Several different strands on one necklace – a bargain!  Some are plastic which is a shame because I generally stick to glass, but I can make them work 🙂

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More turquoise and blues and little accents of red.  Like the big pendant, but Mum liked that so I think I will just put something together with it for her.

So, a good afternoon’s buying. I don’t feel too guilty as I will use all of it and I saved a lot of money that WOULD have been spent if I had bought them per bead or got them from a “proper” shop.  Op-shopping rules!  This was a particularly lucky day – sometimes I don’t find anything which is really frustrating.

Going to do my laundry now and then get stuck into “making”.  I have lots of creative things on the go right now and I’m not sure which to tackle first so will probably end up just making a mess.  You know how it is.

Hope you’re weekend is going wonderfully well and that the sun is shining in your little part of the world.

To my dear friend GK who is going through some rough times right now : Look after yourself and remember you are loved x