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Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all ūüôā¬† Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just¬†had a few little treats?¬† Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?¬† Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.¬† I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.¬† It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.¬† I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.¬† I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!¬† If only people didn’t have eyes!¬† It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.¬† It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!¬† Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow Рjust dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued¬†and finished on the plaque itself.¬† I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.¬† I adhered her with gel medium and then added¬†flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage¬†books.¬† The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!¬† I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.¬† I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

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I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s¬†features – I was using a very¬†fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.¬† I will do better next time!¬†I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the¬†“me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

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So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.¬† I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.¬† Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist ūüôā¬† I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.¬† I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it ūüôā

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Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

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Learn to Fly

Hello everyone!¬† Hope you’re having a lovely day ūüôā¬† I had a very productive and pro-active weekend, tidying up and getting things sorted out.¬† I finally finished cleaning up my outdoor area (I have a sort of closed-in patio) so it is actually fit for human habitation and I moved my outdoor setting over so I could now sit and have a cup of tea and look at my plants and not battle spiders, cobwebs and general disorder.

I took a load of stuff to the op-shop (clothes I never wear and shoes I fall down in) and made plans for further de-cluttering and sorting.¬† It feels good to get some stuff done and not waste my weekend.¬† I have fallen in to a bit of a rut, not just creatively, but in all aspects of life, and things have gotten on top of me.¬† So I need to have a plan of action for each day.¬† That way, I can whittle away at all the big jobs, and they won’t seem so overwhelming.¬† I also need to stop being lazy ūüôā

After tidying up and doing some housework (just a bit – let’s not crazy here!), I got stuck into some craft.¬† I have been so down in the dumps about my lack of creative ability that I really needed something to spur me on and get me fired up again.¬† I recently subscribed to Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted¬†video series and it’s been just the kick in the pants I needed.¬† She is such an inspiration – not just because her work is beautiful, but because she just goes with the flow and creates from the heart and doesn’t let mistakes and bad days get in her way.¬† If she makes a boo-boo, she either paints over it or makes it part of the design.¬† She creates for no one else but herself, and that’s what I need to do – stop thinking about what everyone else thinks.¬† I’m¬†so glad I subscribed – I really had to think about spending the money, but I can cancel at any time and, if it makes me start creating and making art again, it is totally worth it.

I don’t want to copy Kelly Rae, but at the moment I am just drawing from her art and ideas to get me started again.¬† Sometimes you need to imitate before you instigate I guess!

So, with all of that in mind, I created this piece.¬† I am kinda happy with it.¬† I love the colours and the text and it all came together pretty easily (albeit with a lot of false starts and paint-overs!).¬† I tried not to overthink it, and just CREATE.¬† Afterwards, I sat up late, sketching out rough plans and ideas for more collages and pictures.¬† I feel like I am ready to start making stuff again.¬† My mojo might be returning at last!¬† This piece isn’t perfect by any means, but I’m so glad I got it done (and that it didn’t end up in the bin, which happens sometimes!).¬† I’m learning to fly again ūüôā

Thanks for stopping by x

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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do (and Your Mojo is Taking a Vacation)

As I have mentioned a few times recently, I am in a bit of a creative slump.¬† Every time I try to make something – whether it be a card or a collage, something out of clay, or just a doodle – it turns out rubbish.¬† It is very depressing and frustrating and makes me want to hide under the covers, eating cookies and crying into my phone (which, of course, is opened to Instagram so I can look at lots of other artists’ AMAZING work and depress myself even more).¬† That’s just how I roll.

So, in lieu of actually creating anything, I am working on creating a space in which I can work, be inspired and, hopefully, get my mojo back.

My craft room is a disaster zone.¬† There is no other way to describe it.¬† There is stuff everywhere and my actual working space has been reduced to an area of desk approximately the size of a drink coaster.¬† It’s terrible.

I need to de-clutter, big time.  I need to get rid of stuff that I am never going to use and organise the stuff I will use.  I need to make life easier for myself and prepare some things ready for starting new projects.  Most importantly, I just need to tidy the heck up!

With that in mind, here are a few things we can all do to¬†make¬†a space that is conducive to creativity and inspiration (or, at least, one that won’t make us depressed), and some suggestions for making the most of your creative slump time.

  1. If you’re a card-maker, organise all your card blanks and envelopes.¬† Match up sets and put “odds” aside.¬† If you’re really being good, get rid of¬†them (give away or recycle bin).¬† If you’re a hoarder, bundle them together in sizes.
  2. If you have off-cuts of card, try making card blanks to fit your odd envelopes, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
  3. Go through the old books you’ve been collecting/hoarding to cut up, and cut out text from them. Maybe a phrase or word will inspire you to create. I keep a jar filled with sentences and words I like, so they’re always on hand. This is a good task to do sitting by the telly, with a cup of tea.
  4. Get stuck into your stash of scrapbooking/cardmaking papers.¬† CULL THEM.¬† Do you really need the lime green and bright pink, polka-dotted paper?¬† Maybe you do.¬† Most likely you don’t, and that’s why it’s still sitting there.
  5. Organise your adhesives. ¬†Do you have ancient, dried up bottles of glue/Modge-Podge/Gel Medium? ¬†Or is that just me? Get rid of them. ¬†Also, go through your adhesive tapes – put them in one spot so they’re easily accessed and not sticking to things they shouldn’t.
  6. If you’re like me and tear out ideas and images from magazines and then leave them lying about the place, collect them all up and take some time to organise them into files or scrapbooks. ¬†I have a file each for recipes, home decor, and fashion,¬†as well as one for card ideas, one for quotes and articles, and another for general craft inspiration. ¬†Make them look pretty and inviting – they really do help when you are in a slump and needs some ideas.
  7. Now get rid of all your piles of magazines – take out what you need (see # 6.) and chuck the rest in the recycle bin. ¬†Some magazines are totally awesome and you want to keep the whole thing – that’s ok, but it needs to have a home. ¬†Put it on a shelf or somewhere that you keep other inspirational books. ¬†Don’t leave it lying about.
  8. Rubber stamps. ¬†I swear they multiply. ¬†I don’t remember buying them all and yet I seem to have hundreds. ¬†I recently got rid of a whole box of them – gave them away to friends and donated them to op shops. ¬†I haven’t missed them and don’t know why I kept them for so long. ¬†If you haven’t used them in a while, it’s time for them to go. There’s only so many times you can use that teddy bear stamp or the one with the funny phrase that was hilarious in 1994 but not so much now. ¬†Organise your text / word stamps into one container or drawer. ¬†Try and group “like” items together so you know where everything is. ¬†Christmas stamps in one spot, animal stamps in another, etc. ¬†Makes like easier.
  9. If you have some projects you’ve made that you’re really happy with, make sure they are on display. ¬†I have favourite cards hanging on my wall near my work space. ¬†It helps to remind you that you don’t suck all the time, and gives you inspiration to try again.
  10. Make sure your most-utilised supplies are within easy reach of your work space.  It seems like an obvious thing but it really does help.  Storing them upright, when you can, in jars, cups and vases, gives you more room, and can look very appealing. Remember, though, to store marker pens flat Рit helps them to last longer.
  11. While we are on the subject of pens – spend a few minutes going through them and chucking out any that no longer work or are on their last legs. ¬†Make a note of any colours you need so that you can stock up. ¬†Nothing worse than needing that skin-tone marker and you find it’s all dried up and useless. ¬†Sharpen pencils and re-fill leads in mechanical pencils. ¬†The more you prepare now, the less you will have to do when the arty mood strikes you – everything will be ready to go.
  12. Make a playlist.  This really helps Рhonest!  Compile a couple of playlists on your ipod or computer that help you to relax and create.  Alternatively, find some podcasts to download that are motivational, thought-provoking or inspirational.  Listening to other people talk about their creativity can really boost your own.
  13. Move stuff around.  Maybe you just need a change of scenery.  Would your craft table look better over in that corner, have better light by the window or work best right in the centre of the room?  Sometimes changing things around can really help to get you out of a rut.  It also encourages you to tidy up and sort through stuff, which is never a bad thing.
  14. Have a look through all those art books¬†you’ve got and try copying someone else’s work. ¬†This is just for practicing and learning some new techniques or styles – don’t try and pass someone else’s art as your own. ¬†That’s rude (and also slightly illegal). ¬†This is just to get your brain working and to stir your art heart. ¬†Sometimes your creative centre needs a bit of a kick up the bum, especially if you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. ¬†It’s like doing the same exercise at the gym – every now and then you need to change things up a little and challenge your body. ¬†Your brain is the same.
  15. Have a nap. ¬†If all else fails, tuck yourself up in bed or on the couch, shut the world out, and have a little nap. ¬†Maybe you’ll wake up feeling energised and motivated. Maybe you’ll just get some much needed rest and feel better about everything in general. ¬†Sometimes you just need to sleep – that’s all there is to it. ¬†I’m giving you permission to nap!

So, just a few ideas for helping you to get your art heart pumping. ¬†Sometimes you just need to give in and say “Ok, no crafting for me today!” ¬†and do something else. ¬†It’s supremely frustrating though, when all you want to do is create a masterpiece and you can barely draw a stick figure or stitch in a straight line. ¬†Sometimes your mojo is just off and needs a break. ¬†I’m hoping that is the case with me, anyway.

Hope you’re having a creative, happy day (or at least a really awesome nap!) ūüôā

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Tiny Town (Torn Paper Collage)

Some time ago, our art therapist at work let me borrow a couple of her art books for the weekend. ¬†They were great little books – filled with simple ideas for getting your art on. ¬†One of them had some lovely collage ideas and I particularly liked a¬†torn-paper cityscape. ¬†I cannot remember the name of the book, but I’m pretty sure it was published by Usborne and the artwork work was possibly Fiona Watt. ¬†Apologies to both artist and publisher if I have remembered this incorrectly (if anyone can enlighten me, do let me know).

Anyway, I kept this idea buried in the recesses of my brain (a dark and cobweb-covered place if ever there was one!), thinking it would be a good little project to try if I was ever in need of some creative inspiration.  Well, right now, I am in desperate need, so I decided to give this one a go.  I liked the simplicity of the technique, as well as the small amount of materials (and, therefore, mess) it required.

Simply tearing different sized strips of paper, in different shades, adding details with pen and markers, and gluing them down into a simple cityscape Рwhat could be easier?  It was very therapeutic and I enjoyed adding the details, including the teeny little and flags.

So, here it is! ¬†My Tiny Town. ¬†I didn’t get the perspective quite right – there’s a couple of “floating” buildings – and I didn’t have a fine enough white pen to get the nice detail I would have liked but, all in all, I am pretty happy with it. ¬†I added the dark sky as I felt it needed some extra colour and interest. ¬†The original idea in the book didn’t have text but, as I am a bit word-obsessed, I added a few lines from a poem, which I think finished it off quite nicely. ¬†I made this as a card, but I’m thinking I might make a few as little framed pieces. ¬†What do you think?

So, happy to have just tried something new (without it being COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone – I mean, it’s still paper after all!) and gotten¬†closer to leaving the creative slump I currently find myself in. ¬†I’m definitely going to make a few more of these, just because they were fun and easy and I didn’t have to think too much ūüôā ¬† I try not to copy other people’s work, but sometimes I think you need to just borrow a bit of creativity, in order to get your own up and running again.

Thanks for dropping by – have a lovely day ūüôā

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Creative Copying

Sometimes I am very inspired and know EXACTLY what I want to do, craft-wise.  Other times, I am clueless and spend ages just mucking about, not knowing what I want to do, and feeling rotten about it.  Completely uninspired (and pathetic), you could say. Just lately, I have been unable to make ANYTHING and just feel like I have no creative ability whatsoever.  At all.  Nada.  Zippo.  Zilch.

So, this weekend, I utilised a bit of creative copying in order to get my mojo back.  Having had a birthday recently, my shelves were full of lovely greeting cards.  Granted, I should have taken them down some weeks ago but, it will surprise no one to know, I am lazy and slack, and they were still sitting there, a month and a half after the event.  However, there were a couple that I really liked the design of Рthe shapes of some of their images Рso I had a go at using them for templates to make my own cards and other items.

First up, I had this cute birdie card.  I liked the simple shapes and was pretty sure I could use them to create a design of my own.  Plus, you know me, I love birds, so it was a no-brainer in terms of subject matter.

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Cute birdy birthday card!

I started by tracing the basic shapes of each bird Рbodies, feathers, tails etc.  I then traced those shapes on to cardboard, so I could cut them out and have them as patterns.  Using pretty, coordinated papers, I traced and cut out the shapes to build the various body parts of the bird, and then arranged them together until I was happy with the overall look.

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Placing all the pieces together…

In the end, I decided to put it all together on a notebook for my Mum, to say thank you for her support and always looking after us (even though we’re old enough to look after ourselves.¬† Apparently).¬† I painted a plain little notebook and bound the edges with washi tape, before gluing the birdie to the front cover.
I added a crown and some text cut from an old book.

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Finished Birdie Notebook

It’s not the greatest work of art on the planet, and I can’t say I was thrilled with the final product, but I had made SOMETHING and that is better than nothing.¬† I just needed to get back into things and “play” a little, even if the end result wasn’t spectacular.¬†Otherwise I feel as though I am losing all my creativity and desire to create in the first place.¬† And that’s not a good thing.

So, one little birdie at a time, I am going to get my mojo back. Send cookies and hugs ūüôā

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Sculpture by the Sea 2017

Last night, after work, I was invited by a colleague to see the beachside exhibit,¬†Sculpture by the Sea. ¬†I wasn’t really in the mood to go, but I’m so glad I did. ¬†My friend was late and I nearly went home instead of waiting, but I sat in my car, huddled against the cold (what IS going on with our seasons?) and listened to the ocean while I waited for her. ¬†Eventually she turned up and we wandered up and down the beach, looking at all the amazing sculptures, with the setting sun as a beautiful backdrop. ¬†Seriously, the sky was a bit of a distraction – I couldn’t stop taking photos of it – it was SO gorgeous. ¬†The stormy weather only added to the dramatic quality of the sea and the crashing waves.

It was hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.  The sky was a million different colours and provided a perfect setting for the sculptures, which ranged from objects made of bronze to a chair made out of feathers.

I have to say, this photo (below) turned out so nicely. ¬†Except for the people who just started walking through the shot (bottom right corner). ¬†I think it looks like a 70s rock album cover. ¬†Can’t you just see it accompanying a Pink Floyd song? ¬†And that seagull flying through, just as I snapped the photo? ¬†Perfect!

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1km Tower by Song Jianshu

I really, really like this shot too. ¬†It looks like something you’d see in an episode of Dr Who or something. ¬†Like a¬†portal to another world, with that setting sun aglow behind it.

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The Window of the Future, by Sang-Sug Kim

This one reminded me of something Tim Burton would design…

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Spoke II, by Kevin Draper

LOVED this one. ¬†Probably because it has dogs in it. ¬†But, again, the sky…seriously!

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Loyalty, by Ayad Alqaragholli

Sharks are a common visitor at Cottesloe…not usually made out of steel though…

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The Great Hammerhead, by Jordan Sprigg

I think this was probably one of the most popular sculptures. ¬†I didn’t get a great photo of it – if I’d waited until later I might have gotten a much better shot, with nicer colours around and behind it. ¬†But it’s still pretty. ¬†Wonder if I could go back and steal it for my garden? ¬†Don’t you think it would like nice there? ūüôā

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Horizon, by Lucy Humphrey

Now THAT’S a big piece of litter!

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Cansumerism, by Hayley Bahr

I could imagine this one with lots of succulents growing out of it…

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Infrastructure 5, by Oliver Stretton-Pow

Took us ages to see the face in this one. ¬†You have to be looking at¬†just the right angle…

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Luke, by Tony Cragg

These sculptures were pretty awesome. ¬†They were like giant alien weeds…

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Aqua Fauna, by Britt Mikkelsen

This one reminded me of licorice allsorts, which is probably not
what the artist had in mind…

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Mega Pixel Power Tower, by Tom de Munk-Kerkmeer

So, a very worthwhile visit. ¬†I am possibly going back on the weekend to see the sculptures I didn’t get around to viewing. ¬†There’s also a “small sculptures” section which I want to see as well. ¬†If you’re in the vicinity, go and check it all out. ¬†It’s on until the 19th March.

Thanks for dropping by ūüôā

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Blessing Tree

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Having had a bit of a creative slump lately, I was moping around at home trying to figure out something I could do to get me back on track. ¬†I didn’t want to make a card (odd, for me, because I always like making cards) and my attempts at making a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired collage¬†were all dismal and uninspiring. ¬†So, what to do?

I have a box of “bits” that I hold on to for upcycling/altering or using in other projects. ¬†It’s got tins and wooden blocks, boxes, decorations and¬†papier mache forms.¬† Basically, it’s a box of crap that I have collected.¬†¬†It’s a hoarder’s dream, but it does come in handy when I am stuck for inspiration and want to do something different.

So, with that in mind, I rummaged around and found these weird Christmas decorations.  I bought them years ago in a post-Xmas sale, so they only cost me 25c each or something (the original price was $9.99 Рridiculous!).  I thought they would be good for altering, stamping on, painting etc.  I liked the shape and the fact they had a good solid base, as well as being able to hang them from something.

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Crazily expensive Xmas decoration!

I had been playing around with them for a bit when I decided to make a tree out of one of them. ¬†Don’t ask me why. ¬†I like trees, I guess, but I¬†had never really had¬†an urgent desire ¬†to make a little mini-tree of my own. ¬†This one came together reasonably quickly, once I got into it. ¬†I covered the body/trunk in dictionary text and sealed it with gel medium mixed with a little black and brown paint.¬† I raided some sticks from the neighbour’s tree and made wee little branches with them, stuck into the holes in the wooden shape.

During a crafty session with my nephews and nieces, I made some teeny-weeny mushrooms and a little bird out of polymer clay.  After baking them and letting them cool, I painted them (with a lot of squinting) with acrylic paints.

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Polymer clay teeny-tiny mushrooms and a birdie!
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Painting mushroom # 1
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Adding the final detail to mushroom # 3.¬† Do you know how fiddly it is to paint tiny little “gills” on a tiny little mushroom?
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Wee birdie.¬† I didn’t make him too detailed.¬† Partly out of laziness, but mostly because I was scared of making a shemozzle out of it.

I then crafted a little bird’s nest from twine, which was¬†oddly therapeutic. Just twisting and fraying the twine and making it a roughly bird-nesty shape.¬† I really do like making tiny things.¬† I don’t know why, but they are very satisfying and appealing, from a creative point of view.¬† I really do need to wear my glasses when doing this stuff though!

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Mini bird’s nest!
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Happy little birdie in a tiny nest!

Eventually, it was all put together (very carefully – it’s not the most robust of creations!), sitting on a base of sphagnum moss glued to a wooden lid, and I’m pretty happy with it.¬† It’s just for me.¬† No purpose behind it (not a gift or something to sell) – it’s just purely for me.¬† I added the “Benedictus” text (from an old large print dictionary) because, very roughly translated, it means “Blessed Be” which kinda resonates with me for various reasons.¬† I wanting to make some more things like this now.¬† I’m feeling the mixed-media vibe right now!¬† I’d like to try some tea-bag art next…will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by ūüôā

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The final product.  Blessing Tree complete.  Blessed Be!