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Find Joy

Hello everyone – hope you are having a happy, sun-filled day.  We are finally getting some nice almost-spring-like weather – blue skies and sunshine.  Still a bit chilly for the likes of me, but so much better than the dreary, grey and rainy days we’ve been having.

On the weekend I went to see my nephew perform in his school choir, as part of the One Big Voice event.  Four thousand primary school children singing as one huge ensemble.  Pretty amazing.  Each choir practiced the songs individually, before coming together for the first time on the night of the event.  Can you imagine organising four thousand kids, aged around 9 to 11 years, to do anything, let alone sing together for a few hours without it all falling in to chaos?  Well, the only chaos I saw was when all the parents went to collect their children at the end of the night.  Then it was a bit of a free-for-all and all order and organisation went out the window.

Anyway, the kids were amazing.  I was thrilled to be able to spot my gorgeous nephew in amongst all those faces – I wanted to be able to tell him I had watched him perform.  So much joy in all those little people, singing their hearts out, and how brave to do that in front of thousands of people (there would have been at least ten thousand in the audience).  I could never have that kind of courage! (although my nephew did say it was easier to be brave because the lights were so bright, he couldn’t see anyone in the audience anyway!).

I dedicate this little collage to my nephew and his brave and joy-filled choirmates.  I struggled with finishing this one off (don’t I always struggle with something?) and then used my brand new alphabet rubber stamp set (thank you, Kmart!) to stamp “sing” in bold letters.  Adding “find joy” in smaller letters below completed the piece.

Thank you for stopping by – hope today brings you happiness
and adds a song to your heart 🙂

x

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Brave Day (Collage)

Hello everyone.  Another work week begins and I would much rather be at home in the warm, in my craft room, making a mess and creating some new “art”.  I say “art” (in quotation marks) because I’m not yet ready to call what I do Art.  Which is weird, because I follow lots of other artists who make collages and mixed-media pieces and I call their work Art.  But then, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a bit insecure about everything I do.  And that’s why you love me, right?  Right? *looks insecure and nervous*

This weekend I played hermit and stayed at home and crafted.  It was lovely.
I made quite a few pieces, one after the other, which was so satisfying – normally I faff about for ages on one thing, not even finishing it, and getting very frustrated at my lack of creative oomph (ie talent).  But this weekend I was on a bit of a roll.  If something wasn’t working, I moved on to the next idea, and tried not to get bogged down in any piece that refused to cooperate. Sometimes you just need to put things aside and start fresh on something else so your brain has time to fire up again.  This also stops you from swearing too much or throwing things in the bin (or at the wall, or down the stairs) in anger and disgust.

So, this piece came together relatively easily and with minimal crankiness on my part.  I have used this little bird often, on other projects, and he is a bit of a muse for me.  He just always works.  Maybe it’s because he’s blue (my favourite colour), or because he looks so darn sensible and down-to-earth.  He has a calming influence on me, bless him.  I do curse a bit whilst cutting out those tiny little toes and claws, but he is otherwise an easy guy to work with and never fails me.

He needed a crown or, rather, deserved a crown, so I added a fetching royal number (which I might add some bling to later…) and I think the red adds a nice contrast and detail.  It took me forever to decide on a word or quote – I have so many books that I cut up for text, but it is hard to find exactly the right phrase or word in the right sized font. I have HEAPS already pre-cut, but do I ever find one that is just right?  No, I do not.  However, I felt that “‘Tis a Brave Day” suited this little fellow, and hoped it would encourage me to be a bit more courageous myself.  Maybe.  Basically, I just needed some words and these ones fit 🙂

Anyway, I was pleased with him.  It was a good start to a crafty weekend because it encouraged me to do more and keep up the momentum.  I am enjoying working on canvases instead of cards for change and finding the simple, one-dimensional form (rather than many layers and embellishments as on a card) to be a lot less labour-intensive and time-consuming.  There is great joy in not having to trawl through boxes of ribbon, lace and buttons in order to finish something.

So, ’tis a brave day indeed.  Less is more.  More or less 🙂

Thank you for dropping by x

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Let Us Have Hope

Hello everyone.  A little quickie post today.  I made this small (10cm x 10cm) block canvas very quickly last weekend, when I was struggling to get my creative mojo to cooperate on some of my other pieces.  I needed a distraction – so a wee little collage was done and dusted in record time.  I can always rely on butterflies to inspire me (translation : save me when I can’t figure out what to do, or need to cover something up when I have made a boo-boo).  Wings make everything better 🙂

This piece was just roughly torn pieces of text and patterned papers, a vintage image and some words cut out of book, outlined with a permanent pencil for a bit of definition.  I added some wonky scalloping on the bottom and top too.

The world needs lots and lots of hope right now.  It seems like it is all we have to hold on to some days, doesn’t it?  And hold on we must.  Otherwise we are lost.  It does get rather hard to summon up even a tiny speck of hope though when you turn on the news or read the papers.  Or watch reality TV.  Ugh.

Nevertheless, I hope for great things.  I wish them for you too 🙂

Thanks for dropping by x

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Good Thoughts

Confession : this collage did not have me thinking good thoughts at all.  It had me swearing a lot and throwing things around.  I must have repainted it a dozen times, recovered it in different papers, repainted it again, added washi tape, and generally worked on it for much longer than was necessary.  I started off bravely, using bright colours and tones I would not normally go for.  It messed with my head and I didn’t like the result at all.  Hence all the repainting.  Consequently, it is all a bit lumpy and out of whack.  But it’s finished, at least.  The lady on it looks like she is wishing it would all be over soon (as I was), her head is a weird shape, and she is still a little bit bright and stark for my liking.  Not my best work at all!

But my aim, these days, is to get over things and move on.  Onwards and upwards!
I was glad to get this piece finished and off my desk.

Hope your mind is filled with good thoughts today 🙂

x

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Quiet and Content

Hello everyone!  I have been a little bit absent lately due to *cough, cough* a lurgy that left me feeling feeble and pathetic.  I also hurt my back with all the coughing and so am walking around like a pale, decrepit, phlegmy old thing.  I had time off work – my boss made me – and moped about the house, sleeping and complaining about life.  My Mum has also been unwell (and also has some worrying back problems) and so I’ve been worrying about her as well.  Lots happening – family dramas, work issues, health concerns – and all of it inevitably provokes the anxiety monster that resides in me.  I want to poke it with a stick and make it go away but it laughs in my face and makes its presence known with various aches, pains and physical ailments.  I even got pimples!  I don’t get pimples!!!  I am forty three years old, for crying out loud – I didn’t even have pimples when I was a teenager.

Anyway,  what I am trying to say is that I haven’t had much time (or energy) to do any crafting.  I’ve attempted a few things but mostly just moved stuff around, squinted a lot and sighed heavily at my lack of artistic ability.  My craft room looks worse than normal – I have had to make a little path from the doorway to the desk so I don’t trip and break my neck, falling over the various boxes of papers and supplies.  I could tidy up, yes, but that would take up precious squinting and sighing time.

In the midst of all this creative slumpery, I did manage to complete one little collage-canvas and it is OK.  I will settle for ok at the moment.  I don’t want to throw it out the window or set it on fire, so that’s a good sign.  The little lady on it did give me some stress – I stupidly painted her with gouache paint, not realising you couldn’t put gel medium over that (without it smearing and making an unholy mess) – but I repainted her with the usual acrylics and, in the end, I quite like her and her simplicity.  I tried not to muck about too much.  I am still not very good at faces, but am trying to just DO them and not get bent out of shape if they are not perfect.  Her lips are well wonky.  Don’t look at them.

So, in essence, I tried to zen out and be “quiet and content” with this piece.  The background actually looks like a single piece of text paper, but I actually collaged lots of torn pieces from different pages and then distressed / painted over it.  That was the easy bit that required no swearing or nervous breakdowns (gouache – I am talking to you!).

Hope you are all well right now and having a happy week.  Where is the year going?

Thank you for dropping by 🙂

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Quiet and Content by Violet Annie
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Spoonfuls of Love & Kindness

Anyone else feeling the world is an icky place to be right now?  I always try really hard to focus on all the good and not dwell on the bad, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.  I feel so anxious about what the future holds, don’t you?  Do we even have a future?

When feeling this way, I just want to curl up in a giant cookie, suck my thumb, and pretend the world’s not there.  The next best thing to doing all of that is crafting.  I can lose myself in paint and glue and paper and the chaos of my craft room.  Sucking of the thumb is not advised during this time as it will usually be covered in all manner of art mediums, but cookies are allowed, as long as they’re washed down with copious amounts of tea.  Some music on the stereo, a nice warm cardi, and I’m all set.

This weekend I worked on this collage piece.  It’s quite pink for me, but maybe I was chanelling my inner child and wanting some comfort and cuteness.  Maybe that was just the colour I grabbed first (after culling all my papers a few weeks back, I am now a bit low on supplies…might need to go shopping ,hee hee!) and it has no emotional ulterior motive at all.  Whatever, I am quite pleased with this one.  It came together so quickly (for me, Mrs Snail-Pace) and I like its sentiment and theme.  I can see there’s a couple of spots I need to touch up (not outlined or finished off completely) but I will do that before  varnishing.

I do think kindness is the most important quality a person can have.  I think it creates a foundation for everything else.  If you’re inherently kind, you won’t judge people, or be intolerant.  You will put others first and not seek to oppress or demean anyone.  You will strive for the greater good, and help others to do the same, by your example. There is strength in love, and it should never be seen as a weakness.  Love and kindness should be encouraged in schools, and in churches and in our community.  Instead of someone getting three million “likes” because they achieved the perfect duck pout or showed their boobs or bought a new handbag (the cost of which would probably feed three families for a month), we should be applauding those that do good.

We should be celebrating kindness and spreading love and compassion.

Anyway, I am getting on my “be nice” high horse again.  I had a lovely weekend – caught up with an old friend, spent time with my family and brand new baby nephew, and did lots of crafting.  I had time to myself, and time with loved ones, which is the perfect balance.  I nested and baked and slept and tried not to think about the outside world.

Hope you experience, and share in, some love and kindness today x

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Book of Shadows / Journal

I am a bit obsessed with notebooks.  I have LOADS of them.  If you ever need to get me a gift and are stuck for ideas, get me a notebook and I will be happy as Larry.  Whoever Larry is…does anyone know?

I recently bought a lovely big notebook that would be just perfect for updating my *Book of Shadows, which had never been particularly well looked after or designed – it was just a bodgy little spiral-bound notepad that I had always meant to decorate / tizzy up but twenty years on had failed to do anything with – and really needed to be upgraded and given a bit more respect.  So, this new notebook, with it’s large blank pages and hardcover, screamed out “Make me over!”  I shall share my process with you now, dear readers, leaving out any details about how messy I got, and where I was finding black and copper paint, days later.

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Sorry – terrible photos…it was late and the lighting wasn’t great..

The first step is simple.  You spread PVA glue all over the cover of your notebook, so that it is completely covered, and then lay tissue paper over the top of it, smoothing and rippling the paper as you go, to create a natural-looking surface.  Be careful not to rip it as the tissue paper becomes quite fragile when wet.  Do one cover at a time – ie do the front first, let that dry and then do the spine and back cover next.  Fold any excess paper over to the inside – you will be covering that up later.

 

PVA glue takes a while to dry properly so go and do something else while you’re waiting.  You can speed the process up by gently drying with a heat gun or hairdryer.

When all the sides are done, paint with your chosen background colour.  I have used black acrylic paint, but it would look equally good with just about any dark-ish colour.  Paint each side, including the spine, and allow to dry as before.

Using a sheet of paper, cut to size, cover the inside, back and front, making sure you cover up the excess tissue paper that was folded over.  If you want to add some ribbon or binding to tie the book up with, now is the time to add it, before the paper is stuck down.  Or, if you make a mistake like I did (and forget to add the ribbon), you can glue it on after the paper and use an extra square of paper to hide the ribbon.  Hey, I am all about improvising!  When it is all stuck down, paint over with your chosen colour.  I used black again here, but you could use a contrasting colour if you like.

When everything is completely dry, you can start on the fun bit.  Squeeze out some metallic acrylic paint (I used copper, but gold or silver etc would look great too) onto a palette or spare bit of cardboard.  Don’t add water.  Dip your finger lightly into the paint, dabbing off the excess (you only want a little bit of paint) and lightly wipe it over the covers of your book.  This is like dry-brushing with a paint brush.  You don’t want thick splodges of paint – just a light, barely-there contrast.  It will highlight the textures and creases in the tissue paper and create a leathery/old look.  Keep going until you are happy with the result – don’t forget to also do the spine.

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Ooh, old and leathery…that reminds me, I have to buy moisturiser, ha ha!

Let this layer dry completely on all sides.  Add an embellishment to the front cover if you wish, to add some interest.  I used a copper, um, face-plate thingy (I have no idea what it is or where it came from) and, before sticking it down, created a little collage to fit underneath (flecked with a bit of copper paint), which was then sealed and enhanced with a layer of dimensional magic to give the effect of glass.
When the panel is slid open, the image is revealed.  It looks all magical if you squint a bit and also don’t have very high standards or expectations ha ha.

 

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Magic!

An easy technique for updating a tired old notebook, that can also be used on metal, wood and other materials.  It’s messy and fun and you basically get to finger-paint.  And there are sadly few opportunities to do that these days.

 

Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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PS I just want to say, I am not a witch, and do not mean to offend anyone who is.
I have “dabbled” in the Craft, as I think many women do at some stage in their life, but I certainly don’t claim to know all that I should know about it and would advise anyone who is thinking of casting a few random spells or hexing the neighbours to get some proper advice and guidance.  Be careful of your intent and the energy you put out into the world, even if you are just “dabbling”.

My *Book of Shadows is my own personal book of “spells” (if you want to call them that), affirmations and wishes, important things I want to record and hold dear, and does not imply that I am in any way affiliated with any particular belief system, religion, or group.
Believe in magic, or don’t.
Each to his or her own.  Blessed Be.

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