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Never Mind the Rest (Collage)

A post-Easter bunny for you today, with a quote from Beatrix Potter.  This collage came together so quickly, with a minimum of fuss.  I panicked a bit, towards the end, thinking I was going to get all the words on.  But I managed to just fit them all in (I really need to get better at mapping these things out before I start them…).  I love the vintage bunny, and it was a change to work with the pink tones too.

Have a good day – thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Bee Happy (and a bit about Laughter Yoga)

Hello, everyone 🙂  I was back at work this week after having an extended Easter break.  Can’t say I was overjoyed at the thought of returning to work, but very grateful to have a job to return to (the current economic climate being what it is, every extra day of employment is a bonus).  It took a while to get back into the swing of things, and I was horribly nervous when people came in to ask questions about our services etc ; after just a week off, I was a bit brain-dead and stupid.  But I got through it ok and people seemed happy with my responses.  It’s probably just me who thought I was useless!

One of my tasks today was to write a book review.  The book, “Love Laughter and Longevity : the Art and Science of Wellbeing” by Janni Goss, talks about laughter and its positive effects on our health, longevity, and quality of life.  As my organisation assists people with dementia, and encourages positive thinking and celebrating the small joys in life, this book could benefit many people who are dealing with the difficulties that dementia inevitably brings.  But laughter is a well-documented medicine for many of the things that ail us, whether we are experiencing illness or not.

There are physical changes that occur when we laugh : blood flow increases, endorphins are released, cortisol levels are lowered and the immune response is improved.  Intense laughter (whether faked or not – the brain can’t tell the difference) also provides aerobic exercise, which is far more enjoyable than time spent at the gym.

Janni is an advocate for Laughter Yoga and its benefits.  Over 100 countries around the world have Laughter Yoga groups, and its positive effect on people with illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to cancer has been studied and reported in numerous medical journals.  It’s certainly an interesting topic to read about (a lot of my reading-for-work tasks are pretty dull and make me go a bit cross-eyed) and worth further investigation if you’re into self-improvement and inner health (whilst improving your outer health at the same time!).  You can read more from Janni HERE or learn about Laughter Yoga throughout Australia HERE

All that laughter and being happy reminded me of this little canvas I painted on the weekend.  At first, when I had finished it, I felt a bit unsure about the whole “bee happy” thing.  Sometimes we’re just NOT, right?  Sometimes we are decidedly unhappy and a bit down in the dumps.  But I guess what Janni’s book and philosophy encourages is to embrace the small joyful moments in life and use them to promote well-being in our bodies and minds.  It’s kinda like faking it til you make it.  Not avoiding dealing with sadness but, rather, using joy to combat it and face it head on.  And you might as well have a few extra happy hormones to help you, right?

Having said all that, it’s important to let people know you’re struggling.  No one should suggest you “pretend” to be happy if you’re not.  That’s way too much pressure!  I believe happiness itself is a bit of a myth.  It’s such a vague concept.  No one is happy 100% of the time ; how can you be, when there is so much suffering and pain in the world?

But I think it’s important to be content with your situation, be in the moment, and be happy about the small things in life, focusing on the good, and doing what you can to minimise the “bad”.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sad or upsetting moments in our life, but how often do we give the same amount of energy to joyous moments, savouring them and replaying them in our minds?  The brain can’t differentiate between something that is a memory and something that is happening now.  So, we should try and hold on to happy memories and use them to boost our spirits when we are down, rather than re-living those moments that caused us pain and distress.

Easy to say.  But I think every extra weapon we can have in our arsenal against the blues is a bonus and worth a try.  I don’t think I will be doing a class of Laughter Yoga any time soon (I’m not a joining-in kinda gal and I would spend the entire time worrying about what I look like when I’m laughing and whether or not I was doing things right) but there are definitely principles that I could use to be more positive or, at least, trick my brain into feeling happier, until I am able to feel it for real.

Be happy today.  And if you can’t be, I’m sending good thoughts your way and a wish for a happier tomorrow.  Hang in there x

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You Are Magic (Collage on Bread Board)

 

Just for something a little different…I used this mini bread board for a collage base, and it turned out pretty well.  Nice, flat surface to work on and the grain in the wood adds an extra bit of visual detail.  I’d been wanting to use the bunny (actually, I think it’s a hare…) on something and I think it’s just right for this project.  I had to add wings of course, and the crown comes from a book of fairy tales in my cutting-up box.  There’s now a princess looking a bit peeved because someone has pinched her head gear…

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I’m giving myself a pat on the back for the straightest, non-wonky letter stamping I have ever done.  A pure fluke, but a happy fluke nonetheless.  I didn’t want to ruin the whole thing by doing bodgy lettering which, sadly, seems to be happening to me a lot lately.  I have lots of un-finished pieces because I am too scared to put the words on…

Hope you are having a non-wonky, non-bodgy, successful and happy weekend.
Thank you for stopping by x

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Life Balance (Collage)

Hello everyone 🙂

This collage was inspired by some of the changes and decisions I am having to make this year.  Trying to work out what works best for me, how to manage that pesky work/life balance, and making decisions about the future.  All things I would rather procrastinate about with my usual head-in-the-sand attitude.

I’m not good at making decisions.  I have trouble deciding what colour underwear to put on, let alone making decisions about employment or whether or not to buy a house.  While I have been a brave girl (sort of) and managed to buy my first home, I still struggle with the career side of things.  What am I supposed to be doing?  Am I doing what makes me happy?  Is it more important to be fulfilled and content in your work, or should paying your bills come first?  So tricky.

All I know is that I am calm and settled when I am crafting.  That is one part of the life equation I don’t want to give up.  No one else has to judge it or even see it.  It’s doesn’t have deadlines, most of the time, and no one will get fired if it isn’t done right.  It gives me a sense of achievement, and if I don’t like what I’ve made, I can just paint over it and no one else needs to know.

How do you balance your creative side and your needing-to-work side?  Or are you lucky enough to combine the two and make a living from your art?  I’d love to hear how you make things work for you.

Thank you for dropping by x

 

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Find Your Tribe

Hello everyone.  Another collage today (this is an 8 x 8″ canvas), with no hat-wearing birds in sight!  Instead we have some playful ruminant-people hybrids doing their thing.  I’m not sure what the fellow in the middle is doing – he seems to have stopped, mid-dance, to inspect an m&m he’s picked up (I’m hoping it’s not a goat dropping…).  Maybe it’s an olive or a nut or something.  I didn’t give it a lot of thought, clearly.  The little antelope girl is carrying a stick but appears to have lost whatever is supposed to be attached to it.  I hope she wasn’t planning on running away with all her worldly possessions bundled together in a hanky or something.  Because, if that’s the case, she has dropped them somewhere.  But she has a stick and that is probably important.  Maybe it’s a magical wand or a conductor’s baton.

The fiddler on the left seems to know what he’s doing, so at least someone is on the ball.  At the end of the day, they’re all a bit weird, and that’s ok.  They belong because they don’t belong.  It’s important to find your tribe, don’t you think?  🙂

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Be Kind (Collage)

Hello everyone and Happy Monday 🙂

Did you all have a nice weekend?  For those of you here in Australia, hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable Australia Day and got to spend time with family and friends.  I managed to do just that AND get some crafting time in.  I got started on some new collage canvases and finished a couple of them.  I am slowly learning to leave things alone and move on to something else, if they are proving problematic.  Sometimes you need to step away from a particular project, in order to “Regroup” and get a fresh perspective.

This little 6 x 6″ canvas was giving me grief, and I couldn’t make it work, so I put it aside and started on a new one.  When I came back to this, I managed to finish it off and be reasonably satisfied with it.  I cut out numerous caterpillars – none of them looked right – until I found this pinky-red one, that seemed to suit ok.  I can waste hours trying to find just the right critter or leaf or flower.

I wasn’t sure what words to incorporate and was focusing too much on the bird looking down.  I thought of “Keep your head up” and “Don’t look down” and other head-related nonsense.  In the end, given that the bird is letting little Mr Caterpillar have a free ride, rather than eating him, I figure “Be Kind” was as good a message as any.  As yes, I did need to put a crown on the bird.  It looked naked without it.

Hope the week ahead is kind to you – thank you for stopping by 🙂

 

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Christmas Cards : Button Edition

I don’t know about all of you, but I have lots of buttons.  LOTS. OF. BUTTONS.  Jars and jars of them.  Despite this, I can never find the one I need for a particular project.  I think every crafter knows this dilemma.  You need a pink one, but it needs to be a rosy pink, not a baby pink.  You need a green one, but all you have is yellow-green when you really need a forest green.  Or you need big buttons when you only have teeny ones.  Or visa versa.  It’s a conundrum and wastes lots of time.

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So why would I decide to make lots of cards featuring this nemesis of quick crafts?  Because I am a crazy person and I enjoy having a floor that is covered in buttons (which mine now is).  Because my hands can be dicky (thanks again, Meningitis), I often drop things, so for every button I successfully pick up and glue down, there’s at least three that have escaped and are rolling about under tables and in between couch cushions.

I have been scouring Pinterest and other internet sites featuring all things craft-tastic, and have been very inspired by the clever designs people have come up with, using buttons as the main element.  And then I basically copied them.  Because I am, as I said before, very short on time and energy right now.  I’m also not selling these cards so I don’t feel so bad about purloining a few ideas.

Buttons are an easy way to add interest, colour and dimension to cards and can be just the right finishing touch.  Most of these ones below were made simply by drawing on lines with a pen, gluing on a button and then doodling some little details like bows and the tops of the baubles.  A stamped sentiment completes the look.  If I was feeling extra energetic I punched out some circles of pretty Christmas paper to stick down before the buttons to make them more colourful and chunky.

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So now, after mammoth card-making sessions, I now have to get stuck into mammoth card-writing sessions.  There’s only so many ways you can say “Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year…” but I try to mix it up a bit.  By 11pm last night I was getting my words all doolally and not making a lot of sense.  Plus I had a blister on my finger and a cramp in my hand.  AND my pen ran out!  Gah!  But, I am lucky I have so many people in my life to give cards to – so I am not complaining at all.  I know a lot of people don’t give cards any more, but I still like to.  It’s a way of telling people they are cared about and wished good luck and health and happiness.  I know quite a few people who are on their own, not just at Christmas but all the time, so a little card is the least I can do to show them they are not alone, and are being thought of fondly.

Hope you are having a crafty, creative day today and are surrounded
by people that make you smile x

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Christmas 2017