Image

Craft as Cure

It’s been a very long week.  Do you ever feel like time is speeding up but somehow there’s more stuff to deal with and fit in to every 24-hour period?  I have been trying desperately to get a grip on my worrying and anxiety and, in particular, my dermotillomania which is just driving me nutty.  Or, more likely, I am already nutty and that’s my I can’t stop destroying my fingers with the constant picking and chewing.  It’s gross.  And I hate it.  And I wish I could stop, but I can’t at the moment.  So, bandaids are my best friend – they cover things up and keep me from being able to do further damage (although, to be honest, I just move on to another finger).

The best thing is to keep busy.  And the best way to keep busy (for me) is to do something creative.  It’s hard to chew your fingers while they’re wrapped around a paintbrush or holding a pair of scissors.  I do try not to sit around doing nothing – watching TV is THE WORST.  Halfway through an episode of Masterchef and I’ve decimated several fingers on one hand and am thinking of moving on to the other.

Anyway, being creative is a good way to put those fingers to better use.  I haven’t had a lot of free time this month so my craft room has been very neglected (the painting below was done weeks ago…)  But I am determined this weekend will have a few hours set aside for me to shut myself away from the world and all the worries it contains and do some painting, collaging, drawing and making.

That’s my wish anyway – things don’t always go to plan 🙂

Thank you for reading.  Hope your weekend is wonderful and that a few special wishes come true for you x

IMG_3926

Advertisements
Image

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 🙂

IMG_3955

Image

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

IMG_3944.JPG

Image

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…

IMG_3590

IMG_3600

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

Image

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

 

IMG_2841

Image

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?  🙂

IMG_2898

Image

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 🙂

 

IMG_2911