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Spring Sings

Spring is one of my favourite times of the year.  All those beautiful flowers blooming, baby everythings everywhere you look (finally got some GORGEOUS broods of cygnets at the local lake – I just want to squeeze them!), blue skies and glorious sunshine (well, some of the time anyway…so far we’ve had a pretty cold and wet Spring).  I love how the evenings change – there’s that particular feeling in the air.  The feeling of change and of warmth coming.  The days are longer and the mornings brighter.

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My garden, such as it is, also changes with the coming of Spring.  The majority of my plants are in pots – I just haven’t had the money or energy to create a proper garden yet.  I mostly have weeds.  Lots of weeds.  I’m a bit ashamed of them, to be honest.  My neighbour’s gardens are all pristine, well-manicured and tidy.  Mine is the feral one.  I try not to look at it.  My back has been playing up such a lot lately that I daren’t do any weeding or any activity that requires much bending in the garden.  So, weeds it is.

This weekend I was surprised to find this glorious bloom in my courtyard.  An Apostle’s Iris.  So pretty!  I got this plant about 18 months ago at a Quiz Night and had no idea what it was.  I figured it was probably an iris of some kinds, but I wasn’t sure.  I have neglected it totally and haven’t even repotted it into a decent sized pot.  Then, yesterday morning, this beautiful flower appeared.  The plant also has a baby that has taken root in another pot, so I’ll have two plants soon.  Yay!

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My pelargoniums are always cooperative and do very well, even with my slack gardening efforts.  I have had this one for a few years and the flowers are just gorgeous.  So bright and cheerful, and long-lasting.  I’ve taken lots of cuttings over the years and so the original plant is now growing in lots of different pots and other people’s gardens!

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I often go for a little walk during my lunch break and the bushland nearby has lots of pretty natives (and a few non-native interlopers) blooming.  I love the bright and cheery wattle – I don’t suffer from hay fever like so many other people – and the colour is always so lovely against the greens and browns of the bush.

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I believe this lovely purple climber is called “Happy Wanderer”.  It’s from the pea family, so it creates its own food by bringing nitrogen to the soil.  It’s so pretty.

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This bright pink beauty is a type of wild geranium.  It grows pretty prolifically and is common around coastal areas as it is very hardy and doesn’t mind a bit of salt air.

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And then we have good old freesias.  I LOVE the smell of them.  I pick lots and lots in Spring time and have them in the library.  Their scent is so gorgeous and fresh.  They are not a native, and in some states are considered a pest.  So I can pick as many as I like 🙂  I even had them in my wedding bouquet, a million years ago.  They make me happy.

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The best thing about Spring, besides the flowers and baby critters, is the promise of Summer.  THAT is my favourite season.  The heat, the sunshine, the balmy nights (that everyone else complains about but I love because it’s warm, warm, warm) and the blue skies.  But, Spring is a pretty close second.  It’s Mother Nature’s party time, her extended prom night, her chance to show off a bit.

Do you have a favourite season?  Does spring bring you joy or does it spell runny-nosed-sneezy-wheezy hay fever hell for you?

Either way, hope you’ve got some spring in your step today (or some Autumn Attitude for our Northern Hemisphere pals!) 🙂

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Bloom Collage

Hello everyone!  How was your weekend?  Did you get up to something nice, or did it fly by before you had time to even wind down from the week’s efforts, and before you knew it, it was Monday again?  It sometimes seems like it is always Monday, doesn’t it?

I had a mixed-bag weekend.  It started off with a migraine, then there was a funeral (not related to my migraine!) and an MRI (very much related to my migraine), a lovely craft show, some op-shopping, and ended with a relaxing afternoon at home painting and collaging.  My Mum stayed with me (the funeral of a long-time friend had been upsetting and she didn’t really want to be on her own) and we talked about lots of things, drank far too much tea, and tried to stay warm (it was freezing this weekend!).

I managed to complete a couple of little canvases, that I am fairly pleased with.  This first one has been a while in the making, as I painted the lady some time ago but couldn’t figure out how I wanted to use her.  She was a bit darker than some of my other ladies, and none of the backgrounds I tried worked with her.

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Until I found this charcoal-coloured, wallpaper-like paper.  She seemed right at home there so I stuck her down before I changed my mind, gave her a crown, added some paper flowers and a bit of detailing, and finished it off with some bunting.  A tiny bit of text and she was all done.

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So nice to get something completed.  I haven’t been doing much due to my headaches and general feeling of blah.  Must try harder.  The craft show we attended on the weekend gave us lots of inspiration and ideas and we stocked up on supplies and arty goodies, so I have no excuse for not getting stuck in.  Watch this space!

Hope we all manage to bloom just a little bit this week 🙂

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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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Word Book

Sometimes I lose my words.  Not just when I’m talking, but also when I am crafting and using actual words.  Like, cut-out-of-books words, that I use for mixed-media projects.  Teeny, tiny little scraps of paper with EXACTLY THE RIGHT WORDS ON THEM THAT SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR WHEN I COUGH OR SNEEZE OR START WHISTLING.  Or, I cut them out and leave it on my desk where God only knows what could happen.  Because once something ends up on my desk, it is lost in no man’s land, never to be found again (or, at least, not until I’ve given up and used a completely different word which changes the whole meaning of the piece).

So, my Mum, ever the organised and, let’s face it, more mature adult, suggested I make a little word book, with all those little-bitty scraps in them, all neatly set out and ready to use.  Her idea is simple : stick the adhesive strip at the top of Post-It Notes onto a page in a photo album (the kind where you slip the photos in to little sleeves) and – voila! – you have created a perfect receptacle for your words, sentences and letters.  You stick the adhesive strip (sticky side up) onto the pages with double sided tape and then just pop your words on top.  They stay in place, the adhesive isn’t sticky enough to make the page get stuck inside the sleeve, and everything is hunky-dory, neat and tidy.  Genius!

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So, instead of losing those words, or having to hunt through piles of junk on your desk to find them, you have a perfectly organised little file, which saves you time and energy.  So you can concentrate on finishing your crafty projects, word art, or collages, and feel good knowing you have created some order in your messy life.  I don’t know about you, but I need all the order and calmness I can get right now.

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Hope this has been helpful.  You can thank my Mum 🙂