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Small Things

Hello everyone – just a quickie post today.

I haven’t done any crafting for weeks, due to illness and getting my house redecorated, and also just not having the inclination.  Always makes me worry when that happens – where does the creativity urge go when it disappears for a while?  I guess it just gets used on other stuff that requires that part of your brain for the time being.

I painted this picture a few weeks back.  I have since bought a couple of other stencils because I am a bit addicted to that brick one – I use it on everything.  I have toyed with the idea of doing a larger version on my own walls but know it will end in disaster and much face-palming and crying from me.  Sometimes I have great visions of what could be achieved, only to realise I don’t possess the necessary skill or talent.  It’s very disappointing.  I blame Pinterest 🙂

I am hoping to get back into something arty this weekend.  Just a little something to get me back in the mood, creatively speaking.

Thanks for dropping by x

Materials : canvas, gesso, acrylic paint, paint pen, pigma pens, permanent pencil.
I will have this piece up on my soon-to-be-opened online shop soon!

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Just What I Want to Be

Hello everyone.  This painting came together surprisingly quickly and easily.  You know how sometimes things just work?  Doesn’t happen very often, but this one was made with a minimum of swearing and preparation.  Maybe that was the key – just getting stuck in and not worrying too much about anything.
When I think too much, things go wrong 🙂

Not sure what “just what I want to be” means for me – I’m still trying to figure that one out.  I keep hoping for some great epiphany, but it’s very late in coming, so I just muddle along and hope I find my way eventually.

Anyway, I was happy with this little painting. And I’m going to leave it at that 🙂

Thanks for reading.  Have a happy day x

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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

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Choose Your Own Adventure

Clearly, I am going to use this brick stencil A LOT.  It is just so effective and provides the perfect background for so many things.  It also saves me a lot of time because normally I would be faffing about looking for a suitably patterned paper to use as a background, or mixing up (and wasting) lots of different colours of paint.  Plus, the best thing about using this stencil is that the less precise you are, the more it looks like real bricks.  Yay!

I wasn’t sure what phrase or words to put on the sign, but kept coming back to “Choose your own Adventure”.  It just seemed right.  It almost looks like she is encouraging people to climb through the hole in the wall and find out what lies beyond.

I’m not quite convinced about her hand – I generally do cartoony-type hands (quite often with only four fingers) so I was going out on a limb trying to do a more realistic one.  But, hey, it’s not too bad.  I hope.  Try not to focus on it – Look away now! 🙂

Thanks, as always, for popping in x

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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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Dream Queen

I managed to do a few paintings / collages on the weekend, after my crafting ban of the prior two weeks.  It was actually good to have a break from it, to clear up a bit (a bit…) and also refresh my brain and start on something different.  I am trying desperately to get better at painting – my Mum and brother are brilliant but I, sadly, am not – and find a style that sits comfortably with me and my abilities (or lack thereof).  I’m also trying to just DO, rather than over-thinking things.

So, I started this painting, which turned out to be a mixed-media piece in the end with the addition of some collaged “extras” and, although she’s not perfect, I’m fairly pleased with her.  I’m trying so hard to not judge my work too harshly, because it hinders the process and makes me have unnecessary tantrums.

This lady got a nice lace collar….

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…and a bit of a rotund face.  A bit too round for my liking….

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…so I trimmed it down a bit, so she’s got a more angular look…and she got a crown too, and some wings (naturally)…

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…I added a stamped border and stamped “dream” letters, anddid a bit of outlining to highlight some details.

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…and she’s done 🙂

I’m still not very good at faces (and I kinda wish I hadn’t made her face less round now), but I am hoping the more I do, the better I will hopefully get!  My other plan was to give up entirely and just paint/draw all my people facing away from me, thus negating the need for faces at all!  Hooray!  But that’s cheating, right?

Thank you for dropping by and having a look at my funny, imperfect art 🙂