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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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Lake Lovely

When I am feeling energetic (and, quite often, when I am not) I go walking after work.  I wish I could say I am diligent and do this every day, but I would be a liar.  I usually manage about three times a week, which is a bit pathetic, but it’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

Some afternoons I go walking along the beach, which is lovely and scenic and blows the cobwebs of the workday away;  most days, however, I walk around the local lake, which is on my way home and provides me with a nice, easy, 3.5km route.

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Because I am generally quite lazy, it is good to have a circular route to walk – it means I just keep going until I get back to where I started.  I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t get tempted to turn around and head back either.  The lake also has multiple paths; some of them meander through the bush so you can jog a bit and no one can see you ha ha.  I don’t run in public unless I can be sure I don’t have witnesses.  No one needs to see that.

The lake is populated by LOTS of birdlife.  Swans, ducks, moorhen, and herons, as well as my favourite, the pelicans, and some long-necked tortoises, which I am yet to spot.

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As it is breeding season for many of the birds, there are cute, fluffy bundles of downy joy dotted around the lake, following their parents around and getting up to mischief.  There are plenty of reeds and other plant life to provide happy nesting spots and hideaways for the vulnerable babies.

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I am dying to see some cygnets.  I love the black swans – they are so majestic and beautiful.  There are a couple at the lake that have allowed me to get quite close – sometimes they waddle up to me of their own accord.  During breeding season, they can become a little bit aggressive and protective of their offspring, which is totally understandable.  It’s best to keep your distance at those times and give them their space.  Even if you do want to run headlong into those gorgeous, grey, fluffy cygnets and squeeze them in an adoring cuddle.  It’s not really recommended.

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There are also lots of cormorants.  I adore them.  Those funny webbed feet!  The fluffy, shaggy feathers on their plump bellies and chest!  The almost bat-like wings!  The way they dry themselves in the sun, holding up their wings like laundry!  The way they hiss at me when I get too close and annoy them with my photo-taking! 🙂

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The lone egret is a tricky individual to photograph.  He doesn’t like being bothered and you can’t get too close before he flies off.  It could also be because I have mistakenly been calling him a heron, and he’s not.  I have offended him and now he doesn’t want a bar of me, or my camera.  So all my shots of him are blurry (because I am far away and have zoomed my camera in).  It’s very inconsiderate of him, to be honest.

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Towards sunset, the lake takes on a magical quality.  I tend to keep stopping to take photos, which is not really making efficient use of my exercise time, but hey, the sky and water is so pretty at night!  It’s hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.

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I am always on the lookout for new places to walk ; it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different landscapes/wildlife to look at.  The lake, for now, remains one of my favourites.  Easy to get to, easy parking, lots of people around (for safety’s sake) and lots of lovely birdies for me to photograph.  I am lucky to have these spaces to utilise and enjoy, and get that much-needed exercise.  That egret will just have to get used to me because I’m going to keep coming back 🙂

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Blessing Tree

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Having had a bit of a creative slump lately, I was moping around at home trying to figure out something I could do to get me back on track.  I didn’t want to make a card (odd, for me, because I always like making cards) and my attempts at making a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired collage were all dismal and uninspiring.  So, what to do?

I have a box of “bits” that I hold on to for upcycling/altering or using in other projects.  It’s got tins and wooden blocks, boxes, decorations and papier mache forms.  Basically, it’s a box of crap that I have collected.  It’s a hoarder’s dream, but it does come in handy when I am stuck for inspiration and want to do something different.

So, with that in mind, I rummaged around and found these weird Christmas decorations.  I bought them years ago in a post-Xmas sale, so they only cost me 25c each or something (the original price was $9.99 – ridiculous!).  I thought they would be good for altering, stamping on, painting etc.  I liked the shape and the fact they had a good solid base, as well as being able to hang them from something.

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Crazily expensive Xmas decoration!

I had been playing around with them for a bit when I decided to make a tree out of one of them.  Don’t ask me why.  I like trees, I guess, but I had never really had an urgent desire  to make a little mini-tree of my own.  This one came together reasonably quickly, once I got into it.  I covered the body/trunk in dictionary text and sealed it with gel medium mixed with a little black and brown paint.  I raided some sticks from the neighbour’s tree and made wee little branches with them, stuck into the holes in the wooden shape.

During a crafty session with my nephews and nieces, I made some teeny-weeny mushrooms and a little bird out of polymer clay.  After baking them and letting them cool, I painted them (with a lot of squinting) with acrylic paints.

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Polymer clay teeny-tiny mushrooms and a birdie!
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Painting mushroom # 1
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Adding the final detail to mushroom # 3.  Do you know how fiddly it is to paint tiny little “gills” on a tiny little mushroom?
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Wee birdie.  I didn’t make him too detailed.  Partly out of laziness, but mostly because I was scared of making a shemozzle out of it.

I then crafted a little bird’s nest from twine, which was oddly therapeutic. Just twisting and fraying the twine and making it a roughly bird-nesty shape.  I really do like making tiny things.  I don’t know why, but they are very satisfying and appealing, from a creative point of view.  I really do need to wear my glasses when doing this stuff though!

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Mini bird’s nest!
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Happy little birdie in a tiny nest!

Eventually, it was all put together (very carefully – it’s not the most robust of creations!), sitting on a base of sphagnum moss glued to a wooden lid, and I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s just for me.  No purpose behind it (not a gift or something to sell) – it’s just purely for me.  I added the “Benedictus” text (from an old large print dictionary) because, very roughly translated, it means “Blessed Be” which kinda resonates with me for various reasons.  I wanting to make some more things like this now.  I’m feeling the mixed-media vibe right now!  I’d like to try some tea-bag art next…will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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The final product.  Blessing Tree complete.  Blessed Be!
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Christmas Wishes (Robin Card)

A quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Let’s make a pledge to fill our world with kindness, love, understanding, and empathy this year. We’ve had enough hate, violence and suffering to last us into the next millennium.

I made this quick little Christmas card for my Mum (she loves robins).  I always seem to end up cutting out teeny-weeny bird toes, don’t I?

Best wishes to you all.  Be safe this festive season, and stay close to your loved ones.  Thank you for all your support and comments throughout the year 🙂

Happy Christmas x

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That’s That

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just say “Everything is ok and that’s all there is to it…” and then everything would just miraculously be fine and dandy?  If only!

This little birdie is standing defiant and saying “No, I will not let things get to me – everything’s ok and I won’t hear any negativity today!”  She’s even pulled her crown down over her earholes, just in case.  Might as well block out the naysayers and the party-poopers (there are lots of party poopers in the bird world, I’ve heard), and anyone who starts their conversations with “You can’t” or “Yes, but..” will be summarily banished from the nesting box.  It’s that simple.

Hope your world is full of positive people today and that your mind is free from worries.  If not, just pull your crown on tighter and ignore the heck out of anyone or anything that threatens to rain on your parade.

Take care of yourselves x

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