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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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…and a partridge (sans) a pear tree

Last-minute mad card-making and doodling for Sunday’s market stall.  Why I always think I can make things right up to the eleventh hour, I do not know.  It’s craziness.  These are my little partridges sans a pear tree.  They all look different – the front one is probably the best and then it all went south from there (I can never draw the same thing twice – the bird at the back looks like a budgie) but I’m still quite happy with them.  I am remembering to wear my new glasses most of the time, which is helping when I am doing detailed colouring.  I still have to mount these on card blanks and maybe stamp a little sentiment underneath (which is always fraught with danger because I am hopeless at stamping straight!) and package them up.

Hope your day is happy – wish me luck at the market! 🙂

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Christmas Peeps

Still doodling and drawing and colouring this week.  I’ve come up with some new designs (typical of me – at the eleventh hour) and I will include them in a future post.  I am using every spare minute to get ready for my market stall on Sunday.  It’s a bit nerve-wracking, trying to get everything ready and not really knowing how many people to expect.  I might be making a whole bunch of stuff for nothing, or not making anywhere near enough.  You just never know.  I only have one allotted table space on the day so I am also trying to figure out how to display everything so it’s easy to access and makes the most of the limited space I have.  I’m sure it will be ok on the day – I just always get nervous beforehand.  It’s very anxiety-provoking, having your own creations on display, to people other than your family and friends who will tell you everything is wonderful (even if it isn’t) and there is nothing worse than having people pick through your stuff, turn their noses up and walk away having purchased nothing.

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I’ve started pricing everything, which is always a tricky process.  How do you make something affordable but still cover costs and time taken to make the darn thing?  Some of my cards take me HOURS to make.  If I charged at some hourly rate I would be selling cards for about $83.00 each!  You have to be sensible.  The doodled cards take less materials but are all hand-coloured and drawn, so do you take into account the fact each one is an original and took some time to colour or do you just say well, it’s a more simple-looking item and charge accordingly?  It’s hard, but at the end of the day, I need the money and can’t afford to make things so expensive that no one will buy them.  I am also guilty of making things I’m not very happy with cheaper, and then pricing some items up because I really like them and don’t want them to sell, ha ha.

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Anyway, I’d be interested to hear how other crafty people market and price their wares.  Particularly if you’re just a “small concern” like me ie not super professional or running an actual business.  To be honest, I just enjoy the creative process and the money isn’t the most important thing – ordinarily anyway.  But, right now, I am struggling a bit and need the extra moolah to see me through Christmas!

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Hope you are having a successful, stress-free week.  Thank you for reading 🙂

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Frosty Greetings

Following on from my previous post, I am on a bit of a snowman vibe at the moment.  I used to draw this particular little guy about 15-20 years ago, and had forgotten all about him.  I don’t know why, because he is so quick and easy to draw and enables me to get lots of cards done in a short amount of time.  Better still, he is of course white so I don’t have to do lots of colouring!  Just black for his hat, a bit of red or blue for his scarf and a tiny swipe of cool grey (Oh I do love my Copic Markers!) for some shadowing, and I’m done.  I’ve tried him with and without a carrot nose – I prefer him without – and he doesn’t even have the customary black-dotted mouth (I’ve always found them a bit creepy).

A quick stamped sentiment and a card is done and dusted in no time.  And I enjoy doing them.  He makes me smile.  I think I also like the fact that he is all mine – my design and idea (although, how hard was it to come up with a snowman?). He’s not exactly a very Australian concept though – perhaps I should try him with a bush hat (the kind with corks hanging from it) and some gum leaves sticking out of it.  Actually, that’s an idea…

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Simple Stamped Snowmen

This is a quick and easy card idea that would be fun to do with kids (or adults!) and produces some lovely, quirky little characters.  I made a whole stack of these in one evening – perfect for when you are time poor and need to make a lot of cards in one go.

There’s lots of examples of stamped snowmen on various websites, using potatoes or sponges cut to shape.  I didn’t have any potatoes (my cupboards were a bit bare this week) so I carved a little roughly-circular-ovalish shape from a leftover piece of rubber from my printing class earlier in the year. I dabbed the stamp into a moistened sponge that had white paint on it and stamped onto some mini brown card stock.  It doesn’t matter if the stamped image doesn’t come out completely perfect – it adds to the design and makes it a bit more rustic and handmade.  But you can fix it up with some more paint if you want to.  The extra details were cut out of coloured card stock and drawn on with a Pigma Micron pen (they’re my go-to for doodling and adding details to things, especially when I don’t want any bleeding of ink or smudges).

I stamped a Christmas greeting on each card to finish, and voila!  So simple and quick!  They’re really cute and you can make each snowman quite individual, just by adding different details.  Try a scarf, or some holly on his hat, or no hat at all.  I also added a bit of glitter to them to help the white shine (you can’t see it in the photo…) but you can do anything you like to make them your own.

Hope your festive season is shaping up to be happy and heart-warming 🙂

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Doodling and Squinting

I really need glasses.  It is no longer a case of “I might need glasses…” and I can’t ignore it any longer.  My squint has become almost permanent and I am no longer able to get through the day without a headache or feeling like my eyes are have run a marathon.  I have those crappy specs from the chemist and I use them sometimes but they’re not ideal and I really need a professional to outfit my eyeballs properly.

I have been putting it off because of the expense (tightwad, tightwad…) but it is false economy and I need to just bite the bullet and get some real glasses.  It’s not a vanity thing –  I think I actually look ok with specs on, and think glasses are pretty cool on most people.  Maybe I can even fool people into thinking I am intelligent! 🙂  My nephew has them and he’s gorgeous.  Plus, being a librarian, glasses kinda go with the cliched territory, right?

I have been trying to draw and colour this week, with mixed results.  I find I am not able to focus very well and I am colouring outside the lines with annoying regularity.  Ugh.  SO annoying.  And a waste of time because it renders whatever I am doing a bit worthless and un-usable (especially if I chuck a wobbly and throw it in the bin in disgust).

Anyway, some little peeps to make into cards.  I had already had them drawn (see THIS post) – they just needed colouring.  I am still experimenting with different card stock and marker pens to get the right result.  I like the first little lady the best – she’d kinda cute – but I will keep going and draw/colour some more.  Still wishing I could do eyes…maybe when my own are fixed I will be able to manage them 🙂

Have a bright and colourful day everyone x

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