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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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Incredibly Precious (and Frustrating)

Sometimes you work on a creative project that comes together like a dream.  It all just WORKS.  You are filled with inspiration and artistic amazingness.  You are in awe of your own raw talent.  Every brush stroke is a masterpiece, each element a triumph.*

Then other days you just screw everything up and make a million mistakes and can barely draw a stick figure, let alone create an artistic rendering of the human form.

Take this little lady, for instance.  I have never sworn so much in all my life.**

Everything went wrong with this piece.  First of all I did the design on the wrong side.  That hole at the top?  Shouldn’t be there.  It should be on the side, so that when you thread ribbon or string or whatever it will hang from, the picture will be on the side facing out, instead of turned on its side.  Duh.

Then, I stuffed up the face several times and had to keep painting over it.  This meant that the paint underneath got lumpier and lumpier and, me being me, didn’t let it dry sufficiently before trying to repaint it so it ended up lifting off and making the lady look like she had some sort of pox.

Then I smudged her features (eyes etc) and had to repaint AGAIN.  Then I tried doing blushed cheeks but made such a mess of it I had to stick a butterfly on her face to disguise what looked to be very bad acne.  Whilst sticking the butterfly on, I tore it slightly in a couple of places, but had to still stick it down because it was the only little butterfly I had and part of it had already adhered.

THEN, I attempted to glue the text on.  Positioned it perfectly.  Then realised I’d put the words on in the wrong order.  The original wording was “incredibly dear”, and I had glued “dear incredibly”.   So, after having to scrape off what I could of the words, I had to find replacements, which took FOREVER.  Eventually, I got the new phrase stuck on, in the right order and without too much fuss.

So, this little lady was a right madam and I was very glad to finish her.  But I kinda liked her, in the end.  So she was high-maintenance – who isn’t, sometimes?  I’m really annoyed about the hole at the top being in the wrong place but can’t do much about it now!  Each project is a learning process and that includes all the mistakes.  I’m also learning (the hard way) to be more patient and not be in such a rush to get things finished, because that’s when I do silly things that end up costing me lots of time.

Hope you experience success in all your endeavours today – thanks for dropping by 🙂

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* Granted, this doesn’t happen very often.  Not to me, anyway.

** Probably not true.  I am a bit of a potty mouth.

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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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Seemeth to Be

Still making cards…and more cards and more cards.  I have only a couple of weeks until the Christmas market I am participating in opens its doors..  So panic stations are well and truly underway.  I don’t get a lot of free time at the weekends and evenings are tricky because I’m usually tired and head-achey and the light is bad.  Basically, I just make lots of excuses.  But I am now trying to be more organised and sensible.  I make up a card – putting all the pieces I need and am happy with together in a plastic sleeve, and then move on to the next card, leaving the actual finishing process until a time when I can get things done all at once and in quick succession.  It is a good way to stop time-wasting.  If I’m not quite happy with something, or can’t figure out exactly what I need to finish something off, I can put it aside and come back to it, when the creative juices are flowing and Gods of Crafty Inspiration are heeding my calls for divine help.

I wasn’t super-duper happy with this card, but it’s done and I am leaving it alone now so I don’t fiddle any more.  No good comes of fiddling and faffing about!  I don’t have time to worry about it being perfect or not, anyway.  I can always add something to it at a later stage, if I want to.

I think you’ll agree the little legs, feet and tree branches aren’t cut out too badly, considering I am half blind in the evenings and my scissors are getting a bit blunt (Note to Self : put new scissors on list for Santa).  I know some people are handy with a craft knife, but I don’t have the dexterity or control in my hands (thanks again meningococcal!) to cut neatly and without ruining things.  So I have to use little scissors.  Same result so who cares what I use, right?

This little birdie “seemeth to be” quite jaunty and poised to take off, perhaps to a party or some other feathery soiree where paper hats are appropriate.  Maybe she is awaiting the hatching of her ginormous egg.  She does have a look about her that says “Did I do that?”

Have a lovely day everyone 🙂

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Beloved

Finally, a weekend of crafting!  I was so determined this weekend to get up early, get stuff done and fit in some card-making.  I rushed around doing laundry and some gardening, took Mum grocery shopping and did a spot of op-shopping (because I, um, needed to? *looks guilty*).  Then I crafted.  I got up extra early in order to get things done and not waste time.  I stayed in my PJs all day and ignored the TV and Facebook and all those other measly distractions.  Several friends invited me out to lunch and coffee and for walks and I told them I had other plans.  Plans that did not involve putting clothes on or wearing makeup or being sociable.  I didn’t even lie – I just said “I need to stay home in my pyjamas and make stuff”.  I made a complete and utter mess and now I am not looking forward to clearing it all up so I might just pretend it’s not there.  Or move house.

It took me a while to get started – sometimes the mojo needs a bit of coercing – but then I made a couple of cards I was happy with. Especially this one – I like the colours and the composition and the bird is just so dapper.  Look at his little tie and bling!  I felt like he should have had a top hat too, but that may have been pushing it.

Now I feel as though I may be getting a cold, which is yucky and annoying (I hardly ever get colds) especially as I wanted to start exercising again today.  I just wanted to stay in bed this morning and pull the blanket over my face and sleep forever.  But, sadly, one must work if one wishes to continue buying craft supplies and go op-shopping.  Such is life.

Hope you are having a bright and breezy day, and spending time with a Beloved or two, if you’re lucky 🙂

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Joy

A quickie post to show you a little collage my Mum has just finished.  It’s gorgeous – very Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired (we love her).  I’m so jealous that Mum can do eyes and faces – try as I might, I CANNOT GET THEM RIGHT.  I’m glad she is working on some things for herself (she normally paints and sews items that always end up being for someone else) and just enjoying the process of creating again.  I’m hoping she starts to finally get some things, that she has made, on her walls (at the moment they’re kinda blank, waiting for just the right painting or artwork) so she can fill her home with beautiful things to be proud of and treasured.

She’s working on some collaged wooden eggs now as well as some other canvases.

Love this piece – it does indeed bring me Joy to see my Mum happy and making art again, just for her and no one else  🙂

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Crimbo Doodles!

Crimbo Doodles!

Finally, after many weeks of not doing anything crafty at all, I managed to get in a few hours of creativity this weekend.  I was determined to do SOMETHING, even if it was just planning stuff out so I would have a head-start next weekend.

I desperately need to get started on my Christmas cards for this year.  I am so behind – normally I have some done by now but I have zero. Zip. Nada.  Which is pretty bad.  Especially since it takes me FOREVER to make just one and I need about 30 at least.  I don’t like resorting to bought ones, but the last couple of years I have had to.  And it irks me.

Anyway, enough waffling.  I sat down late on Saturday night and doodled a few little designs, so that they would be dry and ready to be coloured/painted on Sunday afternoon.  (Please excuse colouration of photos – I used Instagram and forgot to take any pics on my regular camera).

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On Sunday, after attending a lecture on “Anxiety across the Lifespan” (interesting, I enjoyed the information on how the brain actually works during anxiety, and learnt about the Hand Brain Model which is useful for explaining said processes in an easy-to-visualise format) and having lunch with friends (Yum…Beetroot and Haloumi Salad at Circa), I went home and got stuck into painting my little peeps.  I did them rather brighter this time, not giving them the more pastel/watercolour look that I have done previously.

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I added some elements (skin on face and hands, hair on some of them) with a Copic marker.

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Then I got fed up altogether with using paint at all (I was having a wobbly hand day) and tried just using the Copics.  I only have a few colours and many of them are drying up (Lord knows how old they are…I have had them ages).  I didn’t have a nice bright red – just a deep burgundy colour.  But it looks ok and wasn’t too streaky, although on the larger areas, such as the body, I did feel it showed a bit too many streaks and patches.  Probably more to do with my technique than the pen itself…plus I was using watercolour paper so it probably wasn’t the best medium to use the pens on.

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Finally, as it was nearly time to stop and pack up (ha ha – I say “pack up” like I am actually going to do that, instead of just leaving out for three weeks), I had an epiphany of sorts and decided to try paper-piecing instead of painting or colouring.  The result was the little lady below.  I kinda love her.  She looks a bit Charlie and Lola-esque but that was unintentional.  I really like the effect of the patterned paper and it was so much easier and less curse-word-inducing than painting or colouring in.  I still used the markers for the smaller elements (skin, hair, pom-pom etc) but used paper for the hat and dress.  Voila!

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 I have always liked paper as a medium.  I don’t know why I didn’t just do it like this to start with.  I have a ridiculous amount of patterned paper, so I should be able to make a load of cards like these in no time.  Although, truthfully, it will still take me forever, because I am picky about coordinating colours and patterns.  But still, at least I accomplished something for the weekend!  Last night I finished off the day by sitting and doodling lots of heads and hands, hat bands and pom-poms so that I can put them together with the papers at a later stage.  Hopefully not too much later.  I don’t want to go another month without creating.  It’s too important and too much fun and makes life much more enjoyable 🙂

Hope your weekend was happy and creative and exactly how you wanted it to be x