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Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all 🙂  Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just had a few little treats?  Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?  Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.  I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.  It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.  I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.  I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!  If only people didn’t have eyes!  It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.  It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!  Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow – just dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued and finished on the plaque itself.  I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.  I adhered her with gel medium and then added flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage books.  The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!  I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.  I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

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I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s features – I was using a very fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.  I will do better next time! I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the “me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

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So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.  I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.  Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist 🙂  I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.  I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

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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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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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Abstract Watercolour Card

Abstract Watercolour Card

Mucking about last night with some scraps of water colour paper that I had splattered, splodged and dripped paint on to.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do – I really was just playing.  In the end I made a card by cutting a rectangle from the paper, and then cutting it up into random pieces.  I added little blobs and swipes of gold paint before sticking the pieces down to form a kind of mosaic design.  With a contrasting splattered paper, I cut three random shapes and edged them with gold, before adhering those to the base layer with mounting tape.  I then mounted the whole section on a kraft card blank.

It’s a bit different – I’m trying not to overthink things and just play with materials and styles.

Here endeth the quickie post 🙂

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Change of Direction

Change of Direction

Happy Monday everyone!  Well, let’s at least try to pretend a Monday can be happy, despite it being, well, a Monday.

Tried my hand at some water-colour painting on the weekend.  I have given up trying to find the right markers for my little cards.  They obviously have changed the formulation over the years and the ones I previously used are no longer available, or legal, or safe for human use.  I haven’t decided which of those scenarios is the most likely.  It doesn’t matter now as I have found that my water-colour technique doesn’t suck quite as badly as I had feared.  My first couple of attempts were a bit dodgy, but I got better as I went along and I am quite pleased with my little people.  I like the paler finish and range of colour I can get.  I do not have a very steady hand (I blame this on the meningitis but, really, I am just a wobbly shaker and have all the steadiness of a, well, wobbly shaky thing) but I managed to not make too many boo-boos and stay within the lines.  Hopefully I will improve as I go along. 

I’m really enjoying drawing and painting.  While I do not have the artistic awesomeness and talent of my Mum and brother, I think I have developed my own funny little style.  It’s more satisfying than making the jewellery (which I do enjoy but it’s really just bunging a few beads on to something, let’s face it.  I mean, I didn’t make the beads…) and I feel like it’s more me.

I’m thinking of maybe doing a drawing class, just to gain some more skills and learn the basics re anatomy etc.  So that my little figures look correct, even if they are funny and cartoony etc.  I wish I could do eyes, but I am getting around that by doing mine closed so I don’t have to worry about ruining a drawing with weird, spooky or psycho eyeballs. 

I’m trying so hard this year to be comfortable with me and my own talents, modest as they may be.  I have always compared myself with my Mum and brother, both of whom are amazing artists and can do just about anything – painting, drawing, sewing, sculpture, you name it –  but I have to stop doing that.  We’re different people and maybe I have some skills that they don’t have.  But I haven’t discovered any yet so I keep trying…

Anyway, it is always fun trying something new, creatively-speaking, and all I wanted to do today was get home and start painting again!  Instead I had to be at work, writing a research report on amino acids, beta-amyloid and gluthathione.  So fascinating…not!  But I finished the report plus got halfway through another by the the end of the day and even got stuck into some overdue notices.  I know, right? I am living the dream!  Whoever said librarians don’t have exciting jobs eh? 🙂

So, now at home, I am contemplating picking up the paintbrush again, but it is so cold and miserable that all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch, watch My Kitchen Rules and eat something warm and comforting.  So my little people might have to wait another night to get some colour on them.

Hope your day was happy 🙂

x

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The last little poppet I shall ever colour with marker pens (most likely) *wipes away tear*

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She joins her bright sisters in welcoming…

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…the new and improved version in water-colour!

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I love water-colour THIS much! ❤

Sanding off the rough edges of life…

Sanding off the rough edges of life…

 

 

 

 

It would be nice if life was like a craft project.  You could sand off the rough edges, paint it a different colour, stamp meaningful words on it or scrub it all off and start again.  You could cut bits out and throw them away.  You could add bits of ribbon to fancy it up or leave it plain and simple.  You could shape it into a heart or a flower or a star.  You could drill holes in it and hang it somewhere safe.  You could fill in those holes and make it whole again.  You could weave it with patterns and stitch it with love.  You could glue it together so it never comes apart.
You could colour outside the lines if you wanted to or make things precise, and both would be “right” because it’s ART.  You could wear it with pride or give it to someone else.  You could tea-dye it so it looks older, rather than trying to keep it clean and new. You could hold it tightly in your hands as something precious, or tear it in to a thousand pieces and throw it to the four winds.  You could leave it to future generations or bestow it on the present, knowing its meaning will change as each generation changes.  

It’s been a long day, one that started out quite happily and progressed into an evening of stress and drama.  Not my own stress and drama, but that of a family member, which in some ways is worse.  Hurting for other people is the worse hurt of all.  When your heart breaks for someone else it is terribly painful. I want to fix everything and wave a magic wand and make everybody ok again.  But I can’t.  I am not big enough or brave enough.  I’m not clever enough or rich enough to make problems go away and I do so wish that I was. Even if I know it is not my responsibility to repair other people’s “stuff”.

But I guess, in some ways, life is like a craft project.  It has rough edges that need a bit of smoothing.  It has chipped paint and faded bits that need restoring.  It comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t always fit everybody the same way.  Sometimes seams rip and stuffing comes out.  Sometimes you drop a stitch or forget to knit one, purl one and your design turns out a little funny and lopsided.  Sometimes other people don’t understand your ART.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough black paint to cover it up and there will always be somebody else’s inky fingerprint EXACTLY where you don’t want it.

Today I just want to be able to hold everybody else together at the seams, to stop the stuffing falling out.  But at the end of a long day, just like this one, I wonder who is going to do the same for me, when I fear my own stitches are becoming frayed, and I’ve run out of safety pins.  I must learn to repair what I can and leave the rest up to the Gods, because every creation is a work in progress and who knows when it is finished but the one who created it?

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PS  Apologies for a melancholy post.  It has been a very long evening and I am worn out and definitely frayed around the edges.  Luckily I have more than enough stuffing to worry about losing too much of that and I think my distressed and ragged patina is part of my charm 🙂

Goodnight all – may tomorrow be a better day x