Image

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

IMG_3926

Advertisements
Image

Lost and Found (Collage)

Hello everyone and Happy Hump Day!  Aren’t the weeks just flying by?  One minute I am whinging about it being Monday, and the next thing I know we’re heading towards the weekend again.  It’s a sure sign of getting older – the time slipping by at a rapid pace.

This collage was made using a wooden board from a puzzle.  I bought some little wooden puzzles from an op-shop a few weeks ago – they were brand new and still in their plastic wrapping.  The puzzle pieces were held in place by the recessed wooden board, and I thought it would make a great “framed” collage piece.

So, I painted the board with black gesso on all sides and tried in vain to remove the label on it that showed the image of the finished puzzle.  Gah!  Non-removable stickers and labels are the bane of my crafting existence.  This one WOULD NOT COME OFF.  I didn’t dare to use any kind of  label remover, for fear it would leave an oily residue.  So, what to do?  Desperate times call for desperate measures so, rummaging through my “bits and bobs” box, I found a child’s wooden block that was the perfect size to cover the label.  It was painted black and stenciled with the same brick design as the rest of the piece.  after completing the collage, I carefully glued the block to the front, over the label, and made sure it was level with the edge of the board, so the board would stand up on its own.

I think it worked out pretty well.  The block at the front almost looks like a bit of garden wall, or maybe the top of a chimney, and having the whole piece stand up for display is pretty neat too.  I wasn’t sure what words, if any, would suit the theme and so, stuck for ideas, I just used the words “Lost and Found”.  I added the little wonky sixpence to  tie in with the theme (well, vaguely…) and it was all done.

I will be making more of these pieces, as I bought several of the puzzle sets.  It’s great to upcycle things, and the puzzles themselves I have re-thrifted, so they weren’t wasted.

Hope you are all having a good week – thank you for stopping by 🙂

IMG_4017

Image

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

IMG_3950.JPG

Image

Don’t Settle (Collage)

I’ve gotta say… I am lovin’ the bricks on this collage.  They turned out really well (*pats self on back*) and just seemed to fit with the rest of the design.  The pantsuit (isn’t it fabulous?) came from a vintage seventies pattern I found in an op-shop.  I picked up a few for 50c each – I love old dressmaking patterns and their gorgeous illustrations.  And then I cut them up ha ha.

This Deer Lady went through several changes before I settled on this head for her – she was almost a camel at one stage.  I toyed with the idea of her being a rabbit and an ostrich momentarily too, but the deer head seemed most appropriate and ladylike.

It’s one of the first times I’ve used my own quotes, rather than stealing a well-known one from someone much wiser than myself.  But it also seemed to fit.  Sometimes you’ve just gotta go with what feels right, right?

Thank you for stopping by.  Hope your day is amazing 🙂

IMG_3918.JPG

Image

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

IMG_3944.JPG

Image

Serenity Now

Some more weekend crafting…

I must admit, I played around with the background on this for ages, splodging paint on and swiping it, dotting it, mixing different colours etc.  Then I got fed up with my efforts and covered the whole thing in dress pattern paper.  When in doubt, stick some paper over it.  The fine tissue paper of the patterns covers nicely and gives that crinkly, textured look.  I rubbed a bit of white paint over the top to tone it all down to make the text and lines a bit “gentler”.  Then I discovered that I had put the paper on THE WRONG WAY UP, so the hanger at the back of the canvas was on the bottom, instead of at the top.  D’oh!  I haven’t done that sort of silly stuff up for ages.  Oh, well, I will sort it out later 🙂

IMG_1732

Next, I sketched in a head shape.  I was actually really pleased with this one.  I wanted to stop right there, before I spoilt it…

IMG_1733

Then, I added the basic colours to the head, hair and body.  My Mum gave me a pile of paints on the weekend, so I had some extra colours to play with…

IMG_1734

After, drawing and re-drawing the face about a million times, I settled on this one.  It is by no means perfect, and I am still frustrated that I have such trouble with facial features, but it will do.  I have to keep practicing and hopefully improving with each piece!  The only way is up, right?

IMG_1740

I added stamped words and some wings and a crown.  At least I am getting better at putting wings on straight now 🙂

IMG_1745

I wasn’t totally happy with the bigger letters, so I added some swirly details to them to balance it all a bit more and not make the lettering seem so harsh.  I did some outlining, and added a stamped border (kinda wish I hadn’t used black as it is also a bit harsh, but I’m not changing it now – will use a different colour next time that is softer and more in keeping with the rest of the piece).

The “Serenity Now” makes me laugh a bit because of its Seinfeld references, but I still think it is appropriate.  She looks fairly serene, and with the week I’ve had, I could do with some serenity, to be honest.

Overall, I was quite happy with her.  I just really need to work on those faces!

Hope you are having a calm, peaceful day, and if not, hope you can find some space to have a little bit of serenity now x

IMG_1747