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My Friend

After some time away from crafting, I finally sat down to do some collage-making on the weekend.  And was immediately met with contempt and disdain from the creative Gods.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around starting anything, let alone actually completing a half-way decent piece.  I doodled, I painted, I cut out and fiddled about, but nothing was working.  Is spent ages drawing and painting a little crowned lady, only to be disgusted at my own lack of artistic talent, and threw her in the bin.  Sigh.

Then I went back to basics.  I started with a nicely patterned piece of paper and stuck it down on a fresh board.  I lightly smeared white gesso over the paper, rubbing it off in places and letting some of the pattern show through.  I stamped a heart in one corner – I didn’t even bothered trying to draw or paint one, given my creative ability  had deserted me that day.  I let it all dry and thought about what else I wanted to add.

I felt like doing a “wordy” plaque – something with all text and little else.  So I began stamping…

I have a nice collection of alphabet stamps now – all different sizes and styles.  I buy them wherever I see them – you can never have enough – and it’s good to have different fonts and in both upper and lower cases.  I am hopeless at getting things straight but I am learning to not worry so much about that.

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Aside from the stamping itself, which took forever due to my dropsy fingers (I’m sure I have some teeny little clear stamps embedded in the carpet now…), this project was done and dusted quickly and I am pretty happy with it.

Most importantly, it got my creative mojo a-happening again, which meant I was able to start a few other projects as well, and make myself feel better about my lack of “oomph” earlier in the day.  It’s easy to get discouraged – well, it is for me, anyway!

Thank you for dropping by – hope you’re having a happy, productive day x

 

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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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Quiet and Content

Hello everyone!  I have been a little bit absent lately due to *cough, cough* a lurgy that left me feeling feeble and pathetic.  I also hurt my back with all the coughing and so am walking around like a pale, decrepit, phlegmy old thing.  I had time off work – my boss made me – and moped about the house, sleeping and complaining about life.  My Mum has also been unwell (and also has some worrying back problems) and so I’ve been worrying about her as well.  Lots happening – family dramas, work issues, health concerns – and all of it inevitably provokes the anxiety monster that resides in me.  I want to poke it with a stick and make it go away but it laughs in my face and makes its presence known with various aches, pains and physical ailments.  I even got pimples!  I don’t get pimples!!!  I am forty three years old, for crying out loud – I didn’t even have pimples when I was a teenager.

Anyway,  what I am trying to say is that I haven’t had much time (or energy) to do any crafting.  I’ve attempted a few things but mostly just moved stuff around, squinted a lot and sighed heavily at my lack of artistic ability.  My craft room looks worse than normal – I have had to make a little path from the doorway to the desk so I don’t trip and break my neck, falling over the various boxes of papers and supplies.  I could tidy up, yes, but that would take up precious squinting and sighing time.

In the midst of all this creative slumpery, I did manage to complete one little collage-canvas and it is OK.  I will settle for ok at the moment.  I don’t want to throw it out the window or set it on fire, so that’s a good sign.  The little lady on it did give me some stress – I stupidly painted her with gouache paint, not realising you couldn’t put gel medium over that (without it smearing and making an unholy mess) – but I repainted her with the usual acrylics and, in the end, I quite like her and her simplicity.  I tried not to muck about too much.  I am still not very good at faces, but am trying to just DO them and not get bent out of shape if they are not perfect.  Her lips are well wonky.  Don’t look at them.

So, in essence, I tried to zen out and be “quiet and content” with this piece.  The background actually looks like a single piece of text paper, but I actually collaged lots of torn pieces from different pages and then distressed / painted over it.  That was the easy bit that required no swearing or nervous breakdowns (gouache – I am talking to you!).

Hope you are all well right now and having a happy week.  Where is the year going?

Thank you for dropping by 🙂

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Quiet and Content by Violet Annie
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Word Book

Sometimes I lose my words.  Not just when I’m talking, but also when I am crafting and using actual words.  Like, cut-out-of-books words, that I use for mixed-media projects.  Teeny, tiny little scraps of paper with EXACTLY THE RIGHT WORDS ON THEM THAT SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR WHEN I COUGH OR SNEEZE OR START WHISTLING.  Or, I cut them out and leave it on my desk where God only knows what could happen.  Because once something ends up on my desk, it is lost in no man’s land, never to be found again (or, at least, not until I’ve given up and used a completely different word which changes the whole meaning of the piece).

So, my Mum, ever the organised and, let’s face it, more mature adult, suggested I make a little word book, with all those little-bitty scraps in them, all neatly set out and ready to use.  Her idea is simple : stick the adhesive strip at the top of Post-It Notes onto a page in a photo album (the kind where you slip the photos in to little sleeves) and – voila! – you have created a perfect receptacle for your words, sentences and letters.  You stick the adhesive strip (sticky side up) onto the pages with double sided tape and then just pop your words on top.  They stay in place, the adhesive isn’t sticky enough to make the page get stuck inside the sleeve, and everything is hunky-dory, neat and tidy.  Genius!

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So, instead of losing those words, or having to hunt through piles of junk on your desk to find them, you have a perfectly organised little file, which saves you time and energy.  So you can concentrate on finishing your crafty projects, word art, or collages, and feel good knowing you have created some order in your messy life.  I don’t know about you, but I need all the order and calmness I can get right now.

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Hope this has been helpful.  You can thank my Mum 🙂

Vintage Finds and Funnies

Vintage Finds and Funnies

My Mum has sold her house (hooray!) and we are madly scrambling to find her another house to move to.  No easy task.  My Mum is not what you’d call fussy, but she really wants to find a place that she can call her own and that is new without being super modern, older-style but not falling to pieces or in need of lots of TLC.  We have been viewing lots of properties but none have been suitable yet.  Or in the right price range (ie cheap) or in the right suburb.  So for now, we are just trying to get her own house sorted out and packed up so that she is ready to go when the time comes to actually lock the door for the final time and wave goodbye.

Helping her clear out a bedroom this weekend I came across some vintage books that had seen better days.  Most of them were falling to pieces so weren’t really worth saving (as much as it pains me to throw books out – they were practically disintegrating) and many of them were encyclopaedia type books where the information in them was incorrect, outdated and in some instances very racist and wrong!  I did however keep a few pages where I could, to use in craft work and card-making.  There was a nice children’s encyclopaedia that had a few colour plates in it :

 

 

The Alphabet pages were charming but also quite funny in places.  For instance:

 

I’m not sure what “spending a penny” means in your country but in England and Australia it is a colloquialism for having a pee!

 

 

Poor Winifred…I’m not quite sure why she’s having to drink out of a drain pipe!

 

 

I don’t think Keith is particularly big or jolly.  He’s not Santa!  He’s a rather effeminate little boy…not that there’s anything wrong with that, I am quick to point out.  Love the bathers!

 

 

I also managed to salvage a few pages of sheet music and lovely, colourful maps.

 

 

 

Hiding in a cupboard was a little gingham pony I had made years ago.  I’d like to say I was only a kid when I made it, hence the rubbish sewing, but it was only a couple of years back so I’ve no excuse.  The dear little thing is a bit deformed – I haven’t got the heart to throw him out 🙂

 

So, Mum and I are unearthing a few treasures and a lot of junk.  It’s amazing the stuff we accumulate (I know where I inherited my hoarding from!).  It’s nice to find old treasures though, and have a good old clear out.  Maybe it will take having to move out to get me to tidy up my place!