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Changeling (Collage)

Another day, another collage… I am just continuing with the cuttin’ and pastin’ at the moment, as that’s what I am in the mood to do.  I have learnt to not fight these moods and just go with it.  I finished this piece in record time, even though it was a larger canvas (8 x8″) and a much larger image than I am used to working with.  I was a bit nervous drawing those antennae in…a steady hand was required and a steady hand I do not possess.  However – deep breath held – I managed to do them (in permanent marker no less – scary!)) and I am kinda pleased with the way they look.  Silly how something as tiny as a symmetrical, even and non-wonky pair of antennae can make you happy 🙂

I struggled for ages (as per usual) to find the right word for this fellow but then I came across “changeling” and it seemed to fit.  Not exactly a faerie baby swapped at birth for a human bub, but still…the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is magical in itself. Besides, one of my favourite books is “The Stolen Child” by Keith Donohue, and that’s about changelings and, well, that has nothing to do with this picture whatsoever, but I am going to reference here it anyway, so there!

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Back to work tomorrow, where I become a different kind of changeling.  One who has to swap their magical, delightful, pyjama-wearing, tea-drinking world of art-making for their less than thrilling “proper” job.  Sigh… But one must pay for art supplies (and tea), so jobs are a necessity.  And a blessing, if you take into account the tough economic times we are in.  I do try to remember that, but it’s hard some days when I would rather be up to my eyeballs in art materials than over due library books.

This week I am trying to make some changes though.  I’ve started a meditation course (literally just started it last night – I will sitting cross-legged on the floor omming before you know it!), I’m determined to try and get up earlier (or at least on time), and I am going to work very hard on reducing my stress.  After a series of medical tests showed there was no physical reason why I should be having some of the health issues I’m experiencing, I have to accept that I allow stress to effect my life too much.  I have to take charge and be responsible for my own well-being.  Which is tricky.  But I’m going to try.  And keep trying.  And trying even when I don’t feel like it.  Which, I fear, will be most of the time.  Because change is hard, and even something unpleasant like being stressed-out all the time can be a hard habit to break.  It will mean I have to start  worrying less about everyone (difficult) and learning to say NO sometimes (nearly impossible) and being less critical of myself (completely impossible).  But I gotta try.

I don’t think I will become a butterfly overnight, but maybe I can slowly-but-surely break out of my cosy anxiety/stress/worry cocoon and give those crumpled-up wings a bit of an airing.  And who knows?  Once I’m out, maybe my antennae will be less wonky than I imagine them to be 🙂

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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Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit.  There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife.  Yes.  That is me.  Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out.  But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs.  I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb.  Preparation – apparently not my thing.

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However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike.  The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll.  My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

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The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo – they are just gorgeous).

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Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked.  But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning).  The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed.  Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous.  I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about.  I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

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All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia.  Worth a look 🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers – your support is very much appreciated! x

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Your Heart Knows the Way (and sometimes that is through housework)

I have to be good today.  I have to clean my house.  I cannot sit in my pyjamas all day, drinking tea and making art.  I can’t.  I have to do laundry and wash the floors and find my bed under all the crap that is on top of it.  I have to dust my shelves and do my dishes.  I have to organise my wardrobes and attempt to make sense of my craft room.

I would rather be crafting, but today I have to be an adult.  Which is boring and unfulfilling and doesn’t spark joy in me.  But it will make me feel like less of a failure and perhaps enable me to get a fresh perspective on things.  It is hard to be creative when your house looks like a tsunami has been through it and you’re embarrassed to have people over to visit.  I don’t want to live that way.

So, no crafting for me this weekend, unless I get the cleaning out of the way early and can manage to fit in a few hours of happy creativity.  I’m going to put the stereo on, get in the right frame of mind and clean.  And tidy.  And sort.  And find my home again.  My brain has been telling me I need to do that, and finally my heart has caught up and is in agreement.  Begrudging agreement.

Here’s a little canvas I did a week or so ago.  It will have to tide me over until I can make another.  I was pretty pleased with it, to be honest.  It came together really quickly and, although I hated it at first, it kinda grew on me.  I’m hoping housework will do the same. It could happen, right?

Thanks for dropping by 🙂

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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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Bandy-Cute

Hello, everyone 🙂  I meant to post this a few weeks back but got sidetracked… My Mum turned 70 in November and she had several little get-togethers to celebrate.  On the Sunday afternoon, we met my brother and his family for afternoon tea at a large garden nursery, which also has a delightful cafe and children’s playground.  It’s a very popular spot and can get very busy so we were lucky to get a table for all of us in a nice sunny spot.

As we drank our tea and baby-cinos (obligatory for the four munchkins) and scoffed cake, we were joined by another guest – a Southern Brown Bandicoot  (or Quenda).  These little guys are normally quite shy and tend to come out at dusk, to forage.  Our visitor is was well known to nursery staff, apparently making guest appearances on a regular basis, in order to pick up any table scraps and crumbs left by lunching customers.

img_4257He (I’m going with “he” for now) was happy to wander around our table, under our feet and chairs, and wasn’t the least bit disturbed by the children or my attempts to take photos of him.  I even got to stroke him, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.

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He was wiry to the touch, and very solid (he eats well :)) and about the size of a small cat (with albeit shorter legs).  Bandicoots have long claws, used for digging out underground food items (they are omnivores and will eat insects, fruit, lizards, seeds, mice – pretty much anything they can get their paws on!) and are marsupials (meaning they have a pouch that they carry their babies in).  They live alone, rather than in social groups, and have a running style described as a “gallop” rather than a hop or a scurry.

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We were delighted to have his company and hope to see him again if we visit the nursery. It’s so nice to see wildlife, of any kind, and I’m always very grateful to be able to experience them close up and in a non-captive way.  I guess these little guys are learning to adapt to being part of our community and losing some of their shy ways.  Survival is survival, after all.  I just hope that this particular fellow is healthy and protected and doesn’t come to any harm, being around human beings so much.  He seemed happy enough though – very fat and not stressed at all.  He’s probably living the dream and wondering why other bandicoots are bothering to hunt for their own food in the bush.  As his “people” are solitary creatures, it’s unlikely he’s going to let anyone else in on the action.  This territory is his and his alone!

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Have you had any close encounters with a wild critter lately?  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

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Love and Miracles

Just a short post today… A bit of a stressful weekend just gone, with my elderly Aunt in intensive care at the hospital due to cardiac issues, my friend experiencing relationship dramas, another friend in serious ill-health in another hospital, and life just chucking stuff at everyone left, right and centre.  I just want everybody to be ok 😦

But I did fit in an hour or so of crafting.  I was determined.  Even one card is better than achieving nothing at all.  So I sat and made this one little card, which isn’t fabulous, but it is finished.  And it has a bird, which makes everything better.

I do so want to believe in love and miracles.  Especially at the moment.

x

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