Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Toast

Credit card background, gel medium transfers for the Buildings. Hand tinted image on left. Collaged elements.

A toast:

To new friends made, and more to come. To sharing and caring; laughter and healthy tears. To art growth, may the journey continue. To those who share their wisdom so generously and their hearts so openly. To health of head, heart and body and of the soul. To the furry friends who brighten each day and to those who care for them.

To 2007 with its promise of new journeys and respect for the old.

Blessings to you all.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read "Is there a shadow?", and to leave comments, I so appreciate your encouragement and feedback. A huge part of my journey this year has been the friendships made, and developed, through blogging.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Amazing, Amazing Gift.

One of the Western Australian groups I belong to held a Secret Santa. Nikki, the Paper Pixie, sent me a large parcel just over a week ago and I held off opening it until Christmas night. I am totally blown away by her generosity. See the beautiful bag she had packed so full I could not fit everything back in for a photo. Look at all those meters of lace and buttons. The molded shapes, the pens, so many things all of them just beautiful in themselves - and definitely to be used.
Chrissy, the Christmas doll, is fabulous. Lots of fun to play with and great to look at.

Can you imagine my joy as I sat with a cup of tea opening gift after gift from this bag? Thank you again Nikki.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas

Wishing all my blog friends a Happy Christmas, as we celebrate Jesus' birthday. My prayer is that each of you stays safe, physically and emotionally and that you might enjoy gatherings of family and friends throughout the season.

I didn't put my tree up this year, relying instead on Christmas cards and candles to decorate my living areas, so I was delighted as Maggie and I walked this week, to find this tree a few blocks from home. The native Christmas tree had begun to bloom just in time, and today I took the camera to take a photo just for you. Even looking at the tree now, my inner smile is as wide as the Nullabor - I feel like it bloomed just for Maggie and I.

Can you see the bees buzzing happily in the photo below? Yes, the little black dots! Can you feel the warmth of the summer sun as you look at my blue sky?

The Western Australian Christmas tree (Nuytsia floribunda) is known for its bright yellow flowers around Christmas time (summer). It can grow to 10m tall. It is a member of the mistletoe family.

I could not resist including a photo of Maggie snuffling through the dry grass.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Solstice, Summer and Daylight

Knowing the longest day of the year has been and gone I battle to shut the door on melancholy. Silly really, it is the twenty third day of a 93 day summer - and yet just the knowledge that the solstice has been is enough to shake me. How I love these long hot days and warm evenings.
And then ... As I type ... I recall - this is our (Western Australians) first ever daylight savings' summer - have we beaten the solstice? I smile - all summer we will have an extra hour.

I visited Sombra's blog tonight and delighted in his pictures of the snow - take the time to have a look - they are beautiful. However, to my Aussie friends - Happy Summer, may it be long.

OkOk, the farmers daughter has to add a rider: Unless you are in a drought area - then may it rain each and every night.

I am a part of a 13 member round robin, creating an ATC every two weeks, to the participants chosen theme. These two (can you guess?); Fairies and Celtic had baffled me. Tonight whimsy met my muse and these ATC's emerged.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Charms Ahoy

I am both hosting and participating in charm swaps at the moment. These two designs are, I think, my final choices - they better be, I have nine and ten of each. I do find myself playing with wire more and more.

The cat charm uses the head of a Krafty Lady cat mold and is framed in some bracelet blanks. The vision charms are pinata alcohol inks on scrabble tiles.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I do love Christmas cards ...

I am a big fan of Christmas cards. I enjoy making and sending them, I enjoy writing newsy notes on the insides and enclosing the odd photo. A card from me is never a random selection - but a deliberate decision.

I love that I can dash to the mail box each morning and there will be a handful of cards. I so look forward to hearing everyone's news, admiring the pictures - hand-made and bought and then choosing just the right spot to display the card.

This year I have received two cards that told of sadness and breakdown in long term relationship, and one about terminal illness. My joy-o-meter was really flagging.

Today's mail, however, bought the stunning card made by the ever so talented Sulea . Those birdies are hand drawn and collaged. I also received a card from my beautiful 86 year old Nana, who lives in England. She enclosed the document below - the telegram my Dad sent about four hours after I was born. I love chatting on the phone to Nana, but her cards are so precious - and each time she will enclose an old photo or hankie, something she knows I will treasure. She also always takes time to tell of her love for me. Thank you for my Nana. My only surviving grandparent.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All shopped out ..

I finished my Christmas shopping today and in doing so began to see the donut not the hole, and the glass half full not half empty.

This morning I started by pulling everything I had purchased throughout the year from the "Christmas drawer". Wow! I had at least half of the presents I wanted to give right there. I should have been so pleased.

I confess I set off to make my final purchases full of doom and gloom. I was convinced I would blow the budget, buy too little, or too much, forget something .... You get the picture? I normally love Christmas shopping but have struggled to get into the spirit of the season, let alone get my head around appropriate gifts for loved ones.

What-do-you-know? I had a wonderful time! Everything I went for was on special, I found car parks easily, everyone was friendly and I am happy with all my choices. I saved so much on some books I really wanted for friends that I treated myself to lunch - which was a great chance to look at my lists and check I was on track. Tonight I delighted in wrapping gifts for my family and very close friends - and I feel that joyous peace sneaking up on me.

After all my saving I decided to pop into my local second hand store for some holiday reading. I got the bag of washers and the hinges for $1.50 - I think the owner thought he was ripping me off, but I was so pleased. There are hundreds of washers there! And, some of those hinges have 4 different colours of paint showing through. I did buy books as well, a whole bag for $5.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pause ...

I hit pause today and took some time out, time to play and to regain my strength for all the next week will bring. I have been making a few Christmas pressies, and I know the special friend who is to receive this one, will not mind that she appeared here first.

After I took the photo I stamped 'fly' in blue ink to the right of the dollies head - it finished the piece off nicely. It has been fun making disposable art- covered note books, fridge memo pads and journal covers. I'll post some more after they arrive at their new homes.
My little Charles did not come home last night - I pray he is not in pain - and that he wanders home soon. Update: After two nights away My Charles has wandered in calmly - and seems a little irritated by my fuss and cuddles ... thank you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Little Friend

My friend's little boy turns 5 tomorrow. B and I have a special bond, besides sharing a birthday. B loves beads. When he stays the night he likes to share my bed - although he knows that five year olds will sleep in the special room with a new night light. I sent him off to bed with a handful of picture books last time he visited and went back to the lounge to find out who had won Australian Celebrity Survivor. Ten minutes later I checked on B, imagine my inward giggles and delight when I realised he had abandoned the children's books and was lost in a stack of beading magazines. This adorable child has loved beads for as long as he could hold them!
A few months ago we were shopping together when he spotted a beaded candle holder and was instantly smitten. It was a long skinny shape and I could not think of another use for it, however, it got me thinking about this old candle holder. A coat of paint, a couple of handfuls of cheap glass beads and I just know he is going to love his lolly bowl.
B was shopping with his Nana and Mum, they are the best op/thrift shoppers ever, when he spotted this cat tunnel. I am told they got no rest - and this kid can nag - until they bought the tunnel for me. I confess to being a little dubious as to whether the boys would like it.
The top and bottom photos are Hamish in the first 15 minutes of its arrival! The middle is Charles just yesterday!
Note: The plants were patients and have recovered to the point where I sent them home - poor things.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gifts in and Gifts out.

I was a naughty girl! I opened my Christmas present from Dot. I did not even try to resist ... And I am so glad that I did not.

Let me introduce Harold, the rooster. I am a big fan of roosters - ummm let me re-phrase. I think I like the image of Roosters; the colours, those glossy feathers, the self confident demeanor, the image... Real roosters, at least the ones I have come in contact with, smell, eat worms and seem to be overly randy.

Oops I have diverted. Dotee also included this fabulous collage, included is a picture of a baby art doll she made for me last month. It is such a personal, made-for-me, collage with words of encouragement and favourite colours included. The card/ATC is a gorgeous work of art in itself.

This is the cover of a miniature ATC file I made recently, a group of us sent ATC's to encourage a friend and I wanted to create a bright and arty file. I have used another of my scrap paint backgrounds, and for the purists - the stamped city (Green Pepper Press)is deliberately sketchy. My 'Lady in Pink' uses a torso and face mould from Krafty Lady. When I look at her I see a 1950's cleaning lady all dressed up for a night on the town - a bit of 'mutton dressed as lamb'. With no offence to cleaning ladies - as mine is the BEST and beautiful.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

So glad for craft supplies ...

I do enjoy the sight of parcels ready to give, and envelopes filled with good wishes.
This time of the year is always financially challenging, and Maggie's vet bills have added their bit. I am so grateful for my well stocked creative zone. I made this bracelet tonight. It began life plain wood with no spacers and was from my local $2 shop. I messed up one of the tiles, but was able to add the beads. Now I have a OOAK piece of wearable art which I will be very pleased to give as a gift. I only bought two of the bracelets at the time, I think I will stop by and see if there are more next time I am on the main street.
I recently had this journal, bookmark and fridge calendar returned from Stamping and Papercraft where they were published earlier this year. Even as I was making them, back in March I was thinking of my SIL. This is the card.
Tomorrow is the last day of school for the year. There is always some sadness as classes are disbanded and some children leave. And yet, as I have begun tidying and filing ready for next year I have felt some enthusiasm begin to creep up. I am going to be in school next week getting as much done for 2007 as possible. I will probably make the excuse that my holidays will then be free ... But deep inside I know, letting go is easier when I have the next group of teenagers to focus on.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Look at my mail!

The wonderful Dotee has done an amazing job of putting together our 1" square collages. I have not been able to take a photo I am happy with yet - but every square is a piece of art in itself. I keep picking this up and looking at it over and over again. Each time I find a new detail. Thank you to all the talented artists who participated.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Take one painted background, add animals ...

and voila! Some ATC's I am happy with. Thank you Uncle Scrooge.
There must be a touch of Uncle Scrooge in me, I can't bare waste and always brush excess paint onto the pages of a watercolour pad. If there is a lot left over on a palette I will use the credit card technique to drag it on. Sometimes I will paint it onto foam stamps and stamp a layer. There are usually ten or 12 pages being filled at a time. Sometimes I will stamp excess ink into them as well. This page has been 'finished' for at least 12 months now, but it was only last night that it called to me.
I have enough paper left for three more cards and then it is gone. I love that - a complete one off. I could scan my 'good' sheets - but somehow that would detract from the whole point; unique papers made from waste paint.
I'm off to the markets now, I have another type of creating in mind this afternoon - in the kitchen! Enjoy your weekends.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Time and should be's

I took a day's leave today to spend with my baby girl. It didn't quite work that way as I spent most of my time asleep. I think she did too! And then I played a little - I should be making Christmas goodies, but had no inspiration for them, I picked up this vintage little owl picture and let my fingers do the thinking.

Wednesday night when I couldn't sleep I decorated this tin for a secret Santa I am taking part in. We all gave hints as to what we like and the person receiving from me is a Tim Holtz fan.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The wait is over!!

What a long day it has been. Miss Maggie had surgery today - if you are not too fainthearted she is flashing her chest for you.

I woke early and gave my Girl her pre-meds, here at home, and I resisted her longing looks at the food bowl.

Two hours later, my Mum and I got the news that the lump in her chest was just fatty tissue, can you hear my heart sing? It is. I was so afraid of the big 'C'.

X-rays show that her heart is not quite in the right spot, her airways in her lungs are thickening, and she may have some free fluid. She also seems to have some nerve damage in her chest area - which may have been the cause of the pain - not the fatty mass. I have a long list of things to look out for, but it is possible that her pain and chest problems are all due to old age (Humpfff we say - we are not ready to be old) - even the increase in allergies. So Maggie is ending the day as she began it ...

Wishing for food.

I didn't realise until I got home (and read the post-operative care plan) that they were going to suggest broiled white meat as a meal - so I am preparing the vego option - an egg white omelette. I hope that is OK, I seem to recall that's what I did when the boys were sterilised.

Jean Lussier

I have googled away the mystery of my Niagara Falls "hero".

Jean LussierJuly 4th, 1928
Jean Lussier, a native of Quebec, designed a six foot rubber ball composed of 32 inner tubes and a double-wall steel frame. One of the biggest crowds on record saw the stunt on July 4th, 1928. The ball took some hard knocks in the rapids but the skip over the Falls was perfect. About one hour after entering his ball, Lussier stepped ashore none the worse for wear. For many years he displayed his ball at Niagara Falls and sold small pieces of the inner tubes for souvenirs at 50 cents a piece.

Apparently Jean invested his life savings of $1500 (a lot of money in 1928) in the construction of the ball. By 1928 attempts at crossing the falls were illegal. He sounds like a real character.
My 3 signed photos are fantastic memento’s of this event, and his later life

Monday, November 27, 2006

Challenge and History

I signed up for an ATC swap on one of my groups, the challenge to produce 4 different ATC's using a technique from Somerset Studio. These are the results from "Pencil and Stencil", as taught by Jeannine Peregrine in the May/June 2006 issue.

The technique was not quite as simple as it appeared, but once I got into the flow a lot of fun - and one I may try again.

As to the history, the athlete featured here is Jean Luc__, he went across Niagara Falls in a large rubber ball. I know this because there were three photo's of him at different ages in a set of canbinet cards, I bought a little while ago. There were only a few words and he had signed all the cards. Gifts for a fan? A lover? A friend... How I would love to know more.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sleepy Crafts

I have slept more this weekend than in the entire previous seven days, and it is only 2.00pm Sunday. It feels fantastic!

Last year I made extra Christmas cards to have ready to send to my overseas family - there they are above, and yes they are now written in, and ready to post. So next week when I am making the Australian cards I think I will do the same again, extras I mean.

By the way, if you are worried about the flies on the top left card - don't be - no flies were injured in the production of this card. Last summer my English cousin and her boyfriend were with us for Christmas. I have never met anyone as bothered by Aussie flies as this boy - so I could not resist adding a few plastic ones to their card.
These are the very simple cards I have made for my classes at school - if any of my arty kiddo's are reading, this is why I wanted the old music, as you cleaned the music room. I think there are 60, and I am embarrassed to admit I did not have to buy a thing. I have only bought about 50 sheets of paper/card in the last two years and still I could open a store. I must confess that while I am resisting paper my will power when it comes to rubber, beads, paint, wire, etc in non- existent.
And finally, I had a 'TA DA' moment on Friday. For years I have struggled to find nice collars for Maggie. She is quite large and not particularly feminine looking - we get offended regularly as fellow walkers refer to my baby as "HE". Large collars seem to be black, blue (both too masculine), red (imagine the clash) and hot pink (ditto the clash). My poor bubby has been wearing her purple collar with silver flowers for about 4 or five years now, it really had seen better days. Then I clicked - eyelets! This is version 1.0 as I experimented. Make a hole, use a match to seal the fibers, set eyelet with washer. Easy. I sense a new wardrobe coming up!.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Just Looking

is the title of this ATC destined for my friend France, as I begin to peek out of the chaos of past weeks.

It has been a glorious sun-shine filled day, here in my part of Australia, I have had a 'nana nap' and have plans to spend time with good friends. What more could any girl want?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An hour in my gym ...#2

I have not had time for art this week as it is "the" week for writing school reports and marking year 11 exams. These photos are from the walk on the weekend, however, Maggie and I have had time to fit a few more walks in. Thank you to everyone who has checked in to see I am ok; I am getting better every day.