Friday, March 27, 2009

A little bit of this and a little bit of that ...

Since the retreat I have managed to do a little creating ... Last Saturday, our Altered Book group got together at Karla's place to show off what we have completed so far. I managed to do a double page applying what I learned in Bernie's workshop at the retreat and have also used another 2 techniques from the original list of 12 that we are to showcase ... so now I only have 8 more to go. I used "peeled paper" and "alcohol inks" and am not quite finished with the layout as I need to add some words and remembering that this altered book has the theme "Imagine", the words going onto this spread are (Imagine) "... boundless creativity and freedom" ... it's also one of the reasons I wanted to use Bernie's dimensional collage technique because the string represents what binds us and stops us from thinking we can create beautiful art as well as living a life doing what we want to do.
The other creative thing I completed this week is one ATC design for 2 different swaps ... the first swap is through Addicted to Scrap and the theme is "Blue Awning" where we had to use this range of papers created by K&Company and the other swap is through the PaperArts Yahoo Group with the theme "Marie Antoinette" ... so I combined both themes onto one ATC as I was just running out of time and nearly didn't make the PaperArts swap as I was late sending them in ... but the lovely Barb was very understanding and said it was ok so off they went today Express Post to Wagga Wagga. I absolutely love pictures of Marie Antoinette, she's such a classic and can't wait to see what returns I get.
I just have to add, that it really is such a small world ... one of the ladies in my altered book group is Evelyn and she was telling me about Jen Crossley's workshop that she did in Ballarat recently and showed us the gorgeous altered book that they made and I mentioned that I'd heard Jen was coming to Brisbane to do some more workshops in May because I'd met her at the Creative Soul Retreat ... and lo 'n' behold ... Jen's workshop is being held at Evelyn's place ... isn't that just hilarious! Well I thought it was anyway ... until next time.

"Freedom is man's capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves."
~Dr. Rollo May~

Friday, March 20, 2009

Art Retreat Memories - Part 3

Well here it is, the last day of the retreat and the whole weekend just flashed by in a blur. In my opinion I feel I've left the best until last to report on ... Monday was spent learning and creating with BERNIE BERLIN! It's not to say that the other tutors were any better or worse (because Stephanie and DJ were just awesome), it's just that I have spent so much more time trying out Bernie's techniques from her Artist Trading Card Workshop book because of the monthly ATC Swap through ATC_World ... and her name just rolls off my tongue like a close friends. I was just so excited to finally meet her in person and found her to be an excellent teacher.

The class Bernie taught was called Secrets of the Burnt and Bound and basically we were creating a dimensional collage ... there was a bit of torn paper, some paint, some stamping, foil tape and alcohol inks, a bit of shimmer, some string and lots of gel and self levelling medium ... not to mention we left our thinking minds in park and just went for it. A thoroughly enjoyable day and class with a mad rush at the end to get to the airport ... I think next year I'll stay over one night in Melbourne!

Bernie in action.

My final creations from Bernie's class.

Some more creations and fellow artists - Liz, Deborah, me and Joan.

Here's a picture of a very excited me with Bernie when I won her painting.

Here's a very excited (and sheepish) me with Stephanie Lee winning her prize.

The gorgeous Kelsey O'Mullane.

The highly entertaining Eva.

Maryse, Me and the lovely Sue.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the pics as much as I enjoyed attending the Creative Soul Retreat 2009 ... and now that the retreat is finally done and dusted, I've registered for the next one ( which will be over 4 days instead of 3!!! I'm thinking positive and hoping I'll get into my first choice of classes with Judy Wise (2), Laurie Mika & Paulette Insall ... oooh the anticipation is going to be too much.

... now I'm going to have to figure out what I can do to raise $40 per week to get there ... mmmmm ..... any lovelies out there wanting to send some donations!!! (LOL).

"Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously and never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture!"
~Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, 1898-1993, Author of The Power of Positive Thinking~

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Art Retreat Memories - Part 2

It's Sunday at the retreat and I'm still feeling pretty high after yesterday. I had DJ Pettitt's class to look forward to today and was a little nervous and excited all at the same time.

Here's the view from our bedroom window, if you can enlarge the picture you'll see loads of galahs in the tree ... just magical.

Face painting with DJ was quite frustrating and challenging ... tears threatened to spring from my eyes a couple of times as I allowed myself to feel overwhelmed and inept, as I hadn't really done this kind of painting ever before! After a few deep breaths and some positive self talk, I just got into it and stood over DJ a lot of the time when she was explaining certain techniques and tips to others so I could learn more and grow. When it was my turn to have one-on-one time with DJ she was incredibly encouraging and supportive and even told me that what I was doing was just right ... with a little more confidence I kept at it and was quite pleased with what I achieved, considering it was the first time I'd ever painted a face and I was completely out of my comfort zone!

DJ in action and a captivated audience.

This is the DJ original masterpiece we were aiming to achieve.

My work in progress.

Me with DJ Pettitt.

My final piece ... which probably needs much more work, but I'm leaving it as is.

After all the paint and tools were packed away, some wine, laughs and getting to know each other better was the order of the night.

The delightful Jen Crossley as .... Captain Underpants (minus the undies over the pants, of course) ... what a hoot!

The infamous Dot Christian - creator of those wonderful Dottee Dolls (and to my wonderful friends making these little cuties they are called "dot-ee" dolls, not "doht-ee" dolls).

We ended the night attempting to play pool ... spent more time laughing and not hitting the balls with the terrible state of the cues and tables ... it was totally hilarious though.

"Self-acceptance comes from meeting life's challenges vigorously. Don't numb yourself to your trials and difficulties, nor build mental walls to exclude pain from your life. You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory."
~J. Donald Walters, Author, Lecturer and Playwright~

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Art Retreat Memories - Part 1

I'm back in the land of the living and it's St Patricks Day no less ... HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY to one and all.

I must warn you, this is probably going to be a long post ... I've just had the best weekend in Melbourne creating art at the Creative Soul Retreat with fantastic tutors Stephanie Lee, DJ Pettitt and Bernie Berlin all the way from the States. I met so many wonderful people in the flesh that previously I'd only "chatted" with online, and feel that I have made some wonderful new friends.

It would have been nice to have a big group shot of everyone that attended the retreat , but we didn't actually do that, so I'll add a few pictures of the art I made, the tutor's in action and some people I met ... there are some photos still to come from others, so I'll do more posts over the next few days.

I travelled with Maryse Alvis from the Gold Coast on Friday, 13th March to Melbourne on an 8am flight. We arrived at Melbourne on time and were greeted by 2 airport angels / 2 Elizabeths: Elizabeth Mackie (aka Liz, aka Miss Oddity) and Elizabeth Harms (aka HRH, aka Queen of .... {you can fill in the blank ... LOL} no, no, really it's Queen of Toys). There were others arriving at the airport too, so we waited around and a convoy of 3 cars travelled into Melbourne to go to St Lukes Art Supplies and grab a bite to eat. By 3.30pm we'd arrived at our venue - the Edmund Rice Centre in Amberley and we got settled into our rooms ... my roomies were Brenda Grace and Nic Hohn, both lovely ladies that I hope to stay in touch with.

Some shots of the Edmund Rice Centre in Amberley.

Me and Liz (Miss Oddity)

Kelsey O'Mullane & Eliza Harms (HRH)

My roomies - Nic Hohn, Brenda Grace and me.

I spent Saturday with Stephanie Lee doing her Junk Drawer Metalsmithing class ... this class was way out of my comfort zone as I hadn't created any art with metal before, but I absolutely loved it and was so glad that I tried something new. Stephanie was an awesome teacher and has a pretty wicked sense of humour too, so it was loads of fun. If I can find a safe space around our place (where no kids or dogs can get to) I just know I'll keep making some of these metal pieces as they'll be great as embellishments on other altered pieces of art. I was pretty lucky in this class today as I won the lucky door prize which consisted of crackle paint, embossing powder and modelling paste ... all things I'll use in my art at some stage.

Stephanie in Action

Me and Maryse Alvis in action making our metal art.

Some of the things I made in class and the prize winnings.

A happy snap of Stephanie Lee and me ... what a lovely person and extremely talented artist.

After dinner on Saturday night, we were presented with our Little House swap and here's a picture of all the unique creations ... I love all of them ... so much work and effort went into creating these little masterpieces.

After the Little Houses were all handed out and the hubbub died down, Bevlea had the three tutors draw out a name to win one of the major prizes that each artist donated. When I was filling in my raffle tickets, I was saying to myself ... "I'm a really lucky person and I'd really love to win Bernie Berlin's painting" ... anyway, the first prize was drawn by DJ Pettitt and Deb won a beautiful collage and painting. Next it was Bernie's turn and she called my name out ... WOW ... to say I was thrilled was an understatement and here's a picture of her fantastic painting - I am just going to treasure this beauty forever.

My prize winning, original painting by Bernie Berlin.

But that's not all, Stephanie did the next draw and guess what ... it was me AGAIN!!! I was so amazed and a bit embarrassed and extremely excited all at once and for a moment there I thought, I should let them do a redraw and give the prize to someone else because I'd already won something, but that left my mind very quickly as I figured it's a random thing and I totally randomly won 2 out of 3 prizes .... how cool is that! I guess, it was my 40th birthday on Monday and although I got a few presents, my main gift was going to this retreat and so now I feel that I got a couple of extra birthday presents .... woo hoo ... I must be the luckiest girl in the world and totally grateful that I have 2 pieces of original art made by two phenomenal artists ... it's been a recent goal of mine to start collecting other artists work and now I'm off to a fantastic start!!

Here's the hand made original bracelet and necklace by Stephanie Lee that I won.

To finish off, here's a couple of fun pictures taken with the tutors ... Kirsty Campion had this cool mini Polaroid Camera and we were just having a ball checking out the photos ... I couldn't stop laughing, hence my dodgy smile in the photo below.

Me, Stephanie, DJ & Bernie.

Kirsty (my other buddy in the metal smithing class), Stephanie, Me and Bernie Berlin.

So much more happened, so feel free to check back as I will post pictures of DJ Pettitt and Bernie Berlin's classes.

Enjoy and keep creating.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gotta love those Blog Awards

The lovely Kate Crane has presented me with another blog award and I have to say I just love receiving them. Thanks so much to Kate for passing this onto me and be sure you visit her fabulous blog - .

These are the guidelines that came with the badge:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers."

Like Kate said in her blog post, this time last year I had no idea what a blog was until the beautiful Tanya enlightened me ... and now you can't keep me off the computer as I'm addicted to checking out blogs, leaving comments and generally getting to know people better all over the world.

I am passing this friendship award onto the following ladies that I've met through ATCs, Yahoo Groups and/or Blogging. They are generous, kind, giving people and I look forward to getting to know them better in the future ...

Kyla de Ruiter -
Tammy Hixon -
Sheree Rose -
Barb Thomas -
Kelsey O'Mullane -

"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love."
~Hubert H. Humphrey, 1911-1978, American Politician and Vice President~

More gifts keep coming

I was pleasantly surprised today by receiving not 1 but 2 birthday ATCs. The first one is from Sarah Walker and the other from Judy Wagner through the PaperArts Yahoo Group.

ATC by Sarah Walker

ATC by Judy Wagner

A big thank you to both ladies for making my birthday extra special ... who says turning 40 can't be fun - with all this gift receiving, I'm having a ball!!!

I thought I'd also post a few pictures of my beautiful fur-baby Beau ... he's not much of a puppy anymore even though he's only 7 months old, he now weighs 19.5 kgs and is quite a big dog. He got washed this week for the first time with the Dog Washing Service and wasn't really happy about it.

Beau's first time in the Dog Wash Trailer, he's looking very apprehensive.

The sad face that was begging to be let out of the bath.

The bad part's over, now it's drying time ... this part's fun for Beau, he loves to play with the towel ... nice shot hey!

All was forgotten and forgiven, once the ball came out to play.

"You never know what you can do till you try."
~English Proverb~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another birthday gift ...

I received the most stunning gift in the mail today all the way from Shelly Sessions in New Orleans, USA. She's altered a notebook that is just divine. I love everything about this journal and can't believe how generous it was of Shelly to send such a beautiful gift for my birthday ... I feel like I've won a lottery.

Front Cover: paint, lace, fabric, mica, vintage text & papers, image covered in beeswax, rusty cardboard, rose dipped in UTEE ... just beautiful.

Journal with one flap open.

Journal with both flaps open.

I have finally finished all my little houses for the Creative Soul Retreat Swap. I ended up making 52 of these little houses and know I actually made 53, but can't for the life of me find the other one anywhere ... hopefully it'll turn up sometime because I'd promised to give it to someone ... I might have to make another one.

If you want to see what some of the other little houses retreat delegates have made, feel free to click here.

I cut the houses out of cardboard, then stuck the roof through the cuttlebug to give it some texture, I added patterned paper that I stamped with text in black and chicken wire in grey (which is quite feint). The roof has been painted in rust, a sticker added across the base and some german scrap on the edge of the roof. The bird is hand cut out and all 3 eggs, some painted muslin forms the nest. I then used spanish copper rub 'n' buff to go over the edges, the sticker and the german scrap to give it a rustic look.

I also managed to finish a couple of birthday ATCs ... one very belated one for Barb Thomas in Wagga Wagga (I couldn't get my act together in February with relatives here and a new baby in the household) and one for Sarah Walker, who's birthday is on the weekend while I'm away in Melbourne.

Only 22 hours and 56 minutes until I leave for the airport and go to the Creative Soul Retreat ... I'm very excited ... must go pack now ... I have left it to the last minute of course.

"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before we changed."
~Earl Nightingale, 1921-1989, Philosopher and Syndicated Radio Personality~