Friday, April 24, 2009

Stamping Queen Giveaway

Gotta love a blog giveaway ... the lovely Barb at The Stamping Queen (one of my favourite online stamping shops) has a give-away this month. Gotta be in it to win it I say, but be warned ... I am a very lucky girl so there may be an unfair advantage!!!

Go check it out.

When you have given nothing, ask for nothing.
~Albanian Proverb~

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lost Generation

This video was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old. The contest was titled "U @ 50" and this video won second place.

When it was shown, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.

So simple and yet so brilliant!

"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible and achieve it - generation after generation."
~Pearl S. Buck, 1892-1973, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize Winning Author~

Weekend Fun

I was determined this month to be on time for the Scrapbook Cupboard's ATC Swap due on 25th April (I was a couple of weeks late last time) so I finished my interpretation of the "Clowns" theme last night.

These ATCs took me much longer than I expected, as the front and the back of the card are both hand painted. I also did Bernie Berlin's emboss resist technique on the inside as well as cut the cards into the shape of a tent ... all quite time consuming.

I did learn something quite valuable in making these ATCs, I started with cardstock as the base that I painted with gesso on both sides to get the surface ready for the paint, but when I did the emboss resist technique on what was going to be the inside of the card (which uses an iron) I found the gesso had bubbled up on the outside of the card due to the heat. I didn't mind the effect for this ATC as the outside is to look like a circus tent, so the bubbled up texture I felt made it look more authentic.

The outside of my ATC with the bubbled up gesso before being painted.

The inside of my ATC once painted and with the emboss resist technique done.

Front of Clown ATC - closed and painted to look like a circus tent.

Open Front and Back of ATC.

Finished inside of the ATC with an image of clowns added (received from the gorgeous Glenda)

I had a ball making these ... maybe focussing on clowns brings out the "fun" !!

Here are some happy snaps from the Easter Weekend ... my mum and dad flew from Sydney to visit so we took them up to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat on Sunday and got the full "rainforest experience" (because it rained the whole time we were up there) ... it's about an hour's drive from our place. After the retreat we stopped at O'Reilly's Winery on the way down the mountain and enjoyed a picnic style ploughman's lunch with wine, beautiful views and believe or not ... sunshine!!

Feeding the beautiful Australian Native birds - Green-Red King Parrot and Blue-Red Rosella.

The Rainforest Treetops walk ... very wet.

Proud Oma & Opa with Harry - having only met him for the first time this weekend.

Can't have lunch at a winery without tasting the wine!!

It was like we hadn't eaten in a week the way we were grabbing for the food.

My gorgeous Ferg.

Good food, wine and sunshine ... it was all a bit much!

The rain we've had over the past week really has brought out some of the best nature around our property ... everything's green, the dams are a bit murky but the water lillies are divine and every now and then we can spot a solitary toadstool.

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
~Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959, American Architect~

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Food for thought

The very beautiful and talented Nic Hohn, who I recently met in person at the Creative Soul Retreat, always has such deep and meaningful words on her blog (as well as beautiful art) and they always get me thinking. This week she had a post about our inner critic, which got me thinking about my art and how I never think what I create is good enough. I always wish I could draw or paint better ... or I wish I could take beautiful photographs like some of my friends, that I could use in my art ... or I wish I had photoshop and knew how to use it so I could alter photos the way I want ... or I wish I could have my work published and recognised by others ... so many wishes and when I think about it, so much time wasted on having unproductive thoughts like this. So I've decided that for the next week I'm going to observe when my inner critic rears its ugly head and a self-limiting thought enters my mind and I'm going to consciously turn it around ... take the oppositive view of it ... create a positive re-action to it and see what magic can (hopefully) happen! So watch this space ...

We had a visitor to our property yesterday, which nearly got run over with the ride-on lawn mower ... a little turtle (there is some debate in the household as to whether this is a turtle or a tortoise and I'm in the turtle camp!). He was a little scared with 5 of us crowding around and picking him up, so he stayed safely inside his shell for a long time, but as soon as he thought the coast was clear he scampered off into the overgrown bush as fast as his little legs would carry him ... what a highlight. We also had 3 kangaroos come visit, which we haven't seen around in a long time, but as soon as Beau caught site of them and started barking, they were gone quick smart ... I doubt whether they'll come around again knowing there's an active dog on the property.

Here's the turtle checking things out still safely tucked away in his shell.

and he's off ... they're pretty fast when they want to get going.

UPDATE 21/04/09: The lovely Pam's husband Barry, has advised that our little friend is a Freshwater Queensland Tortoise (and not a turtle ... what do I know, hey!). They swim, walk on land and have webbed feet, whereas a marine turtle has flippers and swims and can walk up beaches to lay their eggs.

This is a picture of a kangaroo in our backyard from sometime ago ... they definitely come up close and it was nice to see them return after quite a long hiatus of late.

To finish off, here's my latest creation for last month's Scrapbook Cupboard ATC Swap with the theme Ancient Civilisations. I decided to do Ancient Rome and started off with a map of ancient Rome that I covered in crackle medium with sepia ink rubbed over the top of it to highlight some of the cracks. The next layer is a rub-on I created of the Colloseum, then a Roman and a border made out of old Roman Coins. The final layer has glass shards added to the border that I stuck down with PVA glue. Most of us were a bit late getting our cards in this month and I plan to have my "Clown" themed one's due at the end of this month in on time.

"An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life."
~Dr Joyce Brothers, Psychologist and Author~

Sunday, April 5, 2009

All about ATCs

Since I returned from the retreat I have been creating a number of ATCs for various swaps, all due at the end of the month ... and this is a mega post show off some of my creations and others I've received during the past couple of weeks.

Fabric was the theme of this month's Bernie Berlin Artist Trading Card Workshop swap through ATC World and to say that I was challenged is an understatement. I have a passion and love of everything paper, but venturing into fabric is definitely a big step. The techniques for the swap were No Sew Fabric, Fused Fibers and Hand Stitching.

No Sew Fabric, stamped image in brown stazon, coloured in with oil pastels, all held together with heat 'n' bond iron-on adhesive ... not one stitch on it!

As mish-mash of fibers placed all over a piece of cardstock with strips of heat 'n' bond under the image & on top of the fibers, some brown & gold embossing powder, then ironed flat. I felt it wasn't really finished until I stitched around the edges. The image was printed on an iron-on transfer and then ironed onto calico.

This hand stitched ATC took me over 2 hours to complete ... sewing is definitely not my strong point. The image is another iron-on-transfer of my gorgeous Kelpie Beau. The fabric is wrapped around the front and back of the ATC and on the inside is an iron-on wadding so it's like a little pillow. The edges were rolled in a couple of times before I stitched and I used 6 strands of embroidery thread for the outside and 3 strands on the dog picture.

Quite a few avid ATCers attended this month's Live Swap Meet at The Scrapbook Cupboard and it's always so nice to catch up with everyone and check out each others new art. One of the girls Belynda, brought along her mum who saw some of our ATCs a couple of weeks ago and is now totally addicted and a new convert to this miniature form of art.

Below is my creation for the meet and I made it using 4 different stamps that I'd recently bought from a craft show. I started with a plain white cardstock base, stamped in brilliance black 2 different styles of fences, the trees and then the grass. I heat set the ink and used my favourite - glimmer mists - in spring mint and lemon meringue colours (or are they flavours ... mmmmmm ... they sound yummy) for the grass and olive vine for the trees. I cut out a picture of a cow and stamped the words "moo". Not my usual style, but I did buy the stamps and really wanted to use them at least once!!

I received my final ATCs from winning the February Winner Takes All lottery through Advanced ATCs UK and weren't they worth the wait. The uber-talented Laura Carson sent me not 1 but 2 WTA ATCs - she's just the most generous person and I absolutely love them.

I received my returns from the March Bernie Berlin Artist Trading Card Workshop swap using resin and just had to post a picture of what I received because they're just stunning. The barn-yard dimensional resin ATC was made by Debbie Warwick and was the return from the swap as it was 1 for 1. The other one is made by Tammy in an Altoid tin and is stunning a gift for becoming a moderator on ATC World. I am so lucky to have received 2 dimensional resin ATCs and they are both just divine ... I'm sure Bernie Berlin herself would be proud.

Some belated birthday ATCs were received at a lunch celebrating the birthdays of 3 of us girls (Belynda, Sarah and me).

Made by the lovely Belynda.

Both the cake and candle ATCs made by the delightful Tanya and she assures me there are 40 candles on the card!

And last but not least, my hand stitched card has made it to the ATC World Home Page ... it's lovely to see my beautiful Beau's face staring at me everytime I visit the site.

I hope you're not too exhausted from this post, I know it was a long one, but had so many things to share.

Until next time, keep smiling and creating.

"Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you."
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919, Poet and Journalist~

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Beau Graduates ... again

Beau graduated from Obedience Training last weekend, although he did play up a little bit with the "drop" command and wouldn't stay laying on the ground. The trainer thinks it was due to the incredibly windy day as a few of the dogs were acting up as well.

He did great overall and actually listens to me much better than he did before we went to training.

Here's a few shots of Beau strutting his stuff ... he's so gorgeous:

Beau and me at the back when I finally got him to drop!

Ferg taking over the reigns ... Beau doing good with his "Stationing" (staying on his bed).

Beau with Ferg weaving in and out of the other dogs, without straying from the task at hand.

Beau in our shadow ... it's nearly all over and Beau has his sights on meeting a Bordie Collie, who he had lots of fun playing with after the session.

My beautiful Beau and me ... I never thought I could love a pet so much.

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
~Edward Hoagland ~

Blog Challenge

Kate in the UK set a challenge where if you read her post and your name was listed, you were to take a photo of yourself right there and then ... no cheating by rushing off and brushing your hair or changing clothes, no adding of make-up, etc ... just take a picture of yourself as you are when you read the post.

It just so happened that I decided to check my emails and see if there were any new blog posts from friends just before going to bed at 11.30pm and was in such a dilemma when I'd read Kate's post ... do I really just take a photo of me with my messed up hair and PJ's on or do I cheat .... mmmm ... so of course I did take my picture there and then because I'm not a very good liar or cheater, so here's my picture .... I did run my fingers through my hair a little before I took the photo ... is that classified as cheating?? ... such a daggy shot.

So now I'm challenging some others to do the same ... mmmmm .... let's see who plays hey! All in the name of fun:

By the way, Kate has since deleted her post with this little blog game on it, mustn't have like her picture afterall ... LOL!

"The secret that everyone already knows intuitively within themselves is that we are all whole, complete and perfect as we are, in that we can manifest whatever we choose by simply focusing on what we would like and letting go of everything else."
~Hale Dwoskin~