Thursday, November 26, 2009

In the 'Nick' of time ...

I joined a project through the Australian Art Sisters Yahoo Group called the 12 days of Christmas.  There are 12 players, we each make 12 gifts (or 11 gifts if you don't want to make one for yourself) and each have a number from 1 to 12.  On the 13th December, we start opening the gifts right up until Christmas ... it's very exciting.

I tossed and turned about what I was going to make and finally something came together, although it wasn't what I originally had in mind ... but you'll have to wait until 21st December to see what it is because I'm number 8 and I can't post a photo of it until everyone has opened their little pressies.

Here are the packages all ready to go ...

And here are some pics of my fur-baby, Beau, that I took today ... gosh he's a good looking dog and I love him to bits!

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Handmade Gift

My friend Tanya ( makes these gorgeous Voodoo Dolls to sell and gave me one as a gift on the proviso that I make something for her in return.  It's probably been close to a year since she gave me the doll and I finally sat down yesterday and made something for her (especially since it's her birthday next week).

So here's my very first attempt at hand making / sewing a doll-type item and I chose a bird that I saw on Samm Menzies' blog last year (you'll find a picture of Samm's birds on this post ... much more beautiful than mine).  The actual template comes from another site Spool (here's the link to the pattern - ) and it looks really easy to do, but when you're not very good at using a sewing machine, or reading a pattern and you've used a fabric that frays, it's actually more challenging that it looks.

Anyway, I think I've made good on my promise to give Tanya a hand-made item and I'm pretty sure I won't be making any others (so no orders please) ... but you never know!!!

"A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring."
~Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld~

Monday, November 23, 2009

A trip down memory lane

It came in the mail today ... a printed book of all my blog posts for the whole of 2008 that I ordered through .  I'm enjoying reading back on the evolution of my art, my life journey, as well as watching my niece grow, losing our family pet - Ed the Dalmation (which still brings tears to my eyes), and gaining our gorgeous Beau.  There's also the friends I've made, the competitions I've won, the art I've received and some memorable events I've attended ... it's all there ... in print.

It's not to say that I don't love the internet and technology ... I do ... as I've met wonderful people I now feel are friends through cyber-land and blogging ... but there's just nothing like holding a beautifully printed book or magazine, and it's even better if everything in it is all about you.  Besides, I always wondered what might happen with all the information and photographs on all the millions of blogs all over the world ... will the space for saving all that data ever run out?

There are a few things I would consider for next time: (a) one is any hyperlinks behind a word don't print out, so if you want a record of complete web addresses, best to have them in full in your post; (b) in terms of formatting, I always have my pictures appear in my blog on their own and centred instead of having the text wrap around the image, I think text wrapping would provide a better looking printed format because there are some pages that have a lot of white space in the book (not that it really matters); and (c) my plan is to print out each year of my blog into a book, so it would have been better if I'd printed it out closer to the year I was printing out (ie, early 2009 for end 2008).  The reason for this is I recently changed the title of my blog from Live your Dreams (which is what it was in 2008) to Art and Play, which is what it is now ... so the title of my book is not truly indicative of my 2008 year of blogging, but maybe I'm just being really pedantic.

I'm truly happy with my purchase and it's much quicker to press a button to print my blog into a book than it is to scapbook, journal or make an altered book about that year of my life ... even though I will still create art in some form from my life.

"If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions."
~Chinese Proverb~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's so very hot ...

My three year old niece, Alexis, started today off saying "Di, are you all sweaty?" "Yes boo, I'm all sweaty."  "I'm all sweaty too, and when you're all sweaty, you really need to go in the pool!" ... it's so funny, she will try anything to manipulate the grown-ups to get in the pool.  At 8am it was already 28 degrees celsius (approximately 83 degrees fahrenheit).

I haven't yet gone into the pool, but the chances are good as it's just after midday and at least 30 degrees (86 fahrenheit) ... my niece has already been in 3 times with the other grown-ups in the household ... I'm the last one to go in.

Here's my new favourite book ... Altered Books Workshop by Bev Brazelton.  This may not be the book for you if you're an advanced mixed media artist, however, I am just loving it as it shows me step-by-step how to do each technique with a corresponding picture ... for those visual learners (like me).  The techniques in this book are for beginner to intermediate and beyond ... I totally recommend it if you're new to altering a book.

"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!"
~John Muir, 1838-1914, Scottish-born Environmentalist and Naturalist~

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Altered Board Book Pages

Here's a couple more board book pages from a book I'm altering with a group of girls in Brisbane.  At the beginning of the year we agreed to use 12 techniques and I've now done them all.

I'd already scanned a picture of this layout using tea bags and the cuttlebug a little while ago ...

and it now looks like this ...

Here's beeswax and fabric ... every time I open to this double page the smell of beeswax wafts nicely up my nose.

Here's my latest double page with texture paste and transparency.  I'm not quite sure that it's finished yet, I may do some stamping around the words to blend the edges of the transparency in, but am still undecided so the pages will stay like this until I meet with the girls tomorrow.

Enjoy and keep smiling.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
~Nelson Mandela, South African Statesman and Nobel Prize Winner~

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tarot Card ATC Swap

I just finished my ATCs for a Tarot Card themed swap through Advanced ATCs UK Yahoo Group.  The hostess Laura Carson set up a table and we were to choose 4 out of the 52 themes.  The images all came from Valerie Brincheck's blog as well as some inspiration in using rust and also the one with mica and fibre was inspired by the lovely Shelly Sessions, although she hasn't blogged in a little while.  I was a bit challenged having chosen male themes, but once I got started it all just flowed.

The Emperor
The Ace of Pentacles
The Page of Cups
The King of Pentacles

"The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination."
~John Schaar, a sociologist and professor emeritus at the University of California Santa Cruz~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This is who I am ...

I heard this song the other day on the radio and loved the words ... of course they didn't name the artist and I had no idea who the singer was, so have been channel surfing constantly since to hear it again.  Today whilst I was driving home, they played it again, so I wrote down some of the words and did a search on the internet and found out it's Vanessa Amorosi's latest single called This Is Who I Am ... check it out:

And here are the words ... they really resonate with me and my life:

I spend my life
Trying to do things right
but all I do is fall to my face with my hands and my hips so many times
but then I learned
after being burnt
to get back up, push straight on, stop the tears,

people move on

Well it's alright to be myself,
Now I've Learned To Stand
Well its OK to be just who I am
I've spent years really hating me
longing to be friends
Now I hope that you can understand,
This Is Who I Am

Now when life gets tough
I'm quick to hurry up
I run all day
I run through the night
I'll break down walls, I'll hit up high

I don't care if I'm fat,
Or if you think my clothes are bad
Yet i can go to sleep at night I'm a good person and I'll get by, I!!

I need someone, someone someone, someone like me
You deserve, deserve, deserve to have me
Because your world keeps spinning
And don't try to turn it

Oh, take a breather this is who I ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah Am.

"The judgment of others does not change who I am. Quite the opposite is true. It reveals who they are."
~Terry McPhearson ~

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday ...

It was my husband's birthday on Saturday, 7th November and we celebrated in style.  We started with a few too many drinks on Friday night with my younger brother - David - who flew up from Sydney.  On Saturday, we picked up my younger sister - Natalie - who also flew up from Sydney for the weekend and made our way to Paradise Point to have a picnic in the park.  It was a gorgeous warm day with a little bit of a breeze ... just perfect for a day out.  That night, Ferg and I went to see the new Australian Outback show ... all in all a great way to celebrate a birthday. 

Here are some pictures of our day ...

My gorgeous niece Alexis, who was being camera shy all day and this is only picture I could get.

My brother in-law Dave & little Harry who is nearly 9 months old.

The birthday boy, Ferg cutting the cake - lemon meringue pie, yum.

The siblings - me - oldest, Natalie - youngest, Sylvia - second, David third.

Ferg and I at Australian Outback.

"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses."
~Joyce Brothers, American Psychologist/Columnist/Author~

Monday, November 9, 2009

Magazine ATC Swap & Award

Magazine ATC Swap

This month's theme for the face-to-face ATC swap is to use magazines and here are my cards:

It was actually more challenging than I thought it would be, but I'm sure these will do for the swap.  I quite liked two of them, so kept these for myself.

Blog Award

The gorgeous Kate Crane awarded me with another Blog Award ... thanks so much hun.   There are a few "rules" for accepting this award, namely: (a) thank the person who gave the award ... tick; (b) copy the logo onto your blog ... tick; (c) link the person to your blog ... tick; (d) pass onto 7 others ... tick (see below); and (e) list 7 things that no-one really knows about you ... hmmmm, I'm pretty much an open book, so will list a few things below that hopefully others don't really know about me, so ... tick:
  1. I always wanted to be an archeologist, but never got around to getting an education in this field.
  2. I left school after finishing year 10 at the ripe old age of 15 (ie, didn't go on to year 11 and 12 to get my Higher School Certificate), but still managed to complete a Bachelor of Business degree part-time as a mature age student.
  3. I love all the Harry Potter books and films and am in awe of J K Rowling for creating such an imaginative story, that has taken the world by storm.
  4. I love living on the land and am considering going back to university to get an agricultural degree.
  5. I never understood people's obsessions with their pets, until we got a dog of our own ... I am utterly in love with my pooch Beau and want to take him everywhere with me ... our holidays are even planned around getting pet friendly accommodation!
  6. When I have an ATC deadline looming, I spend every waking moment creating what I'm going to make in my mind ... it doesn't stop until I make a draft ATC, so a lot of the time I've got to "just-do-it" or I end up having sleepless nights.
  7. I avoid conflict at all costs.
I pass this award onto some fabulous creative people whose blogs I love to frequent:-
  1. Kyla deRuiter -
  2. Tanya French -
  3. Belynda Duffill -
  4. Barb Thomas -
  5. Bevlea Ross -
  6. Elizabeth Harms -
  7. Samantha Marshall -
That's all for now, until next time keep creating up a storm.

"When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character."
~W.Somerset Maugham, 1874-1965, British Novelist and Playwright~

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Digital ATCs

I decided that as a moderator on ATC_World, it would be good if I support more of the swaps that are being hosted through the group, so I decided to join the Digital Duo swap run by Lois Richter.  I've never altered a photo digitally except to change the colour to black & white or sepia.  I don't have photoshop, so decided to download Picasa and see what that program can do and there are a few different things on the program than what my Kodak software has, so had a bit of a play.  The terms of the swap are to send 4 ATCs of the Original or Before photo and then send 4 ATCs of the Altered or After photo, and here they are:-

Statue Before any alterations.

Statue After alterations.

"The displacement of a little sand can change occasionally the course of deep rivers."
~Manuel Gonzalez Prada, Horas de lucha (1908)~

Friday, November 6, 2009

The race that stops a nation ...

The first Tuesday of November each year brings the Melbourne Cup, a horse race that stops a nation.  I always do a scrapbook class with the talented Lyndal Grant at Scrapbooks Etc, where we also have a Cup Day party by bringing along a plate of food to share, play in the sweep and of course we don our fancy hats.

Here are a couple of pics from the day:

All the ladies, with their hats.

Lyndal our illustrious Teacher (I was a bit far away so the picture's not so great)

The food spread ... so delicious.

Each of Susan's cupcakes has the number of a horse ... even the scratched one ... so cool.

Here I am holding my horse numbered cup-cakes ... number 5 came in third place so I won my money back!

"Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses."
~Dale Carnegie, 1888-1955, American Author and Achievement Expert~

Sunday, November 1, 2009

KYPADI Altered Book Group

Along with two friends (Kyla and Pam), we decided to get together at least once a month to learn how to alter a book.  Pam and Kyla both chose the theme of "nature" and I'd just bought a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale book from our local Op Shop for $2 so decided to alter that.  I just loved what Kyla and Pam were doing with nature, so decided to change my theme of "fairy tales" to "The Nature of Fairy Tales", so I can also incorporate nature into my book too, whilst also relating to the particular fairy tale that appears on the spread.

Here are the pictures of what I've done so far ... there have already been some great learning experiences as well:

So here's the cover of my book as it stands ... it won't look like this at the end.

The first technique we were all to attempt is Beeswax. My first spread is the fairy tale Wild Swans. Throughout the book there are drawn pictures and printed pictures, which I plan to use as much as possible. On this spread I covered the pages lightly with gesso, then sprayed with Olive & Old Leather Glimmer Mists. I didn't realise this, but the glimmer mists react with gesso and gave the pages this cool marble effect that I really like. I hand coloured the picture with watercolour pencils, and glued it back into the book, then stamped around the edges. I added leaves from our property (also stamped so they'd tie in with the background) and sewing thread randomly placed around the pages before covering it all with beeswax.

Technique number two is "Found Words", where we were to use the words that appear in the book but have them say something different.  No fairy tale being depicted this time as I wanted my design to tie in with the the words ... "Radiant and beautiful, she is delicate tender and kind.  Remember speak into the heart of the fairy and like a dream, the hope of the sunset came, though it must be fresh, they found for their sakes."  The words probably don't mean that much, but I thought they were somewhat poetic relating to a fairy and a sunset.  So my spread starts with a painted background, Tim Holtz stamps in orange and yellow.  Gold, Patina, Lime Green & Spanish Copper rub 'n' buff rubbed around the edges.  A fairy I created with leaves as wings, a stick as a staff and bits of paper-bark added around.

There were a number of learning experiences with this technique ... originally I'd blanked out the words with masking fluid and when I tried to remove it, the words and pages ripped out as well (see image below).  Luckily, I'd photocopied the page to practice which words I was going to use, so ended up adding the photocopied page back into the book ... probably a bit of a cheat, but I wanted to stick with what I'd come up with.

So after realising that masking fluid might work great on watercolour paper, it doesn't work so great on old text paper, so I started cutting out the sticky bit of "post-it notes" to fit over the words.  Another learning experience from Pam is to have a copy of your words, 'cause when you've painted over your little post-it notes, they're really hard to find and lift up ... but they did work a treat.

Technique number 3 that we're all going to have a go at is "Masking Tape".  I saw an article in Somerset Studio (Volume 12, Issue 2) where the artist Donna Bauermiller used Masking Tape in her art journals and we all loved how it turned out, so that's what we're to do next ... but because I'm having so much fun, I decided to try another technique that I read about in "Altered Books Workshop" by Bev Brazelton called Stippling.  The fairy tale is the Ugly Duckling, so I left the words and a drawn picture to show through.  I started with a stippling or stencilling brush in Ranger Antique Linen Distress Ink, then used Adirondack Ginger, the next layer is a light coverage of Adirondack Espresso.  I ripped a piece of paper and then placed this around the edges and stippled Espresso ink to create the border.  I cut out one of the Ugly Duckling printed pictues and stuck them on top of the drawn picture and stuck the Ugly Duckling image in with foam tape so he stood out a little.  I added words from the actual fairy tale and on the left a few feathers adhered with more words.

This is what I've done so far, so when I've got more to show, I'll post again.

"I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it."
~Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1878-1969, American Clergyman~