Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Colour Purple

The top that started it all

Magical tie-dye

My lovely purple top - which I will wear!

I absolutely had to show you the results of my tie-dying project, which I started yesterday evening. The instructions tell you to immerse and agitate the items for dying for 30 minutes but I like to leave the dyebath overnight so the colour can really sink into the fabric. Then like the big kid I am I skipped into the laundry this morning to untie the wool from my fabric bundles and see the magic happen!

The fabric is simply calico, which I had intended to use for bags, but now I have the desire to make a groovy skirt with it. We'll see ... The top with sequins was beige (arrgh) and gave a rather 'nude' effect so I never wore it for obvious reasons! My hippy top is the one that motivated me to dye - it was very faded - my sister had given it to me years ago (or I may have 'borrowed' it) and it's very sentimental to me as well as being great protection from mozzies in the evening. So it has been resurrected. I'm rather pleased with it. Purple is my most favourite colour, and this shade is just gorgeous. It's called aubergine by RIT, and I buy it from Zena's in Lesmurdie (brill shop), though I guess you can buy it in most craft stores. I remember my friend in primary school wore a purple paisley dress once - it was a true 1970's design, but I was so envious. I still remember it to this day, whereas everything else is a faded memory. See, that's the power of purple!

Perth Skyline

This post has a bit of a timelag - these pictures were taken on Boxing Day. We had a real treat and booked ourselves into a hotel for the night. The kids had asked to go to the Boxing Day sales (first ones ever in Perth city apparently!) and as we hate going to sales and all the busyness that ensues, we thought we'd have a refuge to bolt to after the event! We needn't have worried really as by the time we arrived at 3pm, most people had grabbed their bargains and it wasn't any busier than a normal day in the city. Good fun though, the boys went and did 'boys' stuff' at the model shop, and we girls went off shopping to the Japanese shop and book store.

As the sun went down, I gingerly walked out onto the balcony (8 floors up) and saw this amazing sunset. I really see myself as a country girl, but this time I could appreciate the cityscape for its industrial beauty. It looks like it could be on a different planet at dusk. Also it's further proof that no paint created can match the colours of nature. We don't often see this view of Perth. Must admit that although we enjoyed our adventure in the city we were glad to be back in our haven in the hills the next day!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to one and all!

The beautiful lilies I received yesterday from my husband as part of my Christmas gift. They are presently filling the house with heady and exotic floral scent. Mmmm...

Out in the garden today, relaxing with a cup of tea, barbecue in the background.

A Lego man is overwhelmed by the whole Christmas experience.

Firstly, a Happy Christmas to everybody! May you be enjoying the festive season wherever you are in the world.

Secondly - what a lovely day to reach my 2009 goal of 250 blogposts! Hurray!

We've had a very peaceful Christmas, enjoying each other's company and eating a healthy Christmas dinner. It's true! We just can't party anymore as much as we used to when we were younger. We have to be kind to our bodies! My best present has probably been getting to talk with my family overseas and hear how different their very cold Christmas is - whereas we've been in the pool as it's so hot here. Which is probaby where we'll want to be tomorrow as we're venturing into the city - always looking for adventure!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowman Part 2

Here's our newly renovated snowman - and he looks gorgeous if I say so myself! You can't really see the glitter on his hat and scarf, but believe me, it's there. I even painted his mittens a lovely purple, rather than re-painting the old black. The children were well pleased and rushed out into the garden to re-instate him. That's the biggest compliment of all I think. Our neighbours will also be happy as they were the ones who motivated me to do something about our broken snowman because they'd noticed we hadn't put him out this year and they missed him! So everybody's happy. What a great ending to my little story!

Only 3 sleeps to go! ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowman Part 1

Here is our poor old snowman sign looking worse for wear. One of his mittens fell off last Christmas and I only found it when weeding in the garden this October! My project here is to rebuild him and give him a bright new coat of paint. It also heralds a new section to write under, about recycling or renovating items to give them a new lease of life; I'm going to call this new section 'make do and mend'. I know recycling is the word of the moment but I wanted something more zingy and less serious sounding! I'll post a pic of the snowman in situ tomorrow - he's still on the kitchen table being painted at the moment.

I must be getting excited about Christmas and wishing it would get here quickly - I'd just put the bins out at the bottom of the drive when our neighbour pointed out that it's a day early. The bins are staying where they are. He was very nice and said he could put his bins out today too so I didn't feel so silly, though I told him that wasn't necessary. Kind thought mind ...

Righto, off to put some glitter on my snowman - bling, bling!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Moments of stillness and crafty goodness

The other day one of the children cried excitedly that there was something on the roof - being the wonderful mother I am I replied 'oh yes?' in my knowing tone, then had the surprise of my life when I looked up and saw the beautiful lizard you see pictured above, sunning itself on our skylight! So we sat there and did nothing but watch it for 5 minutes, and a blissful 5 minutes they were too, just simply being and enjoying each other's silent company. A good antidote to the rushing about I wrote about in my last blogpost.

I also did get time to do some art in the last week. Tuesday didn't quite pan out as anticipated but I spent the morning planning a doll for a competition I have entered in the mixed media magazine, 'Cloth, Paper, Scissors'. It almost didn't happen for me; this week has been flat out with Christmas activities and it came to the evening before the deadline and I still wasn't finished. Just when I was about to admit defeat my husband pointed me in the direction of my art table and said "just do it!". I did as I was told and lost myself in my inner art world and the feeling on completion was fantastic! Even if my piece doesn't get chosen for the article, I am still immensely proud of myself for completing something I wanted to do, by a deadline. At one point I did give myself a stern talking to - I realized I was making excuses as to why I couldn't complete my project, I was talking myself out of something I really wanted to do! How silly is that? Anyway, my Mother Earth doll is now sitting on my sideboard and the photos have been sent off to Interweave - check out their website, they have all sorts of resources for knitting, crochet, mixed media, quilting, etc. I won't post a picture until I know the results, seems improper to show her off before the magazine has had a chance to see her!

Today is another sweltering day - we gave up looking at the thermometer when it hit 35 degrees at 11 o'clock this morning. Yuck. Time to jump in the pool methinks. At least by that time we'd already been to Spotlight and spent ages choosing fabric - my next project is going to be the divine Emmeline apron - I received the pattern last week and I'm dying to make it. Of course we spent ages in the crafting paradise and had to extracted by the rescue party (hubby). He of course had finished all his Christmas shopping in the same amount of time. Anyway, this apron is very hip and trendy, and looks more like an item of clothing when it's on. I plan to make one from the lovely fabric (at a bargain sale price! Yay!) I bought today, and one from calico which will be my work apron; the decor will increase with time as I keep splodging it with paint.

There you have it, although it's been a very busy week I MADE time to do arty and crafty things, and do you know what, my spirit feels all the better and lighter for it. Art is definitely on my list of self-care activities - put it on yours too!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remember your self-care!

Today has been very busy, catching up on the final bookkeeping for the year, visiting a friend who not long ago had a baby (gorgeous, lots of cuddles!), swimming lessons, writing some of my Christmas cards (not handmade this year alas, I ran out of time) - interspersed with normal 'mum' type chores. I'm exhausted!

One of my little pleasures is buying UK magazines so that I still get my fix of the home country. This week my magazine of choice had a free 2010 calendar with it, pictured above. I was so pleased with my gift - lovely, simple, bright pictures which capture that quintessential English-ness I love. It will also make me remember when the British Mothering Sunday is! Mum will get her card on time next year.

I received an e-mail from the facilitator of the dolls course I'm undertaking - she was writing about the importance of self-care, especially valuable at this busy time of year. I suppose enjoying browsing through my magazines is one such activity, and when I thought about Barb's words I realized I haven't been doing anything very arty recently and I am indeed feeling somewhat 'empty' because of it. Tomorrow is my quiet creating day, so I'm hoping to sit and complete some art. I was also quite determined to write my blog today because my journalling on-line is also a form of self-care, I like getting those words out onto the page!

Tomorrow's blogpost is already half written - I was sitting around waiting for someone and had a flash of inspiration, got out my notebook and started writing. Usually I think I'll remember my thoughts, inevitably I forget and a brilliant piece of writing is lost forever! :) Actually such sensible behaviour is very uncharacteristic - maybe the hot summer weather is affecting my brain ...?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bushfire links

I wonder if Dr Who ever feels like time is running away from him and there's no way he can catch up? Because that's how I feel at the moment! Christmas is rightfully called the silly season, and with the hotter weather over here we have more reason to behave in a silly manner! I feel like I'm running all over the place searching for presents, cards and trying to remember everything I still need to do before the big (one!) day, when all I really want to do in my heart of hearts is relax with my family and just BE with them.

So, I have an enormous list of things I want to write about in my blog and so much to share, but little time to write about it all; I have decided to honour the maxim 'there's no time like the present' and tell you about the meeting I attended tonight about being prepared for bushfire season which has already started in Australia. The whole shire had been notified of a fire safety meeting, and in the very small hall it was standing room only, surprising everyone who turned up late (yes, us!) and FESA and the fire department as well. Anyway, we learnt how to protect our homes but most of all how to survive in case of a bushfire. My blog is going to be really useful tonight, as I'll pass on a couple of links we were given. The first is a phone number: 1196 which is the meterological department and gives out weather forecasts, temperature, UV rating for the day and the level of fire danger. I've phoned it tonight and I know it works! The other link is a site that enables you to register your mobile and e-mail address so that you receive an alert of a fire if it's in your area. Of course there is also the central FESA website with lots of excellent information for all of the emergency services.

I don't know why I chose the picture of Busselton jetty for this post, but a couple of reasons could be that it is one of the most photogenic places I know and that water is the perfect antidote to all this talk of fire. We left tonight's meeting more informed about the right behaviours and planning involved in surviving a bushfire, and are now determined to make our property firesafe. If you live in WA (or anywhere in Australia for that matter) take a few minutes to check out the links above - they could help save your life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creating for Christmas

A little pictorial clue as to what I've been creating today. I love working with red and orange - such energetic colours! Look at that sunshine on the chair - a beautifully light day! I'm busy trying to finish Christmas presents so that I can post them. This really is the silly season ...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

After the holiday comes the dreaming ...

Beautiful colour of nature

Myself looking very co-ordinated with my surroundings at the lighthouse in Augusta

Struggling a little to come back to the real world after a gorgeous and relaxing break in Margaret River. My creativity today has been in the form of cutting out pictures for my 'vision board'; images symbolizing my perfect day and perfect job. Needless to say there are plenty of pictures of paintbrushes, artworks and paints! At the moment the board is sitting on my sewing table with pics spread around on top, but not glued down so I'm praying that no-one goes up to it and tips it up! It's really encouraging to look at pictures of things, feelings or people that make your heart smile. Vision boards seem to really be an object of the moment, if you type the words into Google you'll get lots of results. My motivation to actually sit down and make my board came after reading 'Spiritual Business' by Kate Forster. The book helps you make a business plan using your intuition and spirituality - I'm sure my more logically business minded friends will be shaking their heads in amusement, but this approach has worked for Kate, and being the whimsical headed artistic dreamer I am I'm willing to give it a go. I just can't do logic! I'm determined that the year 2010 is the year I stop being scared to chase my dream and really move forward towards making a living out of being an artist. So watch this space! ...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rest and relaxation

I'm off to Margaret River for a couple of days for some much needed R&R, so may not be blogging for those two days - having too much fun! :)

Here's a little quote to give you something to think about:

"In the middle passage we are invited to find our passion. It is an imperative to find that which draws us so deeply into our life and our own nature that it hurts, for that experience transforms us."
J Hollis, 'The Midlife Passage: From Misery to Meaning at Midlife'.

What's your passion?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Just had to post pics of our artistic endeavours of today! We saw how to make these little critters on a kids' programme and decided to have a go ourselves. They are really easy if you want to have a go yourself - we're planning to make smaller ones, paint them gold, use massive amounts of glitter then hang them up for Christmas.

What you need:
Air dying clay, cotton buds (Q-tips), piece of wool or string, paints, glitter, anything else fun to embellish with.

How to make your monster:
1. Make a loop in the end of your piece of wool, push it into the middle of your lump of clay (not too big as you want to be able to hang it up and the clay is quite heavy). Really squidge the wool in the middle and roll clay into a ball with the length of wool sticking out.

2. Cut off one end of each cotton bud and push into the clay. I made a tripod of legs so the monster could stand up whilst I painted it, whilst the other monster has more of a wild hairdo - let your imagination guide you!

3. Make 2 (or more!) eyes from clay and stick them on. Be prepared to stick them on with glue after drying as we had to!

4. Let monster dry, approx 24 hours.

5. Paint and glitter in true monster style.

I know this project was on a kids' programme, but it was so much fun!! Don't know who had the most fun come to think of it ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This one's for you dad ...

Here I am back in the swing of things with my blogging. I had a break because I simply didn't feel like blogging - I'd got myself into a dreary place and needed to take the journey alone. I know I've always said here that I would be honest about my travels with depression, but sometimes there are places only I can go! So I have been writing in my more traditional paper journal and exploring my emotions and feelings. As my guide I've been reading Navigating Midlife: Women Becoming Themselves - by Robyn Vickers-Willis - it's a brilliant read especially if you're approaching the 'middle stages' of your life and feel like you need some direction. It also basically explains that the so-called 'midlife crisis' is totally normal and that both men and women go through it anytime from the age of 35 onwards. I've completed the book and the accompanying exercises and feel like I understand myself a little more and am going to treat myself kindly!

Anyway, I have been very creative today, as the photo above shows. Robyn recommends finding new hobbies or interests to nurture your inner spirit - and I decided to use my bead weaving loom to make a beautiful bracelet for a friend (which is why I've only shown the start and not the finished product in case she reads this!) I actually had the loom hidden in a cupboard since last Christmas and haven't used it until today - this book inspired me to have a go at bead weaving - it's great fun.

My other creativity was more like creating havoc - in the kitchen. I was commissioned to make cup cakes for afternoon tea, which I duly did; it was a beautiful mix. Unfortunately, I went off to play on the Wii Fit whilst they were cooking, got a bit carried away and overcooked the cakes because I forgot about them. Ooops :) But the good thing to come out of all of this is that my Wii Fit age is now only 26 years as opposed to 52 years old about 4 weeks ago :) It took a long time to get over that disappointment I can tell you.

So there you go - I am back after my hiatus, just like Robbie Williams. Sounds more like a medical condition doesn't it? Well, I made a promise to myself that I would have written 250 posts by the end of 2009, so I have to keep going to reach my target. Plus, my dad has asked me to keep writing, so this one's for you dad - told you I'd write tonight!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Going back to my roots

I had fun tonight punching out butterflies and hearts from coloured card, cutting out butterflies from pretty wrapping paper and sticking them into my mandala. Usually my mandalas are more 'organic', i.e. no symmetry, so this time I decided to use punches, printed papers and a stencil to make the inside of my mandala more regular in shape and design. Of course I had to depart from this because I don't like them to be too perfect, hence the lines moving away from the mandala and the butterflies who have have broken free.

As I was making the mandala I was thinking about my 'roots', where I belong, where I have come from and where I am going. Essentially, what makes me, 'me'. Came to the conclusion it's love and transformation, learning to embrace change (which I'm not always that good at, but it happens anyway!). I finished with a feeling of moving forward with love in my heart. Fabulous - what more could I ask for! And this is why I love creating so much - it's like a map of your journey through life.

PS The inspiration from this came from watching 'Who Do You Think You Are', which at the moment features Australians trying to discover their ancestry. Last night it was John Butler going on the journey and he found some of his ancestors came from Australia and Bulgaria! He's a very talented musician and played music throughout the program on a guitar that belonged to his grandfather, it added to the mystique of the journey. He was very moved to discover he had relations in Europe and that ancestors on both sides were idealists and stood up for what they believed in - much like he does in the present day. I guess as our family moves around quite a lot, I like to feel I have a sense of having my roots somewhere. Maybe some of my ancestors were also travellers or artists. One day I'll find out! ...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Revisiting my dim and distant past!

Hello there! How's your Halloween been? I bought some bags of sweets in case of trick or treaters as usual, no-one turned up as usual, so we ate all the sweets as usual. :) Yum. It's just an excuse for us all to pig out on lollies really ...

Anyway, today I've been thinking about how my creativity has developed as I've got older and remembered that I found some old drawings at my mum's when we visited the UK last summer. Here's one of my favourites - I think I was about 16 or 17 when I drew it! This piece of paper is over 20 years old! Yikes. Although the face is not in proportion and there are heaps of things 'wrong' with it technically, I like the overall feeling of light and vitality it exudes. And who wouldn't love luscious hair like that! It also sparked a history lesson, one of my children asked who Lucy was and when I replied it was one of the Beatles' songs was faced with a blank look. And ... they had no idea who John Lennon was! What are they teaching in schools these days? (Now I am sounding like my dad!!) It's great to keep a record of everything you create, in a journal, photos, sketches - interesting to see the development and the individual style you follow. Snippets of your life on paper ... I like the thought of that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting ready for summer

A Tale of Two Seasons - winter warmer and summery skirts

Why, you may ask, have I taken a picture of my wardrobe? Well, today was a day for doing chores as the weather outside was unbelievably winter-like - heavy rain, trees swaying in the wind and very cold. Strange after a day like Sunday when we were all wilting in the heat! One of my chores has been to find out my summer clothes and put away my winter stuff (felt a bit premature doing that after today). Anyway, I love wearing my pouffy, tiered skirts in summer but up until today I've had to try and squeeze them into my chest of drawers - no more! I spent a small part of today choosing ribbons to sew into the waistband of the skirts so that I can hang them up in the wardrobe. Now I get to look at a kaleidoscope of summer colours every time I walk through my wardrobe and I just love the way the fabric 'flouffs' out as if each skirt is saying 'pick me, pick me!'.

The winter warmer mentioned above is the purple scarf I started knitting a couple of months ago - obviously too hot to wear these days, but it's so frilly and twirly I'm thinking of keeping it as a decoration, simply to look at and enjoy! I have a soft spot for the yarn I used as my gran used to knit matching cardigans for my sister and I in the multicoloured wool. Funny how we form our attachment to things isn't it? And how much pleasure these little things bring us! Here's to noticing the smaller things in life that bring us big smiles - may we all have time to notice them!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day Creating in the Sun ...

Quite pleased with my sign letting everyone know what Creative Seeds was up to!

Our 'communal artwork' - we had great ideas for this, but kept forgetting to ask people to add to it as we were so busy having fun! Thank you to those people who did add to it - we love it!

Our table - a hive of creativity!

Some of the works by our fantastic creative teenagers.

Experimenting with a photo of the small canvasses Linda and I have painted on previous occasions. They all look stunning laid side by side. We have a vision for these paintings ...

Here are a few photos of our very creative day at the Zig Zag Festival yesterday. I think I'm still recovering - it was soooo hot, in the low thirties I think, which is really hot for me! We were in the youth area, right by the youth music stand, so at times I was reminded of my nightclubbing days when we had to shout in each other's ears to make ourselves heard! Try talking to people about the meaning of colours with loud rock music going on - "well, yes, you'll find that blue is a very peaceful colour ..." It did make us chuckle! Actually, the bands were excellent and we were blown away by one group called 'Convict X' who are all still in primary school, writing their own songs and music and sounding very much like rock stars of the future. Good on you!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Zig Zag!!

Today it's the Zig Zag Festival in Stirk Park Kalamunda!!

Starting at 11 am until about 8 pm there's lots to see and do - music, art, stalls and a parade!

Come along and celebrate 25 years of this fantastic festival! Hope to see you there, we'll be in the Youth Art section by the Youth Stage if you want to pop in and see us!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Great Quote ... and light and shade

I was going to share some pics of my 'scapegoat' doll that I started yesterday, but my husband has gone out with the camera and won't be back until late, so that will have to wait.

Anyway, when he's out I get the chance to watch my choice of DVD and tonight I watched a programme about discovering our shadow side, ooooh, very thought provoking! Well, there was a quote that I may have posted before, but it is just so beautiful I want to share it again, so here it is:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

Oooh, it gives me goosebumps to read it, I should have it printed on postcards and pasted to every wall of the house so that I can read it every day!!

Today was a lovely relaxing day - I went to the local rose gardens with my youngest, and we delighted in feeding the huge koi carp, who practically climb on top of each other to get the morsels of bread. Of course we had to visit the cafe for a milkshake - very yummy, I had a special rose thickshake and didn't feel too guilty as it's made with soy milk. Feeling quite virtuous I followed my youngest through the gardens and was lead to a beautiful rose trellis arch. I just love them! Today the sun was shining through the boughs, casting dapples of light and shade on the ground, we walked from end to the other and back again. Somehow I always feel closer to God when I do that - always have done since I was a little girl and had no conscious idea of spirituality. I've just always felt that there's more to life than we know and I feel it more in the presence of light and shade through the trees!! Maybe I shouldn't watch too many more thought provoking DVDs!! :) As we walked back to the car the air was suffused with the subtle aroma of summer roses - absolute bliss. These simple moments of pleasure are what makes life great aren't they? Go on out and be brilliant!

ps The DVD is called 'The Shadow Effect', with Debbie Ford in case you want to know! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

I feel like ...

OK - so why do I feel like a pair of big pants? Lots of little things really, nothing that bad at all! Firstly, I have been feeling quite homesick, I guess it's to be expected when my mum has just gone home. This homesickness feeling is like a little dog that follows me round all day, no matter how fast I try and run away from it, it manages to keep up with me! (And I think there's a piece of art in there somewhere ...)

I intend to use my 'feeling like pants' day to help me with my next medicine doll tomorrow. The second doll I have to make for my Medicine Doll Course is the Scapegoat doll where I can explore my fears and the shadowy side of my personality. I'm going to look at all the negative self-talk I constantly bombard myself with, and unfortunately I listen to it too much. (I promise you this is all leading somewhere!) For example, I started the day feeling low; later on in the day I went online to check e-mails and to read my favourite blogs. Instead of just enjoying them I started comparing my blog to others, looking at the number of blog visits, coming to the conclusion that I'm not as good as everyone else. Now, I am not whinging and fishing for a sympathy vote - rather I'm coming clean with a confession that I think I have an issue with checking blog statistics for a start! And also confessing that I'm annoying myself with this constant self-sabotage! Maybe if I declare my problem publicly I will be on the journey to overcoming it! Part of the journey is to be able to put all my feelings and emotions experienced in my self-sabotaging behaviour into a doll - it's an immensely powerful experience - I'll be sharing photos of the doll here without a doubt - I feel ready to make the doll now; I've been chickening out of making it for a while!

Now, the next part is that I made a drawing with a visual comment of my feelings about my day - the result being the beautiful big pair of pants at the top of this post! I can tell you I felt so much better and lighter in my mind after drawing the picture - you can see that by the flowers and hearts I added to the pants that I was already feeling more lighthearted. It's positive to see the lighter side of life! More proof that art helps heal I believe.

When I sat down and really thought about it I realized that blogging is important to me simply because I love writing and putting my thoughts down on 'paper'. I do it for me, and blog visits and statistics don't really matter. The other great thing is through blogging I've got to meet some awesome creative people, and I get to share a little of their journey. Check out these sites for inspiration and a dose of sunlight in your day: Violette's folkart site, an awesome whimsical artist; Attic24 for crochet and lovely images; Virtually Sally where you'll find creativity and friendly chat. There are so many, I can't include them all here! Go exploring ...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scrapbooking with intention!

When I was little one of my favourite activities was to cut pictures out of magazines and catalogues and stick them into scrapbooks. I've refined the technique these days in that the madness definitely has a bit more method! As before I'll choose pictures that interest me, but now I'm choosing consciously because of colours I love, styles of clothes I like, ideas I may want to incorporate in my own designs and artwork. The brilliant thing is I have a ready made excuse/reason for sitting and cutting out pretty pictures in that it is actually helping me to de-clutter my living space as I work through my pile of old magazines and make it smaller. Good plan hey? On the serious side though, my scrapbooks are a good source of inspiration and because they are all pictures I'm attracted to, I'm sure to like them for some time, and I find they're a kind of self-made 'coffee table' picture book that cheer me up on a dull day. They work on a multitude of levels. So there, now you have no reason to feel guilty for sitting down and making a scrapbook of your favourite images (or it could be quotes that inspire you).

Don't know how the picture has managed to turn itself around from the original, but there you go! I'm not going to change it though because I rather like how the glue looks like it's defying gravity ...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back to real life

My lovely holiday with my mum is over - she got back home this morning.  So I've spent today tidying up and getting rooms back to normal. We had so much fun going out and about we had no time for chores (that's just how life should be!) And we did have fun! From trips into the city, a river cruise to Freo, camel rides on the edge of Kalamunda, a trip back in time at the old village - it's been awesome! I've posted a picture of mum and I when we were having fish and chips in Fremantle last week at Cicerello's - a must do if you visit!

I've been thinking of arty ideas too in amongst the holiday activity, and should be able to share some here in a while.

It's good to be back, but it was such a lovely time connecting again with my mum! Thanks mum for coming to visit us, it was wonderful - love you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Walking the Zig-Zag

Beautiful windmill shaped flowers by Michael Alvares mark the start of the Zig-Zag walk

One of the bends in the Zig-Zag!

Another artwork encountered on our walk, I'm sorry to say I didn't take a note of the artist's name on the walk (should have done!), but the artwork is called 'Why?', asking us to think about our environment and endangered species.

Natural artwork - the fringe-lily - breath-taking

Yesterday mum and I walked the Zig-Zag with hundreds of other people, and what a beautiful springlike day to do it as you can tell from the photos. The walk happens on the first weekend in October every year, and as you walk down you encounter stalls with information about sustainable living, musicians, camels (really) and artworks amongst other things, as well as the amazing wildflowers which WA is renowned for. We felt quite uplifted and ready to take on anything when we passed the Scottish pipe band at the beginning of the walk - only 3km or 4km to go, depending on whether you believed the council website or the road sign at the top of the hill!

It was lovely indeed to bathe in the kinder springtime sunshine and it had a great community feel - almost like a mobile village fete! I felt quite impressed with myself for completing the walk in less than an hour and have decided to be more ambitious next year and walk back up the Zig-Zag after reaching the bottom of the hill. I must say there weren't many doing that yesterday, but well done to everyone who had the energy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rocky paths and spring chickens ...

This photo was taken on a walk with mum to Lesmurdie Falls. The falls were gorgeous indeed with all the rain that has fallen at the beginning of spring. But ... being the intrepid explorers that we are we decided to walk to the bottom of the falls to get a different view (silly people!). We were a bit worried when the cascading water sound stopped as we walked the curvy path, but found the stream eventually at the bottom of a slope barricaded with netting and a scary warning sign that the path we'd just climbed down was structurally unsound. Ooops. Anyway, we found a different path up which we'd seen on the way down, but it looked rather too treacherous at the top. On the way up we scaled the slopes like two spring chickens (more like two old chooks! :) ) and arrived energized and only slightly puffed out at the top!! The flowers are gorgeous, and I was very impressed with how my little point and snap camera captured their image. I just love spring!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to me! (Well to my blog anyway ...)

Oooh - and I've just realized my first blog birthday has come and gone by a few days - it was on September 23rd. May there be many more blogging days to come!! :)


H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y T O L A R A ' S A R T S P A C E ! ! !

(Says the same in Webdings - too tempting not to use that font for something!)

Two extremes ...

Warm enough even to dip my feet into the Indian Ocean!

Beautiful blue skies and sun at the weekend ....

.... grey skies over our house this afternoon ....

.... the rain and hail storm that followed minutes after.

My blogging has a few gaps whilst I'm showing mum around Perth. I've taken some awesome photos though and must share some here with you - photography is after all another form of creativity. And I do enjoy it so much (I am wishing for a fab camera for my 40th birthday, and already planting subliminal messages into my family's minds!)

Also, I know I call this an art blog and it is supposed to be about my creative journey - but here I am posting photos of flowers and the beach and weather. What's it all about? But as I stood on that beach I got to thinking that creativity is food for the soul - visiting the beach and listening to the surf is soothing to the soul - everything is inextricably linked! I see my soul and creativity as being intertwined, my soul would indeed be miserable without my ability to create - enjoying the colours and sounds of nature is just another aspect of my soul and feeds my creativity. So I will keep posting photos of things that stir my soul!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just being ...

I've been having lots of fun catching up with mum and news of the UK. We haven't done much, just mooched around drinking lots of tea and chatting. Next week we'll start with the day trips as it's school holidays and we can go out with the whole family. Should get some good photos of the countryside to share :)

So for now I will simply share a quote with you from a book I've borrowed from the library called 'The Soul of Creativity' (edited by Tona Pearce Myers). Several creative people from artists to musicians share their beliefs about creativity; it's very inspiring. This morning I read about an artist called Michelle Cassou and I love her approach to art, believing that free expression is the ultimate aim. Of creativity Michelle said,

"Creation does not need anything added to it, no reward, no approval, no praise. Creation is a moment filled with spirit, a moment when the soul reaches far and brings back God's heart."

Amen to that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chilling out ...

I'm making a new label today - an 'embracing your inner child' label as I think we can all get a bit too serious about life and need to remember the little things that make us smile or take us back to those childlike lighter moments in life. Yesterday as I was on my own I treated myself to a pastie and a chocolate cupcake for lunch - yum. The baker in the village makes the best ever cupcakes, the icing being the best part. The tricky part is whether to eat the cake and icing together or to pick the icing off and eat it on its own - delicious - just like my kids do today! I also don't tend to drink dairy milk very much any more, but when I do I like to partake in a flavoured milk, hmmm, banana this time! I remember when I was very little and travelling around the UK with mum and dad we used to stop at the services (rest break) on the motorways, and my very favourite drink was strawberry milk which we only used to get on these journeys. So I embraced my inner child in a big way yesterday!

Do you like the teatowel I used as a background? It was actually a freebie with a magazine, but I like it too much to use for its proper purpose, I'm thinking of making a bag with it instead.

We've been making order out of chaos in the house today after having two new floors put down - just before mum gets here tomorrow! As I write she's in the air somewhere, wondering what she will find in Australia, a country she's never visited before. I think she'll like our little home in the Hills.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spring is sprung!

Oh, I have missed visiting my little home in the blogosphere! As I've been really tired in the evenings lately as we've been so busy, I had the wonderful idea of blogging in the morning, but that didn't materialize either! Where in the world does all the time go? I'm so glad that nature still has her cycles, death in winter, birth and renewal in the spring. It's comforting to have that connection to time progressing in it's natural order.

Spring officially begins on the 1st September here. And it's been decidedly mixed up spring type weather! (Oh go on, let me moan about the weather, I haven't done it for a while, and it's in the British genes you know!) Yesterday, I managed to do a bit of weeding in between the showers and the puddles they left in the flower beds! Couldn't resist taking a photo of the beautiful tulip in one of my pots. True creation - a still, apparently lifeless bulb, planted in the ground, given the right conditions, grows and develops into a beautiful, vivid flower, apparently by magic. It still takes my breath away, and I see my little bulb blooms every year!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Work and play on a Saturday

Doll number 13 of 100-art-dolls-challenge

Well, I thought I was going to be talking about something deep and meaningful today, but I'm tired after a hard day's work (and play!) so I won't. You'll just have to wait for that treat! Instead I'll share piccies with you of a spirit doll I made for the expo - it's my Sun, Moon and Stars doll. A break away from the colour wash effect, painting in flat colour instead and embellishing with twinkly sequins - ooh, I love them! You may be able to see the clear crystal on the front of the doll - I wrapped that in thin jewellery wire, so that I could sew it to the doll using beading thread.

My mum is coming to visit next week and we've been moving furniture around as we're also having a new floor fitted in the front room before she arrives - it's exhausting work. Luckily for me I had a break when I went to my Chakra workshop at the Creative Seeds studio. Today we learnt about the colours indigo and gold and how they respectively represent the mysteries and magic of life and our inner wisdom. I got to play by painting a canvas and drawing a picture of a wonderful golden warrior in soft pastels. Seems like I can still produce original art despite my doubts I've been having recently.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here's a doodle drawing I made at the Expo in between talking to people! I decided I wanted to do a 'freeform' doodle, doodling without thinking, covering the sheet with shapes. I started with a treble clef squiggle and made shapes to fit round it - it soon became apparent that it would take days to fill the entire sheet of paper, so I drew my favourite shape and decided to fill that instead. It was purely to keep me amused during the quiet times, but people were quite interested in seeing me create something from doodles and would watch as I sat there in my own little world. It received lots of compliments from its start to the finished product. You never know how your creativity may touch others!

I signed up to an ezine called 'Creativity-Portal' which is edited by Chris Dunmire. It offers snippets of other articles about the creative journey. I found out about the inner wizard from Chris' ezine, there's much of interest to creative spirits so visit the site and sign up! Today there was a lovely quote which I felt fits with my 'just for the sake of creativity' doodle!

“Allow that creation to be a creation. It's not a measure of your talent. It has naught to do with your worth.” — Angi Sullins

Go on, have a look at the website, there's plenty of food for the creative soul!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Coming back down to earth ...

OK, so you may have been able to tell that the Expo was the most fab experience - today I am slowly coming back to the real world! Actually it's been lovely, I spent a couple of hours wandering around the village with my youngest who was dressed as a knight. We had to take his fabric helmet off when the wind was too strong and threatened to blow it down the high street!! It was lovely being a mum and just ... being. I need to write all my experiences of the last 4 days down in my old fashioned paper journal before I forget them. There's a few artworks in there. Anyway, happy Monday and may you have a lovely rest of the week!!

Extraordinary Expo

Photos top to bottom: Linda at the stand; yours truly at the stand; a close up of some the canvasses we were painting at the expo - we were encouraging people to tell their story; a close up of more canvas art and my spirit dolls!

Oh my, where do I start? The four days at the Conscious Living Expo were totally amazing! We met so many people, stallholders and the general public who were really taken with our belief that art and colour do indeed have the power to heal. A startling amount of people said they either had no creativity or that they had a creative block and could we help them remove it! Well the answer to the first part is EVERYONE is creative, and we can help you discover that, and the answer to the second part is also a resounding yes - if you have a creative block, come to us at Creative Seeds and we'll help you work through it. We spent so much time talking that my throat is now sore!

I need to give a special mention to Billy from the Pure Spirit Personal Development booth - he kept us grounded when we were away with the fairies in our arty realm, and his cheerful smile and hearty laugh kept us cheerful during the slow times. Thank you Billy! Also, Brigitte, a gorgeous woman who kept us company at times throughout the four days and joined me on the journey in the yurt! (More of that later!) She had a communal art installation - people were invited to make a friendship bracelet out of yarn to tie to a huge net to remind us all of community spirit; that we are all connected. Take a look at their websites when you have the chance, they are awesome people.

One of the highlights of the weekend for me personally was getting to meet Caiseal Mor in person. What an amazing man. I first read his first novel 'The Circle and the Cross' about 8 years ago and have always secretly wanted to meet him. Imagine how excited I was when I knew he would be at the expo. I was like a little kid when I bought his book and he signed it for me! His flute playing is out of this world, and at one point whilst I was watching him on stage I nearly fell into a faraway trance myself and had to shake myself awake. Absolutely spellbinding. Then I took part in his meditation workshop in his yurt with a small group of people. Caiseal was drumming whilst we all went on a meditative journey. I cannot tell you how absolutely amazing that experience was, but I am truly thankful for it. As I went back to our booth, Linda looked at me and said 'It looks as if you've had a healing' and she was absolutely right. I feel totally at peace with myself. Though we didn't need it, this weekend has been proof of our belief that we all have the power within ourselves to truly heal ourselves.

Caiseal Mor does a lot of work with parents and carers of autistic children as he is himself autistic. At one point a lovely lady walked past who told me she couldn't be creative because she is autistic. It was before I knew of Caiseal and his autism and I wish I had known because I would have told her to seek him out and see everything that he has created, despite the labels put on him throughout his life. Maybe she did find him, I do hope so. Caiseal Mor has written an autobiography on his life with autism if you would like to read it - 'A Blessing and a Curse' (see website for details).

I suppose I shouldn't leave out the news that we also won a prize for having the most creative stall at the Expo. Totally unexpected, but yes, we are very, very proud! We have been so stressed and anxious at times that we almost walked away and made excuses so that we wouldn't have to do it, but we hung on and finished the whole four days and enjoyed every moment of it. We had so much fun, laughing at the silly things we did each day, hugging people who wanted/needed a hug, sharing our passion for art, listening to people tell their stories. What a privilege indeed to share a moment in people's journey of life - thank you so much to everyone we came into contact with - you are all truly amazing!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So tired - but great fun!

We had our first day at the Conscious Living Expo today - and it was such fun from beginning to end! We talked to a lot of lovely people and got to look at some of the stands whilst we were there. I even got to meet Helen Wells who is the most amazing portrait artist, her work is simply breath-taking. There's too much to tell right now as I'm so, so tired, but in a good way! Can't wait until tomorrow!

Ooops, went to find the link to Helen's website and got caught up looking at all her lovely art and her blog! But do check out the link, you won't be disappointed!

Photos tomorrow I promise! Brightest of blessings! (still buzzing from today's experience - fantastic!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting better for the expo!

I'm not inspired to blog tonight - I have (another) cold, and my nose doesn't stop running for long enough to give me a few minutes on the keyboard!

So I'll simply post a link tonight for the Conscious Living Expo which is happening in Perth this week, and Creative Seeds will be there with a booth - we're offering Aura-Soma readings and the opportunity for self-expression with painting on a canvas relating to what has meaning from the reading. It will be great fun!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Feeling blue?

I like this picture describing how I feel when I'm in the company of the black dog, otherwise known as depression. It was drawn in my art journal earlier this year, and is a good reminder that it's vital to keep making art, especially when it helps to express what I'm feeling. (That's why you can see parts of words down the edge, I was also making notes!) This has been a tough week when I've realized the black dog has grown larger, almost without me noticing, and I've had to reach out for help again. It might seem weird that I share my thoughts and journey of depression in a public blog, but the way I see it I can hardly espouse the healing power of art if I don't have anything to heal can I?

There's a fantastic book called "I had a black dog" by Matthew Johnstone and it's a recommended read if you or anyone you know suffers from depression. In my humble opinion it's one of the best books I've read that accurately describes how it feels to live with the illness of depression. It's short and succinct so you don't have to spend too much time reading, and it's a picture book too, which appeals to my visual mode of thinking!

A short blog today as it's been a busy, busy day and I need time to rest and recuperate ... have a fun Friday ...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Returned from time travelling ...

Pictures above - Vikings invade Balingup in a short longboat; gorgeous colourful dragon; parading knights; yours truly showing off a shiny windmill and sparkly scarf purchased at the fayre; a dark knight.

Well, I'd fully intended to post last night, but got caught up in making flyers for our Expo experience next week. Computers just sap up your time don't they. Here I am though, with a few pics from our Balingup Medieval Festival experience. Very atmospheric and wonderful to see that so many people made the effort to don costumes to man their stalls. There was sword fighting, belly dancing (not in the same area!) and a fab Celtic music ensemble. I could have stayed all day, but we had a wee Dark Knight with us, whose attention span could rival a goldfish!! He did spend some time in the stocks for that. :)

As we walked back to the car we were able to see the parade along the main street. Colourful costumes, weird and wonderful transportation, feisty fire-throwers and magical music. My most favourite was the dragon.

The kids absolutely loved it. I wasn't sure if they'd enjoy it - but when we asked what the best part of the weekend was they all said 'the festival!'. For reasons ranging from the bouncy castle, sparkly scarves (me), swords and armour, trendy bags, to shiny windmills (me). Bizarre to see the Middle Ages come to a small town in the south west of Western Australia, but definitely an experience not to be missed. I might be able to persuade everyone to dress up next year ... hmm ...