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 ...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bon voyage!

We went to AQWA the other day to look at some exotic fish and sharks with our little man. It was so lovely to see him rushing from tank to tank in his excitement to make sure he saw everything, as well as exhausting trying to keep up with him. So many colours - and all natural!! My favourites were the Dory fish and the seahorse, which I have been fascinated with since I was a little girl. They are very fairy tale like. Gorgeous.

Anyway, we were also determined to walk along the beach for a few metres as we don't get there very often, it's a bit of a trek from the Hills. Here are a couple of pictures of the glorious last days of winter, very bright and breezy.

This week is a week of adventure for us. We're off to Bridgetown this weekend to stay with friends - they're near Balingup where they have a Medieval Festival. I've wanted to visit this for the past 4 years, and now I get to go! I don't know who's more excited, me or the kids. I shall be keeping a close eye on the costumes, fabrics and colours used. Ooooh, I can't wait! I will be taking lots of photos and will share them here. In the meantime go and have a look at the link, it looks like good fun! Back to blogging when I get back. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Calling my inner wizard - where are you?

Daffodils fully opened and looking gorgeous!

My first piece of original art for a while! Don't ask what was going through my mind whilst I was creating it, I just know it was very calming and time passed very quickly. I have a love/hate relationship with soft pastels, the sound of them on the paper and the dust on my hands is rather irritating, but I love the effects you get when you smudge the pastels on the paper. It's very soft and comforting in some way.

Today I went to finish off my bookkeeping data entry and found to my dismay that I've been entering the data for the past month into the wrong file! Our bookkeeper is going to see if she can save the day and import all the data from one file to another. If she can't I'll have to input the whole lot again (and you know how much I love doing that!) So I used the time to do some more patchwork, which I enjoyed immensely.

I get lots of creative e-zines arriving in my e-mail inbox, and probably spend too much time trying to read them all. The one I was catching up with today was quite good though, the author was talking about our inner critic and it's antithesis* the inner wizard. Apparently it's our inner wizard who gets us fired up again and silences the inner critic to allow us to move forward towards our goals. If you visit here, you can do a short test to see how much you are tapping into your inner wizard. The test asks questions about different areas of your life. My overall score was quite appalling - I only scored one out of ten for the financial questions. Oops. Think my inner wizard has found a cosy corner and fallen asleep somewhere!

*I don't know if this is exactly the right word for this context, but it sounded good so I've kept it in!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daffodils and birthday wishes

Here are the results of our foraging at the local Farmers' Market today. We had some lovely organic bread too, but we ate that as soon as we got home so couldn't show you that! The daffodils were barely open when we bought them, and have opened even more since I took the photo. Tomorrow they will hopefully have opened up to their full glory so I may take another pic to post. I have decided that I simply love flowers in general - I'm always saying 'oh, sunflowers are my favourite', then it will be dahlias, pansies, daffodils, and so on. So they can all be my favourite, life would not be as colourful without them.

The little squares on the plate are extremely yummy fudge - in fact it's quite amazing that there was any left to photograph, I've been having to fight the children off all day.

I've noticed lately that as I've got more stressed about life in general (about things I don't need to talk about here) my creativity has changed. I'm not so into making totally original works of art and am happier to follow a pattern, it's already structured and requires less thinking about I guess. At the moment my creative pursuits of choice are knitting and crochet. I find it so meditative to sit and let the stitches fall off the hook or needles to form a fabric. Especially as the projects I am choosing at the moment are quick to achieve, and my creative urge is satisfied almost immediately! Lots of scarves and gloves being made at the moment, so everyone knows what they are getting for Christmas ...

However, subconsciously creativity seems to be flowing. I woke yesterday with the storyline for a book, characters, names, plot and message all there in my head as soon as I opened my eyes. Deciding to go with it, I hurried to the office and put everything down on paper, printed it out and have put it in my ideas folder in case I decide to follow it through. I think I'm a bit hesitant to rush in because I don't usually write creatively (except for my blog), and maybe this was just my mind playing tricks on me. At least it was a piece of original creativity, formed without me having to think about it too much, so I will keep my piece of paper and see if it keeps calling to me.

Today is my dad's birthday. It feels strange to know he's out for a walk on the beach with my sister and I'm not there sharing in his celebrations. It's times like these that I really miss being back with the family. But the lovely thing is that we will never stop being father and daughter, and I can still wish him lots of love on his special day! We're drinking a glass of red in your honour dad - have a very happy birthday! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time for a catch-up ... and cake

Officially the best chocolate cake in the world (got the recipe from the best cake cook in the Isle of Wight :) ), and look, isn't that a beautiful piece of patchwork it's sitting on ...

Yes, sad I know, but I had to take a picture of the dinosaurs standing up as they'd been placed with such precision.

Yum, I am eating a piece of the cake you can see above right now, and I must say it's very scrummy. My littlest woke up yesterday in a very creative mood, so we made some more monsters from air-drying clay (which will soon be ready for painting), then after lunch we made a lovely chocolate cake. Exhausted by his efforts he fell asleep, during which time his siblings returned from school and finished decorating the cake as a surprise for him - which is why the dinosaurs are standing up rather than lying down in a haphazard fashion as would happen if mum and littlest had decorated. A family effort at being creative with cookery.

Creativity has been in a mostly non-arty form this last week. We have all suffered in varying degrees with the virus that is circulating, ranging from sniffles and a cough to full on chest infection. Thankfully (for everyone else at least!) I was affected relatively lightly and took on full nursing duties. As my eldest said to me in horror last week - "Mum, what will happen if you're ill? Who will look after us?". Nice to be appreciated!! Presently I'm working on the books again, my least favourite job, although I realized last night that I do get a pang of pleasure at all the invoices being organized in a systematic fashion, but please don't tell anyone. Bookkeeping and pleasure in the same sentence may indicate oncoming insanity.

Do you like the patchwork in the top photo? I've finally started to block my hexagons! I'm nearly halfway there; still have to make the half flowers for the edge, do the quilting stitch and finish the edging, but there's time - this is a labour of love!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Orange is for creativity

Today I attended the second of the chakra workshops being held at Creative Seeds - the colours we looked at were orange and blue. I learned that amongst other things orange is the colour of creativity, and if you are not comfortable with change in your life you need more orange! Anyway, we did some artworks based on the two colours, which I won't share yet as they were quite personal and I think the messages were just for me! But as I was looking out of the window this evening I saw the sky had turned the most magnificent orange colour. I took the pictures from my room, over our rooftop as I knew by the time I'd found the 'perfect' spot, the colours would have faded. When it's nature putting on a show, you have to be quick! And maybe this was the perfect spot ... It's great when art and nature work together to make you take notice.

Aren't the colours wonderful? I remember watching a program about colour and how we perceive it and one scientist had a theory that the world is black and white and that the colour we see is simply a trick of the light. I'm sorry but I can't accept that the world is just shades of grey. Colour is amazing - it doesn't need to be explained away, but should be enjoyed!

Friday, August 7, 2009

One thing leads to another

Well, I managed to change the banner on my blog page, and I'm fairly pleased with the result of my new look blog. I'll leave it for a few days and see if I still like it!

Today has been a pleasant one - I had an impromptu visit from a really good friend and we sat and chatted for ages about life, the universe and everything. It's so lovely when you connect with someone you don't have to watch what you say with, someone who loves you warts and all!

My show and tell for today is the crocheted bag I mentioned yesterday. It's made out of garden twine, with stripes of cotton yarn and yarn made from strips of cotton fabric. Now I have another way to use my stash of fabric. It's funny how long you can have fabric in your stash and not realize; how it marks time - and what memories it brings up! The fabric that I used to line the bag and to make the fabric strips for crocheting was actually bought 19 years ago when I was still living in Devon! It was to make an apron and oven gloves for a friend who was getting married on the Isle of Wight - I was her bridesmaid. In the end I bought her something else (can't remember the reason why) and was left with the fabric. Incidentally I ended up living on the Isle of Wight for nearly 10 years, and still have very fond memories of my life there. I only lined the bag because I thought it would be lovely to hold my yarn and knitting projects and ended up going down Memory Lane because of it. Great fun! Anyway, the project is one of many from a fantastic book called 'Quick Crochet, Huge Hooks' by Sally Harding. Go and borrow a copy from the library as I did and you'll be able to whip up a bag or scarf by the time you have to take it back. You might also be persuaded to buy a copy so you can finish the rest! I actually used a smaller crochet hook (10 mm)as I only used one strand of twine - the pattern calls for 2 strands but it's quite rough to work with and I didn't like the feel of it against my skin! I'm a softie and like soft yarns!! Ahh ...

I read somewhere yesterday that doing crafts such as crochet, knitting and other forms of creativity helps you to keep you memory as you grow older, kind of a brain exercise I suppose. Sounds good to me ... now ... where did I put that crochet hook ...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

postscript ...

Got rid of the dots - they were driving me crazy. I'll work on the top banner later when I have more of an idea of how to do it, and when my head isn't feeling like cold porridge. :)
Just a short post to say I haven't disappeared - rather that the whole family has had a virus this week and now it seems to be my turn. It seems to be a little tease of a bug; I've felt not quite right several times this week, but it's never taken hold fully - until today, and now I'm feeling seriously sorry for myself.

Lifted my spirits with crochet - I've just finished a small shopping bag made from garden twine. I want to line it and put some beads on it, then I'll be ready to show the world!

For now I'm off to drink a glass of white wine, then collapse in bed with a good book. Just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Symbols and springtime ...

Yes, I know I've used these flowers before - but it's been a wonderful springlike weekend and one morning the sun was shining through the window of my crafty corner and lighting up the flowers spectacularly. They looked gorgeous so I had to share.

I'm writing earlier than usual as I'm feeling pretty tired - most of the family has succumbed to a nasty cold and I'm hoping I don't, but that dull ache in the front of my head is not a good sign!

Creatively I've been carrying on with my hexagon quilt, knitting a few more rows of my purple wavy scarf and finding out some more crochet techniques and patterns to continue with my scrumbling. On Friday I found another ball of yarn in the supermarket of all places - it was pushed to the back of a shelf all on its own and you know what - I felt bad for it (sad, I know) so added it to my trolley. It's a lovely shade of yellow that luckily mixes well with the other colours of yarn I chose on Thursday, plus it was only $3 so I don't feel too guilty! (It was obviously meant to be ...) Next I want to experiment with some more motifs to add to my scrumbling -for now I've left the lovely scrumbled 'artwork' on my coffee table so I can enjoy looking at it!

I want to get more creative with my blog too. I'm going to change the template to a simple one and add a banner of my artwork along the top - only thing is, I don't know how to do that! Can anyone help? I really, really like circles, but at the moment I feel like all I'm doing is going around in circles and my blog symbolizes that with it's dotty background, and quite frankly it's a little off-putting. It's funny how symbols speak to you in different ways isn't it?