Saturday 31 January 2009


Well this week certainly flew by!! I feel as though I am saying that a lot lately so I had better just "go with the flow"! I didn't get a whole lot of creative time this week but I finished off another Oxford Impressions piece. This one is a little hanger using the sweet little fairy girl image from the latest stamp plate. I experimented with colouring some of that very light weight lacy paper using my Lyra crayons and lots of water and then I enjoyed using them so much I used them to colour the fairy and the paper flowers as well. The whole thing is stitched to water colour paper and then a piece of canvas.

Over the last few days I have received an amazing array of art - three more ATCs from the Surface Design Technique exchange and then I was one of the winners on the wonderfully talented and generous Kelsey O'Mullane's blog. I am SO lucky!

This is the amazing texture paste journal cover that Kelsey sent me -
such stunning texture and gorgeous rich colours).And this a Kelsey Texture Paste ATC - equally amazing!

This fabric ATC is from Jan Ziebol -
a beautiful silk and wool needle-felted combination.

This fabric ATC is from Judy Alexander - hand-painted fabric with
some fabulous stitching and thread painting to create a fabulous landscape.

This ATC is made from fused plastic bags and is from Aynsley McKay (unfortunately no blog)- the top pieces are cut out from fused plastic and are fused to the background layers of fused plastic bags. Terrific result!!

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Wednesday Stamper - Lace

Another weekly challenge that I haven't had time to participate in for the last several (at least!) weeks is Wednesday Stamper, so I am happy to be able to use my latest little Oxford Impressions cupcake tag as the WS theme this week is "lace".

The tag is stamped with the "Ice Cream Parlour" text image from the Fairy Sweets plate and then I have layered the deep aqua vellum over the top. The cupcake and candle are from the same plate of stamps and have been embossed in white and coloured with Starburst Stains in orange and aqua. The icing has a layer of clear glitter glue and then a layer of dimensional magic as well. I am on a use up my "bits" mission so it was good to be able to incorporate scraps of lace and ribbon as well as some stick on jewels!

Monday 26 January 2009

Some Oxford Impressions Stamped Sweetness

The latest Oxford Impressions stamp plate is something completely different - a very fun and sweet plate of fairy cupcake sweetness. I love being part of Suzanne's Design Team as it exposes me to different stamps and keeps me on my toes design-wise. The hardest thing for me is to stay true to my "style", whatever that is! I am so easily influenced by what other people are doing and creating but of course I don't just want to do the same so I try and stay vigilant.

Here are a couple of pieces I made yesterday using this new "Fairy Sweets" plate. The first one uses some fancy brads that match the paper (I think that is such a good idea!!). I also got to use my new Stampin'Up scallop edge punch - love love love it! Naturally I had to include some stitching.
This second one uses a large chipboard flower that I coloured using Adirondak Color Wash sprays and also some Glitz Spritz for a bit of sparkle. The good old white gel pen and sewing machine were used too and I applied some lovely adhesive felt flower trim.

I am waiting for the glitter to dry on my cupcake "icing" so that I can finish another card. I had to really search for my glitter glue (how long since that saw the light of day?) but I think I can feel a glitter revival about to happen - it was so much fun making sparkly pretty stuff!

Saturday 24 January 2009

A Saturday Catch-up Post!

This week has just flown by and here we are at our Australia Day long weekend already!! That means we are 1/12th of the way to Christmas 2009!! Yikes...

My friend Annie get together most Wednesday evenings in her gorgeous stand-alone studio and our intention is to be creative but to also chat and share things we have just received or bought. In 2008 we got a little bit slack in the creative area so we are actively setting a goal for Wednesday nights this year. Two weeks ago we decided to work with felt, specifically the little dimensional daisy moulds made by Clover that Annie had bought us. I found that my daisies were too dimensional (or maybe just too big) for my taste (I couldn't think what to use them on) so I needle-felted mine onto craft felt so I can use them as postcards, or patches on bags etc). These are some of my recent felt experiments including a few of those daisies. I can see with a bit of practice I'd get a better result!

This week we played with alcohol inks - on white gloss, silver card, black gloss, acetate, gloss laminate chips, metal tape, tins etc. Lots of fun and some nice backgrounds resulted. I have made a fair bit of progress on one of those white handled tins but I won't post a picture until I finish it. These are some scans of my backgrounds.

(on a gloss laminate chip)

(on white gloss card)

(on white gloss, silver card and black gloss card)

(on acetate and metal tape)

This week I received some great mail. Firstly my Calendar Girl postcard for January from Sandy. This is the calendar page (Shane Pickett painting) we are using as our inspiration this month. Sandy has created the postcard with felt and a little stitching and it is a lovely soft and dreamy result.

Due to a little mix-up my postcard was first sent to Pat so when Pat sent it on to me she included this lovely ATC she had made from tissue paper, lace and a stitched transparency. So pretty!

I am also participating in a Surface Design Technique ATC exchange and the first two ATCs have arrived. The first is from Marga Korioth who made this terrific little painted and embellished holder for her beautiful painted, beaded and stitched ATC. I love the frayed edges.

The second one came from Michelle Bonds and is an incredible example of Michelle's "take" on Beryl Taylor's UTEE on fabric technique. Michelle has stitched and painted on the UTEE and the result is wonderful.

Now I am off to do some creating of my own.

Monday 19 January 2009

Wednesday Stamper - Openings

As mentioned yesterday I haven't been participating in weekly challenges recently but the current week's theme of "openings" at Wednesday Stamper fits with this ATC I made some time ago so it has given me the opportunity to join in!

This ATC doesn't qualify for the challenge as it doesn't include any stamping but it is another one I made a while back and as it is one of my favourites, I am posting it as well. Both the image and the shrine front come from Julie van Oosten's Collections range.

In terms of my recently made ATCs, I made this fabric one yesterday for my trade with Clara Lloveras. It is similar to some others I have made and celebrates one of my favourite themes - homes and houses!

I also recently received this gorgeous vibrant Mona ATC from my perennial trader Laurence Rocher in France. Isn't it lovely?

Sunday 18 January 2009

Think Monday Think ATC - Automobiles

I haven't participated in any online weekly challenges for ages and ages but today I saw that Think Monday Think ATC had the theme "automobiles" this last week and I just couldn't resist making a quick ATC to join in! I have had this gorgeous old automobile stamp for ages and hardly ever get to use it so that was another reason to participate.

The background is some leftover shaving cream marbling and the black stamped vehicle has been "decorated" with white gel pen. Hopefully this will get me back "in the swing".

Fibre Technique ATCs

One of the Yahoo Groups that I belong to is called Surface Design. It is a great fibre surface design art group and they always have something on the go! I joined their January Technique ATC exchange and these are the ATCs I finished yesterday.

The "technique" I have used is to adhere a strong printed tissue paper (the gift-wrap sort that is not really transparent) to commercial felt using vlieosofix. I crumple and then flatten out the tissue first but ironing it on to the felt results in some nice creases. When I started this particular piece I was intending to highlight the background print which was quite strongly coloured and so I stamped on it and added some glitz spritz. BUT it looked uninspiring so I set it aside (in the "4later" pile) and it was joining this exchange that made me pull it out again. Here it is in its initial state.

So I painted it with some lovely Lumiere Paints - such gorgeous metallic colours! Next I sprayed it with some black and then white webbing (another love) and then I stamped a text stamp repeatedly over the surface using Black permanent ink.

While it was still a whole piece of cloth I added a little machine stitching - one decorative stitch in lines and then some random meandering, all in a lovely coppery metallic thread. Then I cut it into ATC sized pieces, added iron-on Pelmet Vilene as a backing and stitched around the edges using black thread. Although it was a technique exchange and it was not critical to have a focal image I thought a little coppery embellishment was called for, hence the small metal shapes that I have stitched on.

Friday 16 January 2009

The Simple Abundance Path

(Fibre ATC from Clara Lloveras)

Many years ago (I think it was around 1995 or 1996) a childhood friend who has lived the last 20+ years in the US sent me a copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance - A Day Book of Comfort and Joy". At the time I was not happy and couldn't work out why as I could tick all those happiness boxes (you know, health, husband and kids, rewarding job, somewhere to live, something to eat...)

Anyway it was a life-changing experience and I feel as though I personally "know" Sarah as I have, over the years, bought copies of her book for several people and re-read my own many times. For the first few years I read a page a day each year (for anyone who doesn't know the book, it has a reading for each day) and then I moved to reading it every second year. Last year was an "off" year and by the end of the year I could really tell that I NEEDED to read it again in 2009.

It is one of those books that has an extensive bibliography and it has led me to many wonderful books that I doubt I would have come across otherwise, but the reason I constantly re-read it is because it centres me and it makes me confront my current thinking. I don't agree with everything or follow all of Sarah's rituals but I really do believe in this book.

Anyway I am back reading it on a daily basis and it is already working its magic on my thinking! I can't remember whether I posted about my word for 2009 (a la Christine Kane's Resolution Revolution) but it is SERENITY and I have realised today that reading Simple Abundance really does help me practise it (serenity, that is). Today I also started my Gratitude Journal for 2009 and I had no trouble thinking of five things I am grateful for. Another of Sarah's recommendations is to keep an Illustrated Discovery Journal to help us identify our personal preferences. In the past I have "sort-of" started this and faded out fast but I think this year I may just do it as I am enjoying art journaling and can see that I can do it "my way". I think my resistance comes from my fear of having to actually decide exactly what it is I want in my life. Which is pretty stupid when I really think about it as I really do "know" it, I just haven't always articulated it (and don't like explaining it!)

So if you haven't ever read the book, I recommend it. I'll probably post about it again!

Today's mail brought this lovely fibre ATC at the top of this post. I did a one-on-one trade with Clara Lloveras in Spain. I thought it was an abstract until I read the title (Zebra) on the back and thought to look at it in landscape orientation! I had automatically looked at it in portrait. Thanks Clara - I love the simple abundance of it!

Thursday 15 January 2009

2009 Calendar Girls - January

For 2009 the Calendar Girls have made some changes. We have a couple of new members and this time each of us is choosing a calendar page as inspiration for a particular month. This month it was my turn and I selected my favourite Shane Pickett painting " Wanyarang Storm Against the Wind" which was used in a calendar celebrating the wonderful array of Australian Indigenous art. I love this painting on several levels - the colours really really grab me (and they are the colours I live with here on the edge of the desert), the texture and subtle movement really really appeal and then I just love the pureness and abstractness of the image. So with all this inspiration, what did I make!?

Shane Pickett " Wanyarang Storm Against the Wind"

In the end, after considering many options, I used fabric, house paint, texture paste, multiple layers of acrylic paint and glimmer mists and metallic rub-ons to make my interpretative fabric postcard (based on my recent learnings from the wonderful FibreIn Form online workshop in Textured Surfaces). In an effort not to be too literal, I used miniature white eyelets to create the two rows of white dots. What was I thinking? They are awful to use at the best of time but in a textured fabric base and en masse they are quadruply awful. These was much gnashing of teeth and abandoned use of a hammer but submission of sorts was achieved. The texture paste was used on top of the household paint with a circular stencil to create the swirling movements of the storm and the texture on the earth.

Look here (it is the first of the textured surfaces) to see what the fabric looked like with its first layers of paint and then below is what it looked like before I trimmed it to postcard size (that was hard as I liked it that size!) and added the final layers.

Sunday 11 January 2009

A Catch-up Post!

Gnarabup Beach (Margaret River) at sunset
I had great intentions to blog on Thursday, then Friday and then again yesterday but the time just disappeared. It is certainly taking me a while to get back into some sort of workable routine after work - my reinstated walking program is messing me around a bit as I am doing it as soon as I get home from work and then the rest of the evening seems to disappear, especially as it is SO hot here at the moment.

Morning at Redgate Beach (near Margaret River)

Yesterday I planned a quick house clean and to do the washing so that I could get some art time in the late afternoon but I discovered the hot weather had resulted in some tiny insects in my pantry so I had a major pantry clean out and scrub. It took several hours (it is amazing how much fits into a corner pantry) but I have a lovely clean, organised and hopefully bug free pantry now. It actually fitted in with my intention to clean out and sort the contents of one cupboard or drawer a week this year - I just would have started with something smaller if it had been my choice! I rewarded myself with a swim in the pool before we had a yummy barbecue dinner. It is going to be even hotter today with a forecast of 40C so I guess I'll be having another late afternoon swim.

I gather that much of the northern hemisphere is having a very harsh winter so this post includes several holiday snaps of the beautiful beaches down at Margaret River in the south west of Western Australia. Hopefully looking at them will warm you up a bit if you are sitting in a cold part of the world (or make you buy a plane ticket)!

Now to catch up on some art stuff. The first two postcards are from Carol McFee. These postcards are for the November Calendar Girls exchange and Carol sent me two (she was most annoyed that she misspelled "friend") - lucky me as they are both beautiful and textural.

This next one was my December Calendar Girl postcard from Carol Taylor. Carol went with the Christmas theme (as did several of us) and made this glorious arty shaker style postcard. There is a lot to notice on this card, right down to the text on the underside of the flat bottomed glass marbles. A glorious bright and detailed postcard.

Calendar Girls is continuing for 2009 with a few changes - we have two new members and this year we are each choosing a calendar page for one month to act as that month's inspiration. Mine is first and it is a wonderful painting by Shane Pickett (see below). It is a real favourite of mine and wouldn't I just love to own it!! Hopefully I will be able to do it justice as an inspiration for a fibre postcard. More of Shane's work is currently on exhibit at the WA Art Gallery.

I made this very simple little stitched felt ATC while I was holidays for a Christmas ATC exchange with Anne Lugherini in France. As is often the case, I ran out of time to get it finished before Christmas but fortunately Anne is is patient!

And look at the gorgeous tote my friend Annie Laing made me for Christmas. I love it - it is so summery and pretty! Annie is becoming a bag-making specialist (she is very attentive to details so they are beautifully made and fully lined). Thanks Annie!!

Tuesday 6 January 2009

The Last Four Days of Christmas (belated!)

Well I had a lovely two weeks away - so much packed into a fairly short time and I am in major catch up mode as we got home Sunday afternoon and had to go back to work on Monday (yesterday)! Never again - next time I am going to leave myself at least one day to unpack and catch up on "stuff"!

The photo above is from my friend Jude's December 22nd wedding in the Swan Valley at the Upper Reach Winery - Joe took the photo on his phone so it is a "make-do" shot until we get to see the real photos! It was a fabulous day and one filled with love and happiness. PS I am the shortest bridemaid.

But right now the priority is to share the last four days of the "12 days of Christmas" exchange.

The Ninth Day of Christmas brought this lovely bird mobile from Samm Menzies - so sweetly made and packaged in an equally darling drawstring bag! Have a look here to see all of Samm's birdies together! They look wonderful - all made from recyled kimonos.

The Tenth Day of Christmas was my day and I made everyone a small notebook with fabric covered laminate chip covers. Probably a bit too bright and cute for an arty exchange but I really enjoyed making them in all their brightness!! Here they are en masse and in their fabric and frangipani wrappings. (The first photo is accurate colour-wise - not sure what happened to the pink fabric in the other photos!!)

The Eleventh Day of Christmas brought this gorgeous "wish" necklet from Jen Crossley which included such a wonderful little bird nest complete with eggs! It came all wrapped simply in calico - such a contrast to the creative metallic richness inside!!

The Twelfth Day of Christmas (the last day - so sad!) brought a superb ornament from Gaye Todd. Now this ornament was very special anyway but it also came in a special knitted and embellished pouch as well!

In the next couple of days I'll post all the other wonderful mail I have received over the last couple of weeks and some photos from the last couple of blissful weeks!

PS If you haven't already, check out Susan Lenz's Cyber Fibre Exhibition - there is a lot of wonderful fibre art candy there! And, if you are a stamper - Suzanne at Oxford Impressions has released a new plate of stamps - and they are really sweet!! Mine arrived today so you know what I will be doing this weekend.