Monday, 11 November 2013

Day 1 - 10 Thirty Days of Gratitude and a Handmade cereal box journal

So a couple of days ago i showed you a little Gratitude journal that I had made out of a box and some cardstock. Today, as part of Louise Gale's 30 days of Gratitude and Effy's Sunday Swoon blog hop, I would love to show you the larger journal I made using a cereal box as a cover. I just love this ready made peep hole in the front cover. This journal was once again inspired by one that Jennibellie made. The link to the you tube video is here.

 First I carefully opened the box at the seams to lay it flat. I kept the flaps on the box until the end so I could use them as little pockets if I wanted to, but also as reinforcement for the outer edges of the cover. I cleaned up the edges where it was stuck together and gave it a good coat of gesso.
After this was dry I painted the background with Jo Sonja paints in Pthalo Blue and Aqua. Don't you just love these two colours together?

I then stenciled Pthalo Blue all over the cover with this lovely new stencil I just bought from Crafters Workshop.

then I laid the stencil in a different direction on the cover and stenciled again with Aqua and white

added a layer of stamping with Black Archival ink and then stenciled on some feathers with Rich Gold paint.
I glued a piece of scrapbook paper on the inside of the cover to reinforce it and the spine,

gathered my papers and made signatures out of them

punched some holes in the signatures and spine, bound with some linen thread coated in beeswax...

and there you have it, a journal made with a cereal box. I doodled around the letters with a Gold Signo pen and a Gelly Roll Clear Star pen as well as outlined the feathers in black Aqualip pen. I just have to add some beads to the dangling thread and I'm ready to use it.

I used various leftover scrapbook papers and various other types of papers that I had in my stash for the inside pages. This is a great way to use up those leftover scraps of paper or patterned paper that you bought ages ago but don't know what to do with now.
 They feel so good in my hand and I can't wait to use them, They are infused with so much positive energy that I know they will be a special keepsake for my thoughts.

So my Sunday Swoon is the feeling I had when I finished these lovely little journals.

I still have to finish some of the pages in my gratitude journal for the 30 days of gratitude so will share those at the end of the month. I'm off on a 10 hike across New Zealand next week so not sure if I can fit my journal in my backpack but I will try my best.

My gratitudes this week are
  • firstly for the host of wonderful artists that share so generously on you tube (thanks Jennibellie)
  • for my students that have come to all my classes this year. We had our last class for the year on Saturday and it was great. I have some great recipes to share in a future post.
  • for the time I am able to spend in my studio with my creative muse
  • for my family who unconditionally support my creative endeavours
  • for this beautiful place on earth that I live in
  • for my friends who I love to bits
  • today is Remembrance Day so a huge gratitude for our service men and women, past, present and future. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

30 Days of Gratitude - my guest post

I have some exciting news today - I'm guest posting over here at Your Heart Makes a Difference blog for their 30 days of Gratitude. I have added a badge on the right hand side so you can easily find your way there each time you visit me so please drop by and visit and show this lovely blog some love.

It's been a busy couple of weeks here and I haven't had much time to really dig my teeth into any of my art projects ,but Louise's 30 Days of Gratitude has prompted me to make a little Gratitude journal and keep up with it for the month of November and then beyond. I was fortunate enough to participate in a dreamboard workshop with Louise when she was visiting Australia some time ago and I love everything she does on her blog. She is a beautiful soul and I am grateful for our connection.

If you are a long time reader of my blog you will know that Gratitude is a BIG part of my life. Being in a state of gratitude has changed my outlook on life keeps the positive energy flowing through me and those around me. This outpouring of gratitude that seems to happen each year in November concentrates that positive energy and spreads around the world. It has been a long held belief that the earth energy as a whole is changed when there is a global outpouring of positive energy and by sharing our gratitude this month it is sure to have an impact, which hopefully is ongoing.

Today I am sharing my thoughts on my gratitude practice in my guest post but I really encourage you to  follow the whole 30 days on the blog. Louise has wonderful prompts everyday to get us all in an 'Attitude of Gratitude'.

 My little Gratitude journal was inspired by the greeting card journal made by Jennibellie. Here is the link to her tutorial on her blog and there are links in her blogpost to her youtube videos showing you how to make one. I made my with a a little box  that I had lying around and now I have started collecting old coffee sachet boxes and my cereal boxes to make more journals.

I used plain kitchen twine to bind it with and then plaited the ends. I really like the way it looks and it is small enough to have beside my bed to record my grateful lists, thoughts and ponderings.

For the pages I used pieces of white and black cardstock and also some offcuts of watercolour paper.  I even have a little pocket on the inside front cover that I have tucked in the printed list for Louise's 30 days of Gratitude. 

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup day and the weather was glorious so I sat outside and doodled on the front cover with my collection of Gelly Roll Pens, my Signo pens and my glitter pens. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon. 

I enjoyed making this one so much that I also made one out of a cereal box. More photos and a info on that in a later post.

So, what is on your Gratitude list today? My 5 things that I am grateful today for are:-

** the sun shining brightly heralding the forthcoming summer months **
** my health **
** my friends who listen to me when I am down and always cheer me up **
** this beautiful land that I live in, the lucky country **
** my family safely tucked in their beds tonight **

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sunday Swoon

Well, it is acutally Monday here but it is still Sunday somewhere so I have just made it into the Sunday Swoon post on Effy's Blog. Each week Effy posts something in her creative world that made her swoon and encourages others to do the same and link to each other so we can share in all that lovely swoonworthyiness (yes, that word is in 'my' dictionary)

My Swoon-worthy moment this past week came from an art class that I taught on Saturday. Here is the original painting

I had a wonderful group of ladies in my class who were all willing to put aside any pre-conceived ideas of where they thought this class was headed and just let go and go with the flow of the journey. Some were seasoned painters, some had been in my art journaling classes for a while but had not tried this style of painting. All were eager to paint and create, and in the end, that is all that matters. A lot of the time we can tie ourselves in knots with the expectations we place on ourselves instead of just surrendering to the process, being open to all and any eventualities.

 I was introduced to this style of painting when I went to a wonderful weekend workshop with Tracy Verdugo over a year ago and she taught me to give in to what my soul wanted to create and step out of my overactive mind controlling the situation. Together with my art journaling, of which Effy is a huge inspiration, it is the most enjoyable way I paint nowadays.

The paints we were using in this class are the new Atelier Free Flow paints. I love them because of their vibrancy, even when dripping and spraying, their consistency and the way they flow. They are my paint of choice and if you want to know more about them or where to get them you can visit the Chroma Australia website here.

Now to why this class this week was so swoon-worthy to me.
Well, quite simply, it was the perfect way to spend the day. I could have sat there long into the night painting and talking.
I love teaching, I love sharing what I have learned, I love the friendships I have made through teaching, I love the friendships that are strengthened through art classes and I love being in a group of like-minded souls creating our little butts off. Hopefully, while doing this, I can inspire others along the way. To see the smile of achievement on someone's face after you have taught them something is one of my greatest sources of joy and I got to see that on Saturday. 

Hope you found something to swoon about in your week


Sunday, 6 October 2013

two in one week!

Well, I don't blog for ages, then I post 2 in one week. One word for that isn't there..... random. Yep that's how I go sometimes and this month has been no different. I am actually sharing this weeks Book of Days spread during this week. I know, shock, horror! I'm also sharing a painting I delivered to it's new home last weekend.
 First the new painting. I was given a colour palette by my client and a general theme of what they wanted and this is the finished canvas. I really love the light airy colours. It was a bigger canvas, measuring 1.8 x 0.6m.. I really loved it and so did it's owner.  I really love painting these long canvases and it has me wanting one in my own house now.

This week for me it was all about being in the moment and finding little Joy Moments each day.
The prompt for this week was to use fabric in our spread. 
I used the Atelier Free Flow paints and I started with a brush blended background of Pthalo Green, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Titanium White.
Then I used one of the new Scrap Fx stamps, Ruffled Feather, with Titanium white and also just spritzed with plain water to create texture in the background.

I always tell my students to save everything in case they can use it in their art journals. I see them roll their eyes, listening to me telling them to save crazy stuff, wondering when they could use 'that' again. Well as I was sitting at my desk I was wondering what sort of fabric I wanted to use, looking around for inspiration and my eyes landed on some scrunched up dried, used baby wipes.
 Well, baby wipes are a type of fabric aren't they, so that is where I started. I decided that I didn't want to rip them up and saw my Big Shot machine sitting idly by, not having been used for a long time, so out it came with some Spellbinders die's. I cut out circles and dragonflies and began my spread.

 We had some lovely sunshine this week so I sat out and doodled around the circles and labeled them with the days of the week.

Of course I used by favourite journaling pen, the White Signo, and the purple Aqualip for the title and some doodling. The Aqualips are fast becoming my go to pens for titles now. They flow so easily and dry with a nice glossy finish.

Each day, at the end of recording that day's happenings, I wrote a Joy moment, one moment from each day that gave me joy. No matter how small there is always something that gives you joy on any given day. It can be as simple as my Monday Joy moment of finally curling up on my bead with a good book after a long day at work. Do you look for joy moments in your day?

Registration for the next session of Book of Days is open on October 15th. Sign up for Effy's newsletter so you don't miss out.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Life is a Precious thing....

Life is Precious
Life is Beautiful
Life is to be Treasured

Life is Short.....

This weeks post is all about life, how you respect it, how you take time to appreciate the little things, how you spend your precious time living the life that you imagined.

My Book Of Days spread is from a couple of weeks ago and had that theme running all the way through it. There ended up being reminders of it every day, a common theme of appreciating life and living it to the fullest and remembering those who are no longer physically with us.

It is a simple spread. The prompt was to paint in journaling blocks for the week ahead, making it super easy to just fill it in as you go. I loved it!
The background is all made up of leftover paint on my palette from another earlier spread and a painting that I had started. Not ever one to waste things, I used it on this spread. All the marks I made were using found objects around my studio like corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap and various pens and paintbrushes. the journaling blocks were first blocked in in Titanium White and then the colour lightly painted over it, mixing in a bit of white and leaving it shabby, doodled around the outside of each block and then filled in each day with a white Signo. Easy peasy.

 On another note, during that week, I flew up to Sydney to teach two classes with these wonderful ladies. On the Saturday I taught my Blue Lotus

and then on the Sunday I taught 2 art journal classes on a canvas board.
I was also able to catch up with one of my dearest friends' on the Saturday night, so it was a really quick but meaningful visit all round. 
This weekend once again reminded me how lucky I am to be able to teach and share what I am most passionate about. It reminded me that when we all share that common passion, great things can be achieved, friendships forged and strengthened and our lives are so enriched by the experience. It reminded me the value of true friendship, the precious time we have with them and how we must vow to make each day precious.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Day 31 - Goodbye Winter...

I made it, 21 posts out of 31, so I missed a few here and there. 
I've really enjoyed this blogalong with Effy, getting to know some more about my blogging friends and challenging myself to blog consistently. I used to blog regularly but found it somewhat overwhelming trying to get around to visit everyone else's blog and leave comments, thinking of things to blog about, and thinking my posts had to be a. funny, b.witty, c.thought provoking or d. spectacular and blingy. It all got a bit too much and i left blogging for a while. When Effy put up this challenge I had second thoughts but decided that I would blog this time because I wanted to, not worried about how many people read it, not writing it to get more followers, not writing it to please someone else, just thoughts for my own memory keeping and if it started a dialogue with others that would be a lovely bonus. What I found was that I was able to write my posts a lot easier than before. The words seemed to flow out of me, no pressure to "perform". My thanks go to Effy for hosting the blogalong and to all those that participated. Even though I haven't visited everyone's blogs yet I will get there. There is just so much goodness to see.

The art journal spread today is another out of my Book of Days and the prompt this week was to use tags. 
This first picture is with the tags closed

This picture is with the tags open and journaled on.

Today is the last day of Winter and the weather is gloriously sunny and mild for a change. I have made no secret of the fact that this winter has really been a struggle for me. I struggle without my daily dose of sunshine, so I sat outside today, listening to the birds, basking in the suns' rays and doodling and writing in my art journal.
Goodbye Winter and hello Spring....


Day 30 - Gratefulness

I try to remember to take a moment each day to recognise what I am grateful for. Each day I try to recognise something that I haven't during that week. Gratefulness is an integral part of my life. For me it is the difference between the glass being half full or half empty. With a daily practice of gratitude, the glass is always half full. Whenever I am faced with a challenge I always look for a positive, no matter how small. It may be that the positive thing out of a situation is that I have learned a valuable lesson. It may be a wonderful new, although scary opportunity opening up. It may be recognising and acknowledging a relationship that soothes my soul.

I have many mantras that I say to myself in any given situation so when people ask for a favourite it is hard for me to pick one. One of my all time favourites is
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" 
This phrase opens up possibilities, it helps me take stock and reframe how I am looking at the situation, how I can turn it into a positive, how i can make something even more. Effy wrote about reframing a while ago. If I can locate it I will update this with a link.

I'll start today with being grateful for belonging to such a great art community, on and offline, for being able to interact with so many wonderful, inspirational people that may never have crossed my path if not for this community and my passion for the creative. They inspire me everyday.

Friendship seems to be the recurring theme of my posts this month.

 Apart from my family, my friends are my lifeblood, they are the rocks in my hard places, they are the glue that binds my worlds together, they are the paint on my page, they are the words in my books I read. They are there in my times of need and they are there for a laugh and a nice relaxing cuppa. They "get" me and they don't judge me. They accept me for me and I am eternally grateful for their presence. I only hope that I am as good a friend to them as they are to me.

Each day, take time to recognise all that you have to be grateful for in that moment. Start with the obvious but try to go a bit deeper, look for things that you hadn't noticed before. See the little things that mean so much, from the clean air that we breathe, to the fresh water coming out of the tap.  Be grateful for the mundane, the routine, the normal. Be grateful for each and every experience you have because they are all a part of the beautiful mosaic that you are.


Friday, 30 August 2013

Day 29 - a recipe and a journal page

Here is the recipe for the Cinnamon Maple Cake that I was talking about yesterday. 

It is a modified version of a recipe that I shared on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. Apart from the amazing taste, I love it because it is Gluten Free, Dairy Free, low sugar and low in carbs. Now how can you go past that one?

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, low carb, low sugar Cinnamon Maple Cake 
(makes 9-12 servings)

2 1/2 cups almond meal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped 
1/2 cup chopped merjool dates
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter , melted ( i find the coconut oil helps keep the slice moist and together more than using butter, and the taste is soooo good)
1/4 cup maple syrup - I used Greens brand as it is the lowest in sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter , melted
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup  chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 160deg C fan forced. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish or pan with butter and lightly dust with almond meal.

To make the cake:

Combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, pecans and dates in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter , maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.  Make a well inside the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined, the batter will be very thick.  Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Using a spatula, gently push the batter into place making it as level as possible.

To make the topping:

Combine cinnamon, butter, maple syrup and pecans or almonds in a bowl.  Spread the topping over the cake batter. 

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick  inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour on a wire rack.  Slice cake into squares and drizzle with Maple Frosting before serving.

This cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  Once you drizzle it, store it in the fridge.

Maple Drizzle:

3/4 cup coconut butter - see below on how to make coconut butter

1/4 cup maple syrup (or more to taste)

1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, almond milk, or coconut milk - i used almond milk because I have it in the fridge anyway.

pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, heat all ingredients over medium-low heat, stir until well combined.  Consistency should be thin enough to drizzle over the coffee cake.

***If you eat dairy and prefer a maple cream cheese drizzle…substitute 4 ounces softened cream cheese for the coconut butter and reduce the heavy cream to 2 Tbsp.-1/4 cup and blend in a small bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.  Again the consistency should be thin enough to drizzle**

Coconut butter

to make coconut butter place 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut(not desiccated) into a food processor. process for about 10-20 minutes stopping now and again to scrape the coconut down into the bowl. after a while it will turn to liquid and will set upon cooling. this quantity makes just over 3/4 cup of coconut butter. 

I'm catching up on my memory keeping in my Book of Days so this is acutally for a couple of weeks ago. It is all about the week that I had no voice. i used Dylusions sprays, paints, crafters workshop stencils, and new foam stamps from Scrap Fx
The week that I was ordered by the doctor to have complete silence started out as a real challenge and a difficult and frustrating week. As the week wore on though, I really started to connect fully with my inner voice. It's funny the different things you notice when you lose one of your major communication tools. It was almost like other things were amplified.
It gave me a good understanding why silent retreats are so popular and it is something that I wouldn't mind repeating on a smaller scale.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Day 28 - Cinnamon maple slice, dry shampoo and books

Some ramblings today about my favourite things. What do cinnamon date and pecan slice, dry shampoo and books have in common, you ask? Well here is a recap of my thought process that brought me here.
I was enjoying another batch of Cinnamon, maple slice that I have been making lately(I'll share the recipe with you tomorrow), while catching up with friends on Facebook.

I came across a post by Mollie talking about dry shampoo.

 Have you tried it? I was given a can a couple of months ago to try, and let me tell you it was a game changer. I love it. I was a bit hesitant, I mean where does the oil go? How does your hair suddenly look and feel shiny and clean when a minute ago it needed a wash? Well this little miracle in a spray can works. You must give it a go!

This post by Mollie and the conversation that went on in the post, reminded me why I adore Mollie.
Now how did I meet Mollie?
Through the world of books.

As well as my passion for art, I am an avid reader, a collector of books. I have a large collection of books both in hard copy and ebook formats, fiction and non-fiction. Some call it an addiction but I like to think of it as expansion of the mind and senses. Years ago when I thought about buying an ereader, I was in a book rut and I was a bit hesitant. I thought, oh no, I cannot go against tradition and buy a book that's not a 'real' book. Well pooh, pooh, to that, how my thoughts have changed. As soon as I had finished my first ebook I was hooked, I was hungry for more.
Through google, facebook and blogs, I discovered the world of indie authors, ie self published, independent authors, book review bloggers and a whole world of ebooks that are not in print form. 
Through this new world of social connection, I was able to interact with people that loved the same books as I did, talk to them about the books, get valued opinions on said books and then share my opinions through online book reviewing.

One such person who has changed the way I look at books and book reviews is Mollie Harper at Tough Critic Book Reviews. She is one of my favourite reviewers, someone I look for when I need an honest reaction to a book that I am looking to read. She does not shy away from telling it like it is with a bit or a lot of humour and fun thrown in to her reviews. Through Mollie, I have been introduced to books that have pushed all my emotional buttons, books that take me out of my comfort zone, and books that I can really 'feel'.

The books that I read may not be your cup of tea but this isn't about that, it is about finding those nuggets of gold and having someone like Mollie to point those nuggets out. Thank you Mollie Harper.

Well, I'm off to make another batch of that yummy slice, because I just have to test it out one more time so I know that the recipe I will be giving you tomorrow is right.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Day 27 - Another art supply you must have, seriously!

 An arty post today about gelli printing

 A link to a you tube video was posted in one of my facebook groups about making your own gelli printing plate. There is one here and here.  It only had 3 ingredients so I thought, well why not give it a go. So I did.
The basic recipe as given by The Frugal Crafter(the first video) is
1 1/2 cups of cold water
1 1/2 cups of glycerine
 6 tablespoons of gelatine
mix together and warm gently in a saucepan till the gelatine is dissolved. At this stage mine still looked cloudy but I didn't want it to harden or go gluggy so I poured it into the tray and skimmed off any air bubbles or white filmy stuff. I just bought a cheap container from the $2 shop that had a lid on it for storing. Just remember to leave it to set with NO lid on or you will get condensation on the top and it will not then be flat to print on. Also, it is winter here so I let it set out of the fridge and it was fine. It easily pops out when set.
As it set it became transparent.Apparently the glycerine stops the mix from going mouldy so it should last a long time.

 I love this part, lifting up the cardstock to reveal what is underneath
 I can see so much potential here
 Look at all those lovely patterns and colours

  I still have to get the right amount of paint on the gelli plate but each print got better and better.

 I can see background papers for art journal spreads, patterned papers for use in cards and bookmarks, great backgrounds for doodles, the list is endless

 these almost look like batik

While it won't replace my usual background making in my journal, I will be playing with this again and using it to compliment my backgrounds. It is so quick and easy that it is a great addition to my art supplies.


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