The Millenium Postcard Swap: Phase 2 Complete

Back in December I was contacted by Tammy to see if I would be interested in being involved.  I (obviously!!) said yes, and this is my contribution to the Swap.

Tammy has spent a lot of time facilitating the swap, gaining permission, organising people’s themes and layout options and providing information and I would like to just take a moment to say thank you for all the work she has done on this.  It has been so straightforward to participate with instructions and expectations all made clear.  :)

Here is the first post on the project and Tammy has provided links on her initial inspiration (a swap she found facilitated by Tofu).  She has provided more links in her post and you should definitely check them out!!  :)  The other participants in this swap are Hanna Andersson, Karen Isaccson, Roben-Marie Smith and Michelle Remy.

Here is my contribution to the swap:

My card: Theme: Ocean
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Ocean

As sometimes happens, I started painting this strip for another theme, and then it did not go as I saw it in my head, so I decided to just keep on playing and grabbed a few other colours and then I saw the ocean in the colours, and my piece was done!  Completely not my intention but I love the colours.

Tammy’s card: Theme: Happiness
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Happiness

Happiness to me is acrylics and painting, and so I began with that, and then I thought to add in a rainbow, because they are happy making all by themselves.  I wasn’t sure if this was going to make it to Tammy’s card or not, or if it was going to be just some painted paper for my art journal, but when I found that book text I thought it fitted perfectly!  :) (I may or may not have done a little dance of excitement at the perfectness…)

Hanna’s card: Theme Pink
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Pink

I started with my pink dot paper and then added in some paint, and doodled with my neocolors.  I was not loving this and then thought I would grab some other pink paper and punch out some circles and I liked how they looked.  After I added the pen lines and found the book text I felt finished.  :)

Karen’s card: Theme: Orange Monochromatic
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Orange Monochromatic

I started off painting an old recipe book with some different shades of orange.  When I found a section I liked I cut out the shape and then the internal triangles.  I then doodled with my neocolors and woody pencils and added some dots.  I wasn’t loving it however, and then I thought I would have a look through my stash of book text.  I found Hanna’s and Tammy’s book text even though I wasn’t looking, but couldn’t find anything I loved for Karen’s card.

Then I found “erring priest” which intrigued me so I put it aside, in my “maybe pile” and then a few pages later and I found “bawling lustily”.  I loved those two phrases together, they delighted me ridiculously, and they felt orange in some way that I will never be able to explain, so I used them.

Roben-Marie’s card: Theme: Circles, dots and doodles
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Circles, dots and doodles

When I was making my Christmas bunting I painted and doodled on some canvas to cut out my letters for the burlap flags.  I pulled out the piece of material I had left to see if there was a bit that would fit on a little square and work.  I liked the barebones of this piece so cut it out and stuck it on and added on some more doodles and paint.

Michelle’s card: Theme: Wonderland
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Ocean

For this theme I decided to go with creating the feeling of a magical fantasy kind of card.  I smooshed a heavy layer of paint and let that dry.  I then added in some twinkling H2os, and mica pigments and I love how it came out.  It has sunk into the crevices beautifully and glows in person.

Tofu’s card: Theme Trees and leaves:
Millenium Mail Art Swap 2013: Trees and leavesI began this tree and it was going to be a bare winter skeleton tree and then I saw some green gift wrap I saved from my birthday and thought I would cut some leaves from that to glue on.  When I began cutting I realised it was plastic and that it might melt under my heat gun so I try it and it worked!!  I love the texture from the melted plastic, I then added on some acrylic paint and twinkling h2os.

I had so much fun with these cards.  Now all these cards are all packaged up and on the way to Sweden, for Hanna to complete the next phase.  :)

 

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Book Review: The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman

I have been thinking about doing book reviews for ages, I own that many art books, it is insane.  But I have put it off, because some are better than others and I did not want to say things that may offend people after they have invested so much of themselves in writing their book, because after any review is only a reflection of the person reviewing the book.  What I don’t love, may be what you do love.  I have been hesitant.  Also I have read plenty of reviews that aren’t really reviews I don’t think.  Just giving a bland description of the book that actually tells the reader very little.  So I wanted to be more useful than that.  :)

What I have decided on is a section of what I liked about the book and a section on what I didn’t like as much, and then any final comments that I feel like making!!  :)

The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired

by Randel Plowman

In the last wee while I have have read quite a few collage books, a new direction perhaps!  :)

What I liked about the book:

This was a good solid book and there was a lot to like about it.  I preface the review with the fact that I am a painter more than a collager so that is my bias.

There is excellent design and composition information at the front end of the book which is a really useful reference.  I found it really interesting and it was very clearly written and illustrated.

There were 50 prompts to explore as well, and he provides examples of where he went with the prompt.  Many of the prompts I thought were really good and prompts that would be easily translatable to an art journal or an art piece and there were quite a few that I want to explore further.

He also provides some images at the back you can scan and use if you wish, and digital downloads of the images are available at a website he provides.

I think the book is really good in terms of the prompts provided, and would be a good book for many mediums.

What I didn’t like quite so much:
The book did not really explore any new techniques or push the idea of collage to new levels, which may be understandable when all the work featured was his own so would be of the same general style.  It did feel very suited to beginners to collage rather than those wanting to take collage to new level or explore new avenues.

Last thoughts:

I found it a really good introduction book for beginners to collage, and it was not intimidating at all. He gives a good overview on the materials you require and getting started.  I am glad it was the first one I read, and I recommend it for the prompts if you are a prompty person and there were quite a few new prompts that I hadn’t seen before and you could taken them in all sorts of directions to inspire your work.

At the end of the day, the by-line of the book is how to get started and stay inspired and I think the book achieves both those objectives.  :)

Saying goodbye to ‘Open’ and introducing ‘Connections’.

Ascension

I have had a word of the year for the last few years.  Words that have come to me quite organically, while I was reading something or writing and the word of the year would appear for me.  Transform, or Bravery or Open.

The words really do seem to lead me on a journey.  They do become guiding words, and seem to dictate their own journeys, wholly independent of any expectations of what I think the word may mean.

At the start of last year when thinking about “open” I had no idea what that was going to mean.  I had some grandioise ideas about opening up on this blog, opening up doors, new opportunites and pathways, being open to new things and opening myself up.  I had no idea of the extent of the opening that would take place.  None.

Where entire relationships I have with my some members of my family of origin were opened up, and some unhealthy relationships were excised as it felt like I was opened and excavated.  Where I got to reassess the truth of some of my relationships, re-evaluate what they meant and what my own boundaries are going forward.  Where I thought relationships were one thing and with the benefit of some light shining and truth I saw them for what they were, and the people for who they really are as well.

A big year you could say.  And while new things did open up for me, think interview with Tammy…oh my gosh, how honoured I was.  And guest posts and conversations that thrilled me.  Meeting someone I had “met” online in real life.  The joy of connection and being open to new connections.

So “open” was a big word for me, much bigger than I had ever imagined.  As always happens though, on the other side I do feel that all of it was the best thing in the world to have happened.  There is such a peace in my life right now and I am so grateful to have it.  And grateful that the things that needed to go went as well, as much as that was hard at the time.  Heartbreakingly, sobbingly hard sometimes.

I have had a hard time finding a word for this year.  I journalled, and thought and contemplated.  Over and over.  But no word fell out at me.  No word “felt” right.  Then January 1 was upon us and I still had no word.  So I stopped fretting and decided to stop actively looking and wondering about it and let it make itself known sometime in January.  And then while I was journaling about my intentions and dreams and wishes for this year, I wrote the line “My word for this year is CONNECTION”.  Out of no where and in the middle of journaling about something else entirely.

But it felt right.  After all the opening I had done of my life and myself last year, making connections seems the next logical step.  Making connections to myself, and with others, and in a business/career context.  Connecting here.  Connecting elsewhere.  Making connections.  Celebrating connection.

And just like that I had a word for this year.  A word that excited me and seemed full of power.  I also felt the irony when all the computers in this house went down within the space of a couple of days, and I lost a lot of information when my computer had to be restored to factory settings. I felt the very opposite of connected!! :)

I look forward to the journey this new word takes me on this year and the new adventures that await.  :)

Christmas magic

Christmas has come and gone in a blur of magic this year.

For the past couple of years I have spoken about knitting 24 tiny socks with a different advent activity in each one for the children to do each day.  Last year I actually bought the wool.  Though I did not begin knitting until September.  I tried a few different patterns and came up with a mish mash pattern that I liked.

By the start of December I did not have 24.  And a part of me wondered if I should just start it next year, but I decided to carry on knitting and start with what I had, even if it was imperfect.  And so I did.

Day one: write Father Christmas a letter. I love the way this advent calendar looks on the wall and I can hardly wait for the children to see what activity they are doing each day!!

And so we began. By writing Santa letters and putting up the Christmas tree and making Christmas wreaths.

Felting the wool.

One more felted candy cane for the tree.

The wreath the children made for the front door as one of their advent activities.

Making wrapping paper…

I have made some quick stamps so the children can make me some patterned Christmas wrapping paper. #todaysadventactivity

He is enjoying the pattern making while stamping my wrapping paper!

Making more tree decorations…

A paper clay production line, some for gifts, some for our tree.

A working crew of elves...

And eventually all the socks were complete (though I am unhappy with some of the early ones and the patterns I used so they will be replaced by next year!).

Also underneath is our new birthday countdown calendar that I made from this tutorial. My beloved’s birthday is a week before Christmas and I wanted to do something different to make it not swallowed up by the rest of our Christmas preparations. Also, putting the birthday countdown calendar up before each of our birthday’s will be a fun new family tradition I hope. I generally only allow peppermint candy canes into the house, because all the others don’t seem Christmas-sy enough. But for the birthday countdown calendar I got him fruit candy canes because he likes them and made comment a few times about my candy cane policy (I may or may not be completely obsessive compulsive in some of my Christmas ideas!! :)).

They had photos with Santa:

Getting set up.

Saw giant gingerbread houses:

A giant gingerbread house.

The side view of the giant gingerbread house.

Saw Christmas lights:
Magical.

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From inside the tree.

Making gingerbread men and biscuits…

Boy child's efforts about to go into the oven.

Girl child is making families. :)

And making and decorating a gingerbread house…

Gingerbread house decorating has begun.

The gingerbread house has been declared finished.

The back end. #magicalmemorymaking

Not all of the activities came off how I saw them in my head, and some we won’t need to repeat, but there were some that were favourites and will make a reappearance. This was the best Christmas I can remember. It acted like a to-do list, and while I always intend to do a tonne of activities sometimes they get swept up in all the other end of year activities. And because I had made activities like writing Christmas cards an early activity there was much less last minute stress than normal.

Also I scheduled in some easy activities such as magic Christmas hot chocolates (AKA hot chocolates with a candy cane) and listening to carols, or watching a Christmas movie, and there were some days I was not up to the activity I had scheduled (or other plans came up that I had forgotten about!) so I did some swapping around. But overall, despite the teasing of my beloved, I think this may have been the best thing I have ever done for Christmas. I already have had some ideas for Christmas activities next year that I have begun noting down.

And I love that this made Christmas about so much more than just getting or receiving gifts. I have ALWAYS loved the magic of Christmas. And this really reaffirmed the magic for my little family. And the mini socks were so happy making for me, just looking at them brought a smile to my face (once they were actually done!!!!!).

I hope all of you had a magical love-filled Christmas as well. My thoughts were with you all, even if no blog posts got written. I had good intentions but a lot of my energy got diverted to the Christmas experience!! haha

Though I did still art journal. So I have some pages to show as well, but this post is long enough as it is!!