Lost Girl Diaries

Lost Girl Diaries zine

I have written and rewritten this post and it does not seem to do these justice, so bear in mind that they are better than what I am about to say.

I was going to include these in one of the Inspiring me links but it didn’t seem enough. I found Mel when she was still in a drafty garret (:)), some time ago and have quietly stalked her.  I loved her words and her finding her way through the muddle of it all.  She led me to interesting people and connections and discoveries and her honestly in her words spoke to me.

Last year she began doing this zine and I decided to stop just stalking her and to step out a little and it is one of the best things I did last year.  Towards the end of last year I went through a quiet hibernation that involved some regrouping and refocusing, and these brought light into that space for me.

Lost Girl Diaries zine

These are crafted with her heart on the pages,  Her stories (delicious serials that extend over issues and sadden you when they end.  Poetry and invites to write your own poetry and prompts and images to inspire you and make you laugh.

Honestly the joy you feel when you even noticed a personal message to you…

Lost Girl Diaries zine

I am very grateful for them, and for the connection they gave me, to myself and the wider world as well.

They are not light-hearted at the expense of substance and are raw and expressive in all the best of ways.  They are very “old-school zine” in nature, you do feel like you are holding written treasure in a way that is not common in this digital age.  They remind me of how we used to paste together bits and pieces when I was little.

Issue IV  made me sob while I journaled and wrote. I felt some stuff come up!  :) Permission to feel anger and rage is quite transforming when you are not suppressing it.  Though they are not all heavy with thinkings and musings and emotions either, there are wildly deranged and hilarious moments as well.  And little gems like this:

Lost Girl Diaries zine

I can’t say enough how much I love these. I am so grateful that Mel followed her heart’s preference and shared these because they need to be shared.  They are bursting with whispers and giggles and extraordinary activities and dangerous thoughts.  I have a notebook set aside (because I need another excuse for a notebook!) just for the writings that she inspires.

I couldn’t think of a better way to share how much they meant to me without sharing some of the words they have provoked as well.  Raw and unfinished and some make no sense, but they are written down snippets of things that came up while I was reading and responding to prompts and thoughts.

I feel like I need to explain and justify them but I am going to be brave and not do that.  They are my words. Full stop.

For more snippets provided by Mel and for information on the zines full stop you can go here.

Detrius of living

Stories of a life

Remnants of me

 

You are good at words of love

But your love injures

Wounds. Eventually. Always.

 

Forgiveness is hiding

Elusive in the hunt

It sneaks in the dark corners

 

What is real?

You see a me

They see a me

I see a me

 

Summer Tuesday

Sticky Toffee

Cherries on ice

 

If I was nicer

They would like me again

But I wouldn’t

Does it matter?

 

She tried to forget

Because only if she forgot

Could she forgive

But she is an elephant

 

In the darkness and silence

I felt my way

To the edge of myself

So I could find my way

To the centre

 

The last cicada

I notice the silence

When did the hum finish

Autumn is here

One sounds lonely

And knowing

You can see her here talking about behind the zines:


And this helped give me the courage to post my words today:

Inspiring me

Inspiring Me Icon.jpgThis week is a bit different to how I have been doing it.  If you read the blog in the past week or have read my Facebook page in the past week you know I am loving the books by Austin Kleon at the moment.

I have read two of his books in the last week. Steal like an Artist and Show your Work. Oh my gosh.  I wrote copious notes in my planner after reading these books.  I have also had copious thoughts running through my head.  Crystallising what I write about and where.  What do I share.  How do I share it. What do I include?  What do I leave out?

So many thoughts.  SO.MANY.THOUGHTS.

They are not long books, at all. I read both of them in a couple of days but I am still processing them, and still thinking about them.  They are really straight forward plain english speaking reads.  No extra words that are not necessary.  His words that he has therefore pack a bit of a punch.

I did not resonate with all of the bits in the books, but honestly who the heck would??  We are all different and in different places and do different stuff and will all get out different takeaways from what we read.  What I did get out of his books is so much more than enough.  I feel like a light was turned on for me and I got it.

In the way we assimilate information and the way it influences us.  The way we look at influences and the way we are inspired and grow as artists. Also what that says about us as artists or creators and what that says about us.  Allowing another form of connection and another backstory to our work.  How we contribute to growing that influence that inspires us.  What we bring or add to that story.

I feel like I was half way there, floundering in the dark a bit, but all of a sudden a light came on.

The Show your Work book had a similar moment for me.  The front half of the book just turned up the illumination I was already feeling.  I took so many notes from the top half of the book.  All into my planner, sparkling so many ideas and realisations and potential new directions.  I felt really motivated and excited to get started which I realise now may have influenced how I felt about the second half of the book.  Like I was speed reading it so I could get started with the doing.

So I have just decided to reread this book, to see what I missed in my Austin-Kleon-Inspired frenzy. :)  I suspect as I reflect while I write that I did see the last half of the book as an obstacle to get through while I was so inspired to begin.  I really was that excited.

My takeaways from this book were about the actual sharing.  How that is done.  Why you do it.  And the fact that it is not just about me showing you finished products or what I am working on.  It is about letting you see me, letting me add to the story.  Allowing you also to not like me which is a bit scary, especially to a people-pleaser that likes to be liked by everyone.  Keeping it real rather than censoring parts of me that may make you realise I am not for you (and hoping that is not because I am a bad person ~ because that is where my head goes to).  In doing that though I will find the people who really are for me.  Inviting much deeper connections.  Still scary stuff though!

It is not just about posting every day but about the quality of what you are posting.  Not the quality of your work in any sort of judgment frame of mind but in the quality of the connection you make.  It is that missing piece that is so hard to capture.  You can show your work every day but unless you are also connecting (and it is a two way street) then you are missing half of the picture.

Anyway. I am going to stop here. I don’t want you to think that is all the book is about so you don’t have to get it.  It isn’t, I have paraphrased wildly from one section of the book, gotten distracted, and missed out all the really juicy stuff.  I think if you share any work online then you should read this book.  Fullstop.

As a refresher and refiner if you are doing it right and as a light switch if you are half way there and don’t know what the bit is that you are missing but feel you are missing something, or you are not sure where to go.

Also I have now turned into an Austin Kleon stalker and found these which I have also devoured.

 

Here is what has been inspiring me the past week!  :)

My second week of happy

Day 8:

Easter detritus,  good food, good cake, bubbles, good people and a private concert to boot.  #100happydays

We had Easter lunch at the house of one of my closest and dearest friends and this photo caused much mirth for how staged it is, but it is what it is. :) I am a photo stager! I confess.

The bubbles we had bought and had given to us a while ago, but when is ever the right time to justify cracking open those kinds of bubbles, (maybe when my Beloved proposes, but I would probably faint instead and knock myself out!), so I decided to take them with us and that was the perfect choice. My friend had made a Maggie Beer Orchard Cake and it was all kinds of wonderful (she made a perfect lunch full stop but slow roasted beef did not look quite so appealing as the image I was going for!)

I am a wee bit going to chet and include one other photo. This could have been a photo representation of my happy as well.

What perfection looks like.

My friend is what I call a magic maker. She creates magical events that she so generously shares with others. On this night she had arranged for a “private concert” for us. She had organised one for her own Beloved very recently for his birthday, and I had wondered if that would be a bit weird. She had approached this amazing busker musician and he had said yes, and she said it was very not awkward at all.

As a surprise for us she had arranged for him to come back and he brought his backing singer from the band he is in as well and it is very not awkward. It was just magical, and they sung Beatles songs and all other songs of that kind of ilk including one of my favourites:

I also love how this photo shows how awkward my son and her son were, not able to make eye contact before escaping to lego. It was not a normal kind of night in my life (I know…spoiling all my staging), the whole day was memory making and filled with belly laughs and love. A perfect day. Also the Easter Bunny came (not to the dinner I hasten to add…bunnies in costumes was not where she was going and I know she sometimes reads this blog and would be mortified by the suggestion…though I am laughing just at the idea of not clarifying)! :D I am that kind of friend! :)

Day 9:

She just gave me her Easter card she made for us. How I love her!!

Victoria remembered she had made us an Easter card and oh my gosh the cuteness. She was very proud of her sounding out. I was surprised she had sounded out at all but I was a very happy and proud pernet in any event. One of the most loved up pernets for sure. I nearly died at the cuteness.

Day 10:

Creating with Victoria using @gypsy999's creative bingo prompt cards. #100happydays #autumnholidays

We played with Tammy’s Bingo cards as you can see in this separate post. There was a lot of laughter as this turned into quite a competition. I am also pleased to have discovered a perfect activity with Winter coming up.

Day 11:
Children on playdates and enjoying a quiet afternoon of planning, reading and rose & vanilla tea. #100happydays

The Autumn holidays are upon us and I had a joyous afternoon to myself with both of the children on spur of the moment playdates where I read and made notes in my planner and drank tea. The morning had been taken up with children wanting to kill each other and a tired grumpy mother making an appearance, it was nice to enjoy the silence and have a moment to myself. It felt like a self-care luxury (especially because I made no efforts to do the housework that was waiting for just such an opening).

Day 12:

A happy mail day indeed. Perfect timing for restoring my sanity. #100happydays

This little beauty arrived which is a magical publication you can find out about here, I have plans to talk about it this week (in my blog schedule!!!! She says like a grown up.) where I will discuss it’s magical qualities, but I received the latest installment this week and it is just as magical as my other additions. It was a treat to sit down and begin to dive in.

Day 13:
Somewhat ready for the ANZAC day parade.

It was ANZAC day today and the children were in one of the many parades as we remember all those mother’s son’s and daughters who gave their lives for our freedoms. It has felt a lot more poignant since I became a mother and you think how young many of those soliders were. A mother’s heartbreak. I can’t even imagine. It makes me feel all quite teary and not happy. But I am ever grateful.

In the afternoon this happened:
My beloved splitting wood to keep us toasty warm during winter is right up there in happy making for me. #hiskindofromance #100happydays

And I am ever so happy about having so much wood split and ready for Winter. I have a fond dislike of been cold, though I am half hoping for a coldsnap soon so we can have our first fire of the year. I am sure as soon as that arrives I will regret wishing for it!  But this woodpile is all kinds of happy to me as well.  (Cheating again I know with multiple photos)

Day 14:
Receiving a spur of the moment pedicure. #100happydays #gladwedidthisoutside

She offered to give me a pedicure and who am I to turn down such an offer although I did request to go outside in case of spillage. I have the loveliest blue toes (including my nails). :)

I hope you all have a week of happy to celebrate as well.

Possibilities abound as do bunnies.

#weeklyreflections in my #artjournal. Such an important tool in my arsenal.

 

The page this week is on a serviette from our Easter Sunday Lunch.  Our host had saved them from a trip to the USA long ago and they felt like treasure and love, so I made the children share one and stole one to use! :)

So many plans have been made and ideas written down.  Goals and dreams put in the planner and dates put with the goals.  It seems like a whole lot of forward momentum.

It also makes me aware that not so long ago I was procrastinating away my life because I didn’t know where to start.  The realisation that I had already started so I could in fact just jump into the middle is freedom indeed when you are unsure when to jump and where to begin and whether you are doing it right.

Just jump I say.  It has also made me very aware of my own productive cycles.  Clearly Autumn and Winter are my most fertile periods of creativity, even if I just check back through this blog, though I am a lover of Spring and Summer.  My night and day.  I am coming up with deadlines and plans to see me past winter and make sure I don’t meander too far from this path.

I am jumping into the middle and doing at least one thing every day towards my goals. Sometimes much, much more, but one thing every day.  My planner has never been used so well.  I am in it every single day!  I feel like a grown up.  :)

 

Teacup Pincushion Tutorial

This is what you call procrastinating about doing the laundry.

A while ago my dog ate my pincushion (she lived and managed to eat no pins, just my felted glorious handmade pin cushion I bought at a craft fair) and since then my pins have been in a little crockery bowl waiting for me to get another pin cushion and pricking me everytime I needed a pin.  I really wanted one of those tea cup ones because I saw some somewhere, but I hadn’t seen any to buy and I thought that it would be a bit beyond my sewing skills if I am honest, and I am a procrastinator too.

It turns out I can do it, and you surely could as well if I can.  I had my camera out and so I snapped photos while I was making it…because it is not procrastinating if it is for the blog!  HAHAHA (sort off).

While I was in the laundry I noticed in the laundry cupboard a small cup that I was given but had no use for, and so had stored there out of the way.  I had this sudden brainwave it could become THE pincushion in my head and so the laundry was forgotten and I went with my vision as a bit of an experiment to see if it would work. [SPOILER…it did hence you are seeing all these photos!!]

First I grabbed some material. You can’t see it in this photo but it is very cut into, goodness knows what projects I used it for but I figured I had enough for a circle.

Tuorial 1 For the inside you could use some of that soft toy stuff, but I didn’t have any so I used some felting wool that I was not likely to use, and I was wanting to get rid off. Tutorial 2 Also you need a cup. If I had known this was going to work I would have grabbed a prettier cup but I am happyish with it. Tutorial 3 I grabbed a compass and drew a circle that fit the fabric and cut it out…you can see I am not the most precise cutter outer. Tutorial 4 You then grab needle and thread and do what I think is called running stitch. Tutorial 5 You go around the whole edge of the circle: Tutorial 6 You will be pulling either end of the thread to gather it up a bit like this: Tutorial 7 Then you stuff it: Tutorial 8 Pull the threads tight, and like magic you have a little ball. Bear in mind this fabric ball will have to fit inside your cup so take that into account in measuring the circle. Thankfully it is soft so you can jam it in the cup! Tutorial 9 So you are ready to pull the threads, knot it and sew the opening up. However, don’t pull too tight or the thread will break and you will have to resew it: Tutorial 10 When you pull it tight it will look like this: Tutorial 11 But I reiterate…not too tight or this will happen again and you will rethink the whole project: Tutorial 12 Finally I sewed double thread and pulled a bit more gently and I managed to sew it all up without breaking any thread. It was a moment! Tutorial 13 I popped it on top of the cup and you can see the size difference, but don’t panic: Tutorial 14 It is soft, you can squish it in, in fact this will help keep it in there! Tutorial 15 I am relying on the fact I did it too big and it is jammed in quite tight, but in hindsight I could probably have hot glue gunned it in, or maybe superglue. I will see if it moves about or not. Get excited by your pin cushion and stick some pins it. Tutorial 17 Isn’t it pretty. Once the photo shoot is over, you can stick in the rest of the pins!! Tutorial 18 Tutorial 19 So thank you for indulging me and allowing me to avoid my laundry for an extra hour!

I am so excited to have a proper pin cushion and not be too scared to take a pin out of the bowl because another pin is likely to stab me. Also I feel quite clever. :)

If you are in New Zealand or Australia it is ANZAC day.  Lest we forget. I will be up early and at the dawn services to watch the children march in the parade.

Truth card

Here is this weeks Truth card that I am finishing…or rather redoing, because there is not really that much of the old card that remains.

Truth card #4 (Before)

When I drew this card out I was not sure what I was going to do.  I painted out the background with some white and hoped inspiration would hit.

It didn’t.  This is where I am glad to have a blogging schedule of some kind now because it acts like a deadline and forces me to act, when before I may have procrastinated and waited for inspiration to hit (which it may never have done).  So…knowing I had a deadline coming up I knew I had to do something on the card.

While I was reading (and procrastinating a bit more) I had this wave of inspiration.  I had recently seen this video by Tammy, and I had been wanting to try it, so I figured I would do it on the card.  Since my base coat was acrylic paint, I put some clear gesso over it, to give the card some tooth so the watercolour would work, and also to protect the text a bit more so that I could blot it down a bit if I wanted to.

Truth Card #4 (After)
I am not thrilled with my mandala, I want to get better at them, but I am happy with the card, and pushing though one of my previous bad habits.  Structure and routines are leading to much more creativity.

It brings to mind something I read last night.  I have had this book by Austin Kleon on my kindle for a longish while but have not gotten around to reading it.  I began last night, it is a short though punchy read so I am nearly finished.  In one of his chapters, and I had a brief look right now, and I can’t find it immediately so I hope my paraphrasing is roughly correct.

Essentially he said that while blogging and the internet can be about sharing your finished work, it can also be about the process and snippets, and the dots.  And you can let people connect those dots however they please.  That is I think what I want this space to be about.  My dots, and sometimes that will be finished works and sometimes what inspires me, but essentially my dots, and hopefully there is value to another somewhere in how they connect them.

Also that point while mentioned is not what I actually was intending to paraphrase (truly I got a lot out of the book that is busy percolating in my head clearly), but what I wanted to say was that your online space and blog can be motivating in and of itself to our creative work.  It can push you in the need to create to post about it.  To give you something to post.  You can think of our blogs as containers that need to be filled, and the work we do is what we fill it up with and it can inspire and motivate our work, in a big cycle.  This space can act as the motivation for creating work, as the need to finish this card led me to doing a watercolour mandala today when I was absolutely stuck for what to do for a good few days.

Essentially that is what he said…but a lot crisper and better written.  I recommend the book even though I have not yet finished it…in case you were wondering.  :)

 

Bingo, spaceships and tennis

Creating with Victoria using @gypsy999's creative bingo prompt cards. #100happydays #autumnholidays

I have had these journal prompt cards  that Tammy at Daisy Yellow puts out for a while and I have had great plans for them in terms of creating with the children but never quite got there.  With the Autumn holidays upon me I decided to get organised and I made up some bingo tokens.

Bingo tokens

We then pulled a card at random and pulled three tokens out of the bowl.

Oh my goodness, so much fun and really challenging as well. Certainly makes you experiment and put things together that would never normally occur to you. It pushes you out of your comfort zone as you try and work out how these random disparate prompts will work together on one page.

Unfortunately Sebastian was under the weather after needing a tooth removed, but he rallied admirably in spite of it all.

Victoria however was a very eager participant. It did get a bit competitive in the end and there was some copying involved I am going to add, and someone thinks they won…I disagree, but the judge called a tie (which I also disagreed with)?!

For the first attempt we drew: Spaceship, Toy and Tennis.

I just used some watercolour paper I had for these, which I ripped in half. Clearly I had needed some watercolour circles for something because out of one piece there were 4 punched circle holes, I decided to put some tinfoil behind them in light of the spaceship theme.

Someone then copied…not mentioning names. :)

Here is what we ended up with.

Natasha - Daisy Yellow Prompt card(Mine)

Victoria - Daisy Yellow Prompt card (7)(Victoria)

I went with Robots as my toy and Victoria went with toy koalas. The words on mine say “The umpire was not very neutral” which was not so far from the truth in real life either with both sides arguing their position quite strongly!

The second attempt was after Sebastian was back from the dentist, and he participated in this one, before retiring to bed. The prompts were: New York, Wine and Charcoal Grey.

Sebastian is much more subdued with his colour (much preferring to create black and white comics) and a lot more literal. Certainly a whole lot more subdued than his sister!!

Natasha - Daisy Yellow Prompt card(Mine)

Sebastian - Daisy Yellow Prompt card (10)
(Sebastian)

Victoria - Daisy Yellow Prompt card (7)(Victoria)

I love her use of neon and her bold lines.  I am also grateful Sebastian attempted to play along despite how miserable he was feeling.

These cards are such a great idea for creating with children, as well as stretching you out of your comfort zone and giving yourself new challenges. Trying things that you wouldn’t necessarily try or even contemplate putting together as you try and weave together a story or at least some coherence. I really enjoyed them just for myself and my own benefit let alone how great they were to use with Victoria.  They sparked an afternoon of creating and animated discussion.

Also they are so juicy and delicious, using Tammy’s own vibrant artwork as the backgrounds. They are gorgeous and inspiring to hold and just look at and shuffle through and try and work out how the background is made. They are Moo cards so really good quality and I just really recommend them.  A fun addition to one’s creative toolbelt.

Victoria has already sorted out what tokens we are doing tomorrow apparently (more cheating I expect…not that I am the competitive one) as well as the Bingo prompt card we are using, and has just announced to me I will need to buy some more! So very well recommended from these parts from all quarters. :)

To find out more you can click here to go to Tammy’s website, or to her shop where she sells them over here.