Come in…

I was asked to participate in a virtual blog tour by the wildly spirit-inspiring Cynthia who I met online while doing Big with Connie Hozvicka.  I was then asked again for the same day by the multi-talented Jeanie who I met while doing Deep with the same Connie Hozvicka

So, here I am inviting you in to my little virtual tour behind the scenes in my own messy creative life.

I will admit I did get a little nervous at the questions (do I even have a genre…it seems like such a grown up question!). But here are my answers as best as I can give them right now.

The questions were:

  1. What am I working on?  
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?
  4. How does your writing/creating process work?

So without any further rambling, here are my answers :)

What am I working on?

I wish this was only one thing, how much easier this answer would be but I have so many balls in the air right now.  I have some non-creative work that I am working on and is demanding a fair bit of my time at the moment.  As well as that, I am behind on a few online courses that I am trying to catch up on.

I am trying to teach myself to paint with a palette knife. Trying been the operative word:

Palette knife wip

I have been busy with making postcards:

Mail art wip

Playing with charcoal:

Charcoal sketch

Reflecting, planning and organising in relation to how to achieve my creative goals:

Planner reflection

Using up my postcard scraps on an idea for another piece:

Art piece wip

Reading my bookclub book and trying to develop an online course on tarot cards that I have had a brainwave on.

Planning an ebook on texture making…

In fact writing all this has made me realise why I feel so scattered and all over the place right now. Because I am! There is a lot spread out over my table at the moment, literally so I am going to need to pare back and refocus.  I will put that on my to-do list. :)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Honestly…what is the genre? Creating in general??  This is the question that scared me.  What I would hope is that what makes all my stuff different is me.  I made them, and I could go through all the guff about been raw, expressive, and intuitive, and heart-centered, and self-aware, but really, to keep it all real, what makes it all different from anyone else’s stuff is that I made it, as opposed to them making their stuff.  That feels like a lazy answer though, but the more I have pondered it, the more I come back to the fact that my work is different from the work of anyone else because I did it.

Why do I create what I do?

That is how I play and practice self-care, how I process things that are going on for me and really because at the end of the day it keeps me sane and I think it makes me a better person to be around.  And I want to.  I create what I do because that is what I have been inspired to create as I have been inspired or intrigued by what I find down the rabbit hole.

How does my creative process work?

Morning pages for the organisation of thoughts and flashes of inspiration (though at the moment it is honestly more sporadic than it should be…if I am confessing to the truth though it is at least four times a week), lists and routines support the creative work to actually happen and make it a priority in amongst everything else, and then doing the work, because nothing else gets it done other than pulling out what you need and actually doing it, as opposed to thinking about doing it or writing about doing it.

I have a creative to-do list and if I am stuck (not that I can remember that happening any time lately) I could find something on there to do, or I have an ideas and planning book and sometimes I just go through my sketchbook and see something I wanted to play with a bit more.

Where the inspiration comes from is infinite, but the actual process is really just the doing.  Ideas can hit me anywhere, in the shower or out on a walk, in my morning pages or my idea and inspiration journal.  But the idea is only part of it.  The other is always the doing.

Taking action, starting, pulling out the paints or the charcoal or whatever it is I need and doing it.  In whatever time I have available, hence the organising and scheduling is a big part of my process as well, and deadlines.  I work well to deadlines even if I am the only one making them up and enforcing them.

And that is all really.

Three people will continue the tour on their blogs next Monday:

Wendy has been messing around with something ‘arty’ since childhood, has always been able to squeeze in time to explore some new creative venture, but still hasn’t managed to settle on one thing . . . she’s not unhappy at the prospect of remaining a mucker for life, living on a beach on the wildish west coast of the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand. You can find her at Late Start Studio.

Patricia Dattoma is on a creative journey to find & explore her own voice as an artist,  after many years of teaching art to young teens in inner NYC. She is inspired by the grittiness of NYC (her hometown)& her love of the American Southwest. She believes in the power of creating something everyday. You  can find her at Magenta Matters.

Carmen is a mixed media, colour loving, illustrative, arting, zombie loving creative in the UK who inspires me on my own creative journey.  She is busy in the thick of life but is always supportive and finds time to work on so many swaps and collaborations, I don’t know how she manages it all. You can find her at Whoopidoings.




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.

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)

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.

A call out for Soul Clippings

So…I saw this call over here for 5 words that describe you cut out of a magazine and send them to Vinny for an art project she has in mind.  It is one of my goals for the year to work on some collaborations (and I am saying this counts!) so I am in.  

I will be interested to see what words other people find and choose that describe them.

Here are my final five that I decided on.

Five words cut from a magazine to describe me.I pulled out a few magazines and just ripped out potentials.  Once I had gone through them I went through and made my final selection.

Go on…join in the collaboration as well! :)  It will be fun.  I can hardly wait to see what she does with them all.


Creativity Challenge 2014

While catching up at Carmen’s blog recently I saw that she was doing this Creativity Challenge.  While she was doing it at the start of the year, I thought anytime was the right time to have a quick kickstart, so I went over and signed up.  :)

It was good to have daily challenges and be focussed on creativity.  The challenges were also not overly involved so quite easily achievable and I did indeed feel like I had had a quick kick to the creative behind.

I had been meaning to do this one for a little while, a combination of my word of the year and also the best word I could come up with to describe my creative intention.  I have been a little bit hesitant to mention my word of the year because I was worried that as soon as I announced it I would then send myself into a self-sabotaging sticky funk, but I am in the process of breaking new patterns, not reinforcing them so without further ado…my word of the year is abundance.

So scary.  My previous words have been (in their order I think): Transform, Bravery, Open, Connections and now Abundant.  All such a progressive flow to them.  But all have been quite big words and had much bigger implications than I could ever have imagined.  I expect Abundance will as well and that scares me as well as excites me.  But it seems like quite a positive word with positive connotations, marking an upward transition out of the darkness, so the fact that that word came into my life really pleases me on a number of levels.

Anyway, so here is my word in my art journal…

Creativity Challenge 2014 #1

My creative to-do list was a joy to do. It was a good chance to remember everything that I wanted to do, and certainly an excuse to never be bored. :)

No time to be bored!! :) #creativitychallenge14

I am also quite certain it will get added to as and before other things are crossed off.

I decluttered three shoeboxes of ephemera and scraps, some of which date back to 2009.  I kept enough to fit into a single file but figured anymore was madness.  I never went into the shoeboxes generally anyway. They were full to overflowing and taking the lid off caused more mess than I desired in wanting one particular scrap.

I always have stuff around that I can use and there is a trust required in abundance and knowing I will have what I need when I need it.  This has worked out really well and I am actively using the bits I have kept.

Braving my boxed collection of scraps and tossing what I don't need. #ruthlessandproductive #creativitychallenge14

Thinking about beginnings I worked on this journal page:


Here is a close up so you can read the words.

Beginnings close up

It felt significant. There is a feeling at the moment that I have of hope. And joy but hope that things are getting better and I am definitely more happy and not procrastinating my days away. Finding these words at the time I was working on this page felt like one of those shifts we sometimes feel. :)

Next came an artist date to the local gallery The Dowse. I did this on a day which had not started well with the children, and in between parent help on road patrol and parent help with the little kids and their reading I took a deep breath and went to the art gallery. I don’t know why I don’t pop in more. It is so close and accessible.

It doesn’t need to be a huge period of time, especially if you are popping in often. And it really did give me a fresh burst of inspiration and reset my whole day. I loved it. The exhibits were also really good. Just that little bit of self care was really uplifting and changed the slant I had tainted my day with (though I stayed longer than I was going to and missed out on my coffee I was also desperately needing, but I survived!! :))

Creativity Challenge 2014 Museum Visit

Here is a shot I took to show my creative process:

My process

And finally some words…Why I love what I do? Because of that juicy moment of clarity when you suddenly see a way forward in a project.

At the moment while I was considering what I would write I was looking at one of my WIPs and suddenly saw a figure which excited me.  Those moments where you feel completely in the zone of all creative forces, that is what juices me up.

I wholeheartedly recommend signing up and I am grateful to Carmen for mentioning it.  It was a twitter based challenge which intrigued me and also made it feel more manageable (because 140 characters?!) but I thought I would share here as well.

If you decide to do it, please let me know!  I would love to see your creative story. :)

Rocking moments

RYWLinking up over at Virginia’s as I record the moments that rocked this week

The biggest thing that rocked my world this week was a 6.5 earthquake (hahahaha), thankfully the aftershocks have dropped to only the one or two that we can feel each day and I am studiously avoiding the website that will tell me how many aftershocks we are actually having for the sake of my anxiety and so I don’t become addicted to red wine!!  :)  Also thankfully we had only a little bit of damage.

I won a spot on Nataša May’s art workshop Cotton Candy Girls which was very thrilling and I am looking forward to it!

Also Pixie Campbell’s Visual Quest workshop is opening very soon and I am most excited to be able to participating. It has been on my wish list all year so I am thrilled to bits that the start date is nearly here!!

I am grateful for ICAD, and so pleased that Victoria and I are up to date and on target to finishing this week (post coming up later today when I have taken and processed photos!!).

It is winter holidays over here, and we have had an awful amount of sun and even been hanging about in t-shirts and shorts.  It helps my sanity greatly to be able send children outside to kill each other where I can’t hear them.  We have also had an extra two boys for three days, so the good weather where three boys can go outside and make as much noise as they want makes me very grateful.

We have also had some crafty days (possibly more than just some!!)…

Craft central around here today...

We have also made playdough…

Keeping her handbag close just in case!?

I am also grateful for art mail making it’s way to my mail box courtesy of Jana at Tangled Pen.

Mail art makes me very happy!

I have thought her birds were amazing since I first saw them and I was so excited when I found one in my envelope.

I HAVE FINISHED THE ARTIST’S WAY AT LONG LAST!!!! I have been trying to finish this book for years and years and years. Even joined an online group last year and I just couldn’t do it, but I have done it this year thanks to making my blog hold me accountable and I am so excited by not only that I have finished (and that would have been enough considering how many times I tried to do this!), but also how much I got out of it.

I am also grateful for my online connections and the lovely comments and motivation I get from all of you. I feel blessed for the support and that I have people who see me in this way.

I am grateful that with some challenges and deadlines coming to an end I will have more time to get to the things I have been neglecting and feeling bad about…bonus time!

I am grateful for my beloved who opened the red wine last Sunday and indulged my high anxiety for the most part, as I did things like fill the bath tub with water in case we had the big one and we had no access to water. Also to my dearest snorting sniggering Wellington-based friends…I would probably still share with you LISA!! Maybe… :)

Sebastian is turning 10 next week, so this is my last week of him being in single digits as he keeps reminding me. It is hard to believe that I have been a mother for a decade (it has gone so fast) and at the same time, being a mother for only a decade, it feels like forever, most of the time in the best of ways! :D

And that is me for this week. I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend. :)

Rocking moments galore

RYWI am linking up with Virginia and the girls to record my rocking moments.  Again, at the expense of being a joy-hog there was a lot of joy to be thankful for around here this week!

First of all, (and most excitingly!!!!!!!!!!) I was PUBLISHED!!!!  In Altered Arts Magazine.  Oh my gosh.  I was approached a little while ago and understood it was part of a gallery of other artists (which I was still very excited about), but when I checked out the magazine the other day I didn’t see my work in the gallery of artists,  and thought I was sent a copy of the magazine as a consolation. I double checked to see if there were any other artist gallery sections and I saw my name was ACTUALLY listed in  the contents!!!!  I behaved completely unprofessionally but joy-filled for the new couple of days.  In fact even now I feel a tingle of excitement in my belly still.  :D

I would like to celebrate Mother Nature who overall is making this a mild winter.  We are in t-shirts and soaking up the sun.  GLORIOUS weather, and I am especially grateful since it is the winter school holidays here so children have spent a lot of time outside playing (sometimes more nicely than at other times!).

The children for mostly not killing each other this week, though we have had some moments where I have wondered if any of us would survive with sanity intact.

Summer of Color over at Kristin’s has been such a fun way to connect with other people and challenge myself to use colours that I would not have otherwise have chosen (especially this week’s colours that have been a struggle).

I am beyond grateful for all the lovely sweet comments that were made at my excited squealing about being published here and on facebook.  I am so grateful that people were patient enough to celebrate with me, and patiently put up with my jazz hand madness. (Feel sorry for my poor family who can’t just turn off the computer and escape my madness!)

I finally finished the first scarf I have ever knitted on circular needles. In the past I have struggled with knitting on circular needles (which now seems embarrassingly easy), and I love this scarf! It is slightly more turquoise green than is shown on this photo.  The pattern is also super easy, and very addictive.  I also had a yarn problem (on the very last row when I was casting off!), wherein I ran out and the shop I used to go to had sold out, and I was most pleased at the FAST service I got from Great Southern Yarns (for those that live in New Zealand!).

My new scarf is finished. First time knitting successfully on circular needles!

Robot construction has been undertaken this week and I am grateful for my hoardings of cereal boxes and art supplies, also the fantastic weather that allowed painting to happen outside.

Robot construction is underway. :)

Robots are coming to life and children are both engaged and not fighting which is even more important! :)

Rainbow robot.

The never-ending hopscotch game was undertaken. She finally got up to over 150 though some of the squares were only big enough for tip toes.

Worlds longest game of hopscotch!

The longest game of hopscotch.   She is aiming for 100... #wondersifthepathislongenough

I got to soak him in as he went for a nap, he is ten in a couple of weeks, I don’t know where the time has gone, it is hard to believe he made me a mother a decade ago.

Master nearly 10 having a rare nap...sometimes it is much easier to see the little boy in him...

I also got to marvel at his art. He is into comics big time and I love seeing his work develop.

Taking a peek at boy-child's sketchbook while he has a break...Creatively I am loving that Victoria and I are still both doing our index cards and I love our collections!  The daily creativity sparks so many new ideas I am very grateful.

As ever I am grateful for my beloved who is incredibly funny and sexy to boot! :) (I don’t think he reads this blog, but just in case, it never hurts to earn some more brownie points!!)

I hope you all have a most fantabulous weekend, filled with sun and love.  :)