Bloggy Got Back

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creating a Book a Month : January

This year I thought I might try and create a book a month -- inspired by Jennibellie who made a journal a day in June last year (don't think I could quite match that!) 
I could cheat and say that this was my January one ;-) 
But I didn't actually start it in 2012...and I have started this one in January,
but it's to last me the whole year.
Then I got inspired by a new magazine purchase, and turns out this is my book for January.
The closure on the wrap makes use of the flower created here and the tyvek beads from March last year. Loving that I am using things from my stash :-)
It's an accordian tag book with a garden theme.
The cover is a combination of magazine papers and lovely sari ribbons stitched down with programmed stitches on my sewing machine.
Close-up of accordian pages without the tags
And with tags included
More about the beginning of the process in my previous post, and I will share details of the tags in a later post.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Time

People often ask me how I find the time to create as much as I do.
This turns out to be a long post, but it's something I feel passionately about.
I think the key ingredients to finding time to create are these:
1. You have to have the will to create, and therefore make it a priority. It's easy to think that you'll have time later and then you never get to it - remember Stephen Covey's story of the Big Rocks of life - creative time for me is a big rock! If I don't make the time to be creative most days, I'm not so nice to be around. 
2. Checking blogs, Pinterest, etc can give you a creative jump start, but the computer can easily become a timewaster :  love this reminder from Dirty Footprints Studio  ...but don't leave this blogpost just yet ;-)
3. You need to discover micro-movements. Got this idea from the wonderful SARK. She advocates breaking things down into tiny goals that only last up to 5 minutes....You might think that you would like to create a book, but you haven't enough time in your day to create a whole book! Break the task into much smaller bites...
How this works for me is utilising every spare minute.
Step 1 : just choose which kind of book you want to make (in front of the TV tonight, scan your mag's or books - or have a night off TV and give yourself permission to explore your links on the computer - set a timer!)
Step 2 : Next night, gather together the materials you have
Step 3 : List what you know you need to start
Step 4 : Quick run to the shops if needed - only get what you NEED
Step 5 : Glue some paper down then unload the dishwasher
Step 6 : Stamp some images then do the vacuuming
Step 7 : cut them out and give the kids a snack
Step 8 : add a layer of paint and hang out the washing
Step 9 : check email and a couple of blogs while you have a coffee...realise you have been on the computer for an hour! Think that perhaps you should have this on your computer desktop....(again - don't leave me yet!)
Step 10 : add a layer of spray before you get the washing in
Step 11 : add another layer before you peel the potatoes
Step 12 : check the effect so far and add another layer when you get home from dropping off the kids
Step 13 : think of another idea for a cool project....
email yourself with your ideas and go back to focussing on the original project!
Step 14 : decide you need some ribbon - pull it out before you walk the dog
Step 15 : dye your ribbon and as it starts to dry, thread your machine. Go and prepare dinner
Step 16 : sew the ribbon on and feel happy about how much progress you've made on a project that you only started the week before
I'm sure you get the idea! - and these steps happen over days....And it works just as well for sewing : gather your fabrics, thread your machine, just sew one seam....
The effect of the micro-movements idea is 2-fold. Firstly, 5 minutes here and there can quickly build to 1/2-1 hour in a day, which is 7 hours in a week....Secondly, if I feel in a bit of a creative slump, I can trick myself by saying "I'll only do this for 5 minutes" - often after that 5 minutes, I'm sucked in :-) Once you light the flame, it's going. 
Love what Anne Lamott has to say in this article. My favourite quote : "Can’t they give up the gym once a week and buy two hours’ worth of fresh, delectable moments? (Here they glance at my butt)"
Well done if you made it throught this post!
Hoping you can utilise micro-movements and find some of your own delectable moments this week :-)
PS if you want even more ideas, check out Lesley Riley's 23 Ways to FIT ART into your day - available free from her website or check this book out from your library.
                         

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating

Today is our 20th wedding anniversary
When I count my blessings, I count him twice xx

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blog loves this week

Hope you are having a good week. Next Tuesday our kids will be back at school again....the 6-week summer holidays always seem to speed by faster than the 2-week ones during the year!
Currently inspired by these posts :
Hearts and Butterflies postcard tutorial by Tracie Lyn Huskamp AND she announces a week-long blog hop of Valentine tutorials "Get your HEART on" starting Wednesday....
Jennibellie inspires me so much with her handmade books....she has started posting some video tutorials to make books out of recycled greeting cards. So far Part 1 and Part 2 are up on YouTube. Very cool.
Counting the days like Joanna is for this - have you signed up?
Everyone knows by now about Pinterest....I have resisted for a long time because I feel like I already spend far too much time on the  computer.... recently I found that my artwork -- MY artwork - has been pinned and liked and re-pinned...I am so happy that others like what I do. So then I thought I would join up, and it's been over a week and I still haven't pinned anything...I'm thinking I was right that I don't have the time given all the inspirations I already get to from blogging and flickr. These are a few of my fav flickr pools to regularly check ::
Mosaic Monday
Inspirational Mosaics
Colour mosaics
Hope you find something there to inspire you...talk soon :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Workshop Thursday

I promised I would share about this magazine when it arrived
It is wonderful. Both inspiring to look at, and with practical projects. It's inspired my next project :-)
Love this journal by Christine Plummer and it fits neatly in with wanting to complete a project for my Holey Moley Workshop : Flower Power
This is what I gathered on Thursday
You may recognise the sprayed pages and tags from here and how I made the tyvek beads here. So far I have attached some coloured sheet music for one of the cover layers
and made a start on making some tags from serviettes and other papers...
Will share more soon. Have a lovely weekend - Wellington Anniversary weekend for us so a bonus 3 days with Monday off :-)
Be inspired by the start of Ingrid Dijker's new journal and the lovely book creations of Anni - a new discovery for me   

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Journal

I have finally started some pages in this journal...although nothing on the cover yet...
Explained a little about where I'm going with it here
It's going to be called the Lighten Up journal because they're my words for 2012, and I want a place to work through some ideas around that focus, as well as capturing bits of my life this year.
My pages so far are paint based

and include intentions
the beginnings of my 2012 calendar challenge (check back 1st Feb for more on that)
my prettied-up creative to-do list
It's going to be a good place to play - for the pages below you lay the stencil down on the left (pre-painted) page, spray over, and before you lift the soggy stencil off, fold the opposite page over and brayer the back. Mirror image and you don't waste any spray :-)
Also a good place for me to put wee projects like my Jump Start inspired tags
Will share more as pages progress

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Traci Bautista workshop continues

When we last talked about the Strathmore workshop with Traci Bautista, I had done Week 1, Part 1.
Week 1, Part 2 is doodling on this with markers and pens.
Did some coloured pen work, but the main difference came from using the black and white pens. For the Black I used Faber-Castell PITT artist pen big brush - it's waterproof Indian Ink. The white is an ordinary BIC Wite-Out! You need to squeeze it while you doodle... so much fun. Hard to know when you're done -- I figured I would know when I was finished!
Click on the pic for bigger version
When I wanted to start this piece, I didn't have a large sheet. I used masking tape on the back to join 4 x A4 sheets from a Reeves Water Colour Pad. It was a great surface to work on, and now I'm finished I have taken the 4 pieces apart and can be reinspired to make some projects from the smaller pieces.
Really like how you get a whole different perspective on pieces by turning them.
Check out Roben-Marie's post and video about how she used her art from this course to make cards and journal covers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Temptations.....

I find that in the first week of January, I write a list of what I will do for the year in the way of creative challenges and online courses, and then as the month goes on I see more and more things to tempt me!
In the spirit of Creative Jump Starts here are the most recent things I've fallen for, and some others that I am tempted by ;-)
Have been tempted by this for a while and succumbed to ordering it yesterday...
will share more when it arrives in the post! 
I'm thinking it will be fabulous for giving me ideas for working in this sketchbook (more on that in a later post)
Of course, this sketchbook is also responsible for my second "falling for it"...The above journal is going to be with me for the year, and as part of it I will incorporate Kate Crane's calendar challenge (Loved it in 2011), and my Lighten Up ideas.
I want it to have a painterly (rather than paper based) focus, and when I saw that Joanne Sharp is doing an online lettering class starting in Feb I just couldn't resist!...
I know, another workshop ;-)  But I really think it was serendipitous to find out about the course, and what I learn will add a fabulous dimension to my journal. Looks like she will be heaps of fun.
Joanne has a wonderful blog where she shares lots of inspiring letters & doodles
This is one of the lessons she's shared on her blog : a letter better lesson
Counting the days.....
I also think that if I can fit it in I will do Julie Fei-Fan Balzar's Stencil Course
It's free and you can never have too much learning right? If you clicked on the class link above you will have had to scroll past her Stamp Carving 101 class which launches on Monday...I am tempted but this is bad timing for me - yes, I am drawing a line at this one!
Another temptation that I haven't fallen for yet (but I really love the idea) -- Margaret shared a fabulous new postcard challenge for the year.
I loved these books which is where the concept came from
And then if you watch this video for making a folder for the postcard project.....
Happy weekend. Hope I'm not tempted by anything else!!!!
(PS I think there's something up with blogger with some links to specific posts...you might need to call back if some of these don't work for you today)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Workshop Thursday

In November I declared Thursday would be Workshop day - and I thought it was time to start again in 2012.
I discovered (after everyone else it seems!) Strathmore 2012 Online workshops -- they are FREE! I have joined up to do the first in the series by Traci Bautista whose work I love,
Click on the highlighted text for Traci's website and blog
and whose first book I already own
Click here for a peek inside via Amazon
The classes started at the beginning of January, so I am a little behind, but that just means I can work at my own pace.
Week 1 is Playful Printmaking, and is divided into 2 parts. So these are my efforts for Week 1, Part 1.
First layer = stencilling. Best new idea for me here - cut your own stencils from needlepoint canvas!
Great for texture and also for shapes
- can see they are going to be very useful.
I'm used to laying down my stencils and spraying, so this first part was right in my comfort zone. Used circles from that needlpoint canvas, and also some of my old fav's - paper doilies and letter stencils.
First layer of stencils sprayed over.
Best new learning for me (a duh moment!) was that when you flip the stencil over to get the remaining paint off, roll over the back of it with a brayer.... makes a much better 'reverse' print. 
On the below sheet you can see the reverse of the doilie (top right) brayered lower middle. Also the alpha bottom left, has the reverse brayered top left. A couple of the circles are done like this too.
The nice thing about being in a class (and starting late!) is that you can learn from classmate comments...realised that these shapes needed to stay permanent for the layers (unlike some of the water-soluble inks I am learning to use and blend in Roben-Marie's course) so I used my lovely permanent Golden Airbrush sprays. Here's my finished stencilled layers.
Next was doodling with paint. Because I had used the Golden airbrush colours, I turned to my Golden fluid acrylics next. My first layer of doodles was green which I thought was a bit much (green not being my colour). Happier once that was "toned down" a bit with some purple...purple being very much my colour ;-)
Orange joined the party and this is how I've left the piece for now...
Didn't do a wash in the background yet as Traci suggested - I quite like all that stencil texture. Think I will step away from it overnight and see where the muse takes me tomorrow.
Week 1, Part 2 is doodling on this with markers and pens - looking forward to that.
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