Monday, 31 December 2012

SDC80: Out With The Old, In With The New

'Brave Girl'

Stampotique Designers current Challenge (#80) is Out With The Old, In With The New.  It's the last day of 2012 and I've been reflecting on this past year, so full of blessings and so full of struggles.  'Brave Girl' has been my catch-phrase for the year (yes, I most likely caught the phrase from Kelly Rae Roberts) and so I wanted to create a keepsake in celebration of doing just that, being brave and overcoming many of my fears.  This piece has been pretty much created from my collection of scraps.  The only things that are new are the white flowers in the bride's bouquet and the one in her hair.  I got a little 'brave' today and had a go at creating the two characters in this piece, the girl and the owl... drawing is a little out of my comfort zone, which is why I love stamps so much - especially this Stampotique tree!

Right at the start of this year I was in the midst of making one of the biggest decisions of my life, Joel had unexpectedly proposed in early December and I had yet to give him an answer (I made him wait about 5 weeks in the end)!  Yes, he can be quite a patient man!

I knew for me to say yes, I would need to be 'brave'... maybe it sounds funny to you, but being the age I was, having never married before, knowing that my life would never quite be the same, and not really having expected this possible change of marital status (I had pretty much resolved myself to the fact that I was going to remain single for the rest of my life) I was going to need to be 'brave' in trusting Joel and to be 'brave' enough to give myself to someone in a way I had never done before.  

Being a 'Brave Girl' kept ringing in my heart right the year through... I've had to face and deal with a number of huge fears this year... which to many would seem totally insignificant, but to me, they have been momentous.  I know that my faith in God, the encouragement of Joel and other close family/friends has enabled me to be brave and conquer fear, and for this I am very thankful!  What a blessing!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

PDCC162 - Happy HAPPY New Year!

It's been so long since I've been able to have fun with everyone at The Play Date Cafe.  Challenge #162 is inspired by the picture below - the challenge was to create something using the following colours:  


As I didn't get to 'play' with this challenge until after Christmas, thoughts of the New Year were my inspiration and starting point.  The cute 'star of the show' is from Stampington and the words are a combination of Making Memories and Hero Arts.  I stitched and beaded some extra stars into the background and wanted to approach this piece in a playful way... playful may be my 'word' for 2013, especially with my creative work.  I can tend towards being too serious and I can find myself losing the sense of fun during the creative process.  So next year I'm going to aim to be more playful in the way I approach not just my art, but life in general.  

This piece is created on a seed packet, so there's a pocket to hide dreams/goals/secrets for the year too. Actually, I already have a big secret that I'm keeping and will be able to share it with you very soon!

Here's to a very Happy, HAPPY New Year to You!  Yes, I'm just a little early - makes a nice change, eh!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

There's Never Enough Time...

to do all the nothing you want.  Bill Watterson

This quote is ringing so true to me at the moment... my long service leave is coming to a rapid end and I know it sounds very self indulgent, but I still don't feel like I've had enough time to 'do a whole lot of nothing'!

My LSL has been action packed and I wouldn't change a minute of it  - except perhaps for the virus that I've had for the past two months that has forced me to 'do a whole lot of nothing' for quite a bit - mind you is was pretty frustrating to not get to choose when you do a whole lot of nothing.  The greatest discovery through being quite unwell for an extended period of time was finding out just how caring and supportive my beloved is!  He has been truly wonderful through this mysterious illness.  By the way, I'm well on the mend now and feeling very thankful for my return to good health!

Anyway, this ATC was another Darkroom Door ATC swap from a while back.  I really love beachcombing and totally enjoyed working on this ATC!  I even remembered how to do a reef knot (at least that's what I think it's called) from my Brownie days!  

Joel and I got to the beach around 7.30 am this morning for an early morning dip (our first swim in our hometown together).  We enjoyed it so much that we plan to be there early tomorrow too.  It's such a fabulous way to start the day when the summer days are a little too warm for my liking.

Friday, 28 December 2012


I've been admiring paper dresses made by Ruth Rae and Colette Copeland for quite some time and have been yearning to make one myself... I've hesitated to attempt one as I was worried that mine would look just like their's!  And yes, perhaps their influence is obvious, but I hope there's a unique touch to it that's more from myself than from them.  I guess the more I explore the possibilities, the more I'll make the dresses in my own style (whatever that is)... and anyway, it's the perfect excuse the keep playing and exploring paper dress making!!!

This morning I looked at a little pile of left-overs from an earlier project I was working on this week and thought the handmade flowers would look rather sweet on a paper skirt.  The dress kinda grew from there.  I'm also in the middle of a love affair with brown paper and I'm thankful that I've kept a vast amount of it tucked away from parcels received in the post!  There's so much of it available to me right now that it seems to give me freedom to create... if I mess one piece of paper up, there's plenty more where it came from!

The best thing about this dress is the message, 'Simplicity'... I'll be hanging this in my studio as a reminder - the simple things in life are often the best!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Old World - French Pattern

'French Pattern'

Here's another postcard created for our little swap group this year.  The theme was 'Old World' and Oxford Impressions Regency Fashion plate was definitely the starting point for this piece.  The elegance of this era of fashion is stunning and pretty perfect if you get to sit around the home for most of the day reading, playing the piano, embroidering or sharing in a pot of tea!  

Gosh, doing all of the above in your pj's isn't quite the same, is it?!  

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Sew Cute!

Happy Boxing Day to one and all!  

Are you having a relaxing day today?  An artful creative one?  I'm hoping to spend some time in the 'studio' today... but first I'm going to have to pick-up the pieces and have a big tidy up - all the Christmas creating has left it in an unworkable state.

The 'Sew Cute' postcard was created for our November exchange.  I was just starting to attempt free-motion stitching again, after not doing it for so long and it was a bit of a disaster!  The most disastrous bits are hidden away or mended with double sided tape at the back!  I had forgotten how to set my machine up for free-motion sewing, but since then have had a refresher lesson from my dear 'Mummy Gayle'.  Now it's 'sew' much easier!!!

Have a great day, what ever you get up to!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Pocketful of Joy

Wishing you a 'pocketful of joy' and a very happy Christmas Day!  

I had the most amazing surprise when I finally got to looking at The Stampers' Sampler Autumn, 2012 issue and found this two page spread of my Christmas pockets!  

Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, 24 December 2012

'Merry' Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve to you!  How are you going?  Are you ready for Christmas Day?  I wonder how Father Christmas is going???  He's got so much more to organise than we do!

'Merry' is an ATC I created last year for November's Darkroom Door ATC swap.  I managed to participate in most, if not all the ATC exchanges for the entire year!  And it was so much fun to receive ATC's from many talented artists.  Rachel always pops in some Darkroom Door surprises when she returns the swapped ATC's too - how fabulous!  I've missed not being a part of the swaps this year (I have managed to make them for December) and hope to get back into it in 2013.

Anyway, I do hope this day is not stressed filled, but rather happy and merry as you begin to spend special time with your family and friends.

Christmas blessings to you!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Peace On Earth

We all dream of this... peace on earth, yet it seems an impossible dream this side of heaven.  However, my prayer for you this Christmas is this, that there may be peace in you home and peace in your heart.

I've been playing in my 'studio' since the wee hours... first I made the Father Christmas inchie (as I thought I'd do something quick and easy!).  Well inchies can be rather addictive, as they usually come together in a relatively short amount of time.  Four inchies later and a torn up envelope for the background and I've made myself a lovely little Christmas hanging.  I'm keeping this one, it's my first Christmas with my beloved and this is a little keepsake in celebration of such a God-especially-blessed year!  I'm really excited to not be waking up to Christmas Day all on my own and having someone so dear to me to share it with.

All the sweet images are by ARTchix Studios and the background stamps are from Stampington.  The gorgeously, stunning laces were purchased on my recent trip to Melbourne... I just love them!!!

Saturday, 22 December 2012


With only two days left 'til Christmas, it could be easy to find yourself in a state of panic over everything that is still left to do!  I procrastinated for most of the day and still haven't got to the gift wrapping, tag making (the list could go on and on)... but I did manage to make this little moo tonight (papers & stamps are by Kaiser Craft; sentiment is ARTchix) and as I reflect on the message it brings, 'peace'... I'm reminded what Christmas is all about - Jesus, the Saviour.  He brings peace that is beyond all understanding!

Peace be with you!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Frosty The Snowman

My Dad has always wanted to experience a white Christmas, just once in his life time and hopefully his dream will come true!  Dad tells me that my Mum thought he was crazy, having herself lived in Ireland during her childhood and experiencing the freezing cold, slushy winters, she never wanted to experience another white Christmas - ever.

The closest we can get to a white Christmas in our part of the world is to go down to a white sandy beach and cool down from the heat of summer in the icy cold ocean!  Sadly though, it's near impossible to build a snowman in those conditions, so I too would love to experience a white Christmas one day too!

'Frosty' isn't a new creation, I made him last year for a postcard swap, but I thought I'd share him with you here today, as I've yet to create anything new today.  Instead I've wrapped the first of the Christmas presents, done some more Christmas shopping and had the most delightful time catching up with some precious family and friends.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Moo-Mania - Christmas

I've been attempting to create off and on all day and I have to tell you it was a struggle.  Nothing was coming together.  I went off and had a little nap and when I came back to the 'studio' I remembered that I had stumbled upon a challenge site today, Moo- Mania.  I checked out their latest theme, which is 'Christmas' and had a little play (I'm on a time limit as we're heading out for dinner shortly).  I haven't made a 'moo' for quite some time - it was so much fun!  They're pretty small (1 1/8" x 2 3/4"), so generally they come together quickly!

How do you overcome artist block?  Any great tips would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Joy to the World...

the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!

Inspiration Emporium's challenge for December is 'Joyful Creations'.  When I saw this, I just knew I had to join in on the fun.  (Did you know that my middle name is Joy?)  I've been hoping to create a few handmade ornaments for my friends this Christmas, so this challenge has got me heading in the right direction.

I can't help but reflect the joy Mary must have felt at the birth of Jesus... in our family we are currently experiencing the double joy of twins, identical twins... our nieces Macy and Keely bring much joy to us all.  Here's a snapshot of my Joel, with one of our beloved nieces and she's experiencing the joy of opening presents!  Think she thought that the paper was the best bit - a girl after my own heart!

The lovely 'Mother & Child' image is from ARTchix Studio.

May you have a joy-filled Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Shades of White - Collage Obsession

'Shades of White' is the challenge over at Collage Obsession this week.  I've spent quite a chunk of the day sorting through the studio and then I had a couple of appointments during the day... time was rapidly disappearing for a little creativity... 'Shades of White' was just the prompt to get me focused and since I've done absolutely no decorating, no creating, no gift wrapping for Christmas, I thought it might be time to start exploring some ideas!

A number of embellishments on this piece come from my recent travels to Melbourne and Tasmania.  The stamped images are all by Stampington and the words are ARTchix.  The beautiful beaded tulle are from some left over pieces from my wedding gown!

As we draw closer to the day, when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour, I can't help but reflect upon how much we need Peace on Earth, true peace, that only He can bring.

Monday, 17 December 2012

In Print - Shades of Colour

It's always a thrill to have artwork published.  I received my free contributor's copy of Take Ten Spring 2012, in the midst of wedding planning, so it's only just now that I'm really appreciating the thrill! These were very quick cards to make.  I used paint samples and simple stamping at the composition's foundation, next I added a beautiful collage image and then the most exciting part, finding just the right textiles/embellishments for the finishing touch!

I think I'll be making more of these!

And it's about time that I sat down to look at and appreciate the work of the other artists that contributed to this lovely issue of Take Ten!  What a lovely way to pass the time of day!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Studio Snapshot: 'Proof'

I'm an early bird, my husband not so much... he sleeps even now as I write!  

I'm endeavouring to organise the 'studio' aka spare bedroom (though there is no room for a bed).  It's a big job and I'm tackling it bit by bit... I do some sorting and then I let myself do something creative.  That's the plan for the past few days at least... I've made a little progress, but there's so much more to go!  It will be so worth the disciplined effort in the end, when I can lay my hands on most anything because I know that I own it and I know where it is!

I was up at 4.30am this morning - I've done some sorting - I've done some playing and have in the midst of it designed a 'Friendship' ATC for December for my ATC swap group.  It's been a delightful start to the day and I've really enjoyed playing with the Darkroom Door's Photography stamp set from the Essentials 3 Collection - it is a very versatile set.  The gorgeous photo booth images are from ARTchix Studio.

Right, well back to it then!  More sorting or playing?  Perhaps a little of both!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A New Song

I revisited my brown paper bag pocket yesterday and literally tore it apart... 

It caused me to consider the fragility of life, of heart-break, of taking risks, of daring to dream dreams, of sharing secrets, of making good from a bad situation... and I've been contemplating the comfort hope can bring in the midst of a disaster... and that we should learn to sing new songs when the old ones no longer hold a sweet, joy-filled melody.

And oh the joy it brings, when your are able to share your deepest secrets with those you love and trust and they support you no matter what.  Yes, I'm discovering that wonderful joy in a new way, with my lovely husband!

Since completing this quilt yesterday, I've heard of a number of heartbreaking, sorrowful circumstances and an outpouring of overwhelming grief is all around.  It's time to mourn with those who mourn, and to pray for comfort, peace and hope for those who are suffering.

Friday, 14 December 2012


Paris is one of those places I dream about visiting one day, but for now I admire it's beauty from afar.

'Architecture' was January's theme for my postcard swap group, yes January, 2012.  I did finish this a few months ago, but I thought it was time share it with you!  All the gorgeous stamped images are by Oxford Impressions and the mini photos came from Typo, in the sweetest little tin.  I just knew they would come in handy one day!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

My Heart Song

I've had an amazing year, one full to the brim with blessings.  My husband being the most special blessing of all.  He's the miracle that I was beginning to think would never be!  And he's a happy reminded of how God's plans for our lives are perfect and so is His timing!  There's a story to tell, our love story, and I will share it with you in time.  The engagement, the arrival of our identical twin nieces, the wedding, the honeymoon, holidays, long service leave... so many treasured moments and all in one year!  

I'll share some of the memories (and photos) of those moments with you in the near future, as I catch my breath, take time to reflect and find the best place to start.  

Just this week, I remembered that I had signed up for an online course with Jenny Doh way back in January and I still hadn't finished the first week of the course!  Life has had such a different focus for me all this year and any creativity was directed towards preparing to wed my sweetheart, Joel.  Anyway, I was thrilled to discover that the course was still available to me online and I've been working hard on it most of this week.  The course is enabling me to clarify my current heartfelt creative goals.  I've been reminded of the importance to create daily... it's not always going end with pleasing results... but being disciplined and turning up each day is what it's going to take to develop my artistic skills and it's also a pretty excellent way to spend part of the day.

'My Heart Song' is this morning's creative result.  It's simple, but hidden within are secrets, hopes and dreams and promises.  It's been so long since I've been able to sit in my 'studio' aka spare bedroom and play.  

It's my intention to play daily, for the pure joy of it, for discovery of new techniques and skills, for good health (creating makes my heart sing), for discipline (it's good for us) and to really discover what it is that I love doing creatively the most!

How about you?  Will you challenge yourself to do something creative? - daily!