Thursday, 31 January 2013

Grace - CJS39

I worked on Jamie Dougherty's tutorial (Creative Jumpstart No. 39) a few days ago and have completed three different backgrounds on tags.  I'm really enjoying working with paint and am beginning to feel a little more confident to play and have a go and let myself get more messy!  I've snatched a bit of early morning playtime (before I go to work) to collage the tag with the first technique.  I've used some of my new rubber from Artistic Outpost and a little image from Darkroom Door.  I really liked the results I got from this technique and can't wait to really get stuck into some art journalling in the near future.

Another big discovery for me, whilst participating in Creative Jumpstart,  has been finding how amazing Ranger's non-stick craft sheet actually is.  I've kept mine in a box for years... I've been more inclined to work from my cutting mat, but wow, it's so easy to clean up!  I love it!

Anyway, there's a little more journaling on this tag.  I've written about grace and a recent experience I've had of someone lovingly extending grace to me, when it was so undeserved.  How amazing and humbling is that?!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Every Inchie Monday - Hut

Wouldn't it be lovely to have a little hut right on the beach?  

This is my take on Every Inchie Monday's current theme, 'hut'.  Once again, I've used some love ARTchix Studio collage image goodness to create my whimsical beach hut!

Oh how I'd love to go for an early morning swim today, but alas it's off to work for me.  My lovely, long holiday is over!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Evidence Of Life

'Evidence of Life' ATC

Here's another ATC design I created when participating in a Darkroom Door ATC exchange a while back.  I used one of my favourite stamp sets, 'Photography' and the 'Tree Line' photo stamp to make them.  It's a little hard to see in this scan, but there is a real twig stitched into the lower film strip and a few layers of stamping in the background.

Life... a precious gift... 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Beloved - CJS7

Louise Nelson's tutorial for Creative Jumpstart No. 7 was amazing!!!  I totally loved the effects she has been able to achieve on her scrapbook layouts.  I attempted to make a similar background to the one Louise demonstrated (step by step) and once again used products that I already had on hand.  I encountered a few problems along the way and I have not been able to achieve anything like the crackle effect that Louise has created.  I'm blaming the products I used, but also think that I would need to practice this technique a few times before I'd see improvements.  However, I think it would be worth the effort, so I might need to go shopping!

This is a small layout (roughly 6" x 6")... I struggled to put this together today too.  Having not had much experience with scrapbooking I found it difficult to get started .  Anyway, once more I've kept the composition very simple and just added some fabric scraps left over from the making of my wedding gown. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Home Sweet Home - CJS18

I loved learning the speckle/spackle? technique during Natalie Kalbach's 5th tutorial over at Creative Jumpstart No. 18.  I can see myself having a lot of fun making more of these kinds of backgrounds.  However, I really struggled to know what to do with this particular background once I'd made it (I think it was the colours that threw me), so I looked at it for days and days without finding any inspiration.

I was determined to do something with it today... I had a few disasters as I tried to get started.  I knew I didn't want to cover up the background too much, as I'm keeping the tags that I make as a reference for the future.  In the end, this is what I finished up with... I'm not even sure that I like it!  I've run out of time today to keep working on it, but I might look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow?  The most important thing in the end, is that I had a little creative fun this morning and that is a blessing!

Friday, 25 January 2013


'Sweethearts' ATC

I participated in Darkroom Door's 'Love Letters' ATC exchange and you can see the other participants ATC's here.

I used a number of Darkroom Door products and a bit of layering to create my ATC's.  
Stamps:  Champs Elysée stamp set and Floral background
Collage Image:  Love Letters Montage

I really enjoyed making these ATC's, even the fiddly sewn love heart!  And it's always exciting to receive ATC's from other artists too!  

Have you ever participated in a Darkroom Door ATC exchange?  If not, why not give it a go!  The themes and additional information can be found at Darkroom Door's blog.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Beaded Bliss! - CJS16

Anna Björklund left us with fun and fiddly challenges at Creative Jumpstart No. 16.  I now have seed beads everywhere and I've needed to develop my fine-motor skills (or I really do need glasses) to complete this tutorial - just in time for my return to school!
Time and a calm/relaxed state of mind was needed whilst working on these techniques, oh and good lighting too!  I had to improvise a little with this first piece, but was pleased with the end result.  The lovely vintage image is from October Afternoon.

I really love the effect of the strung out beads here.  The gorgeous image is from ARTchix Studio.  The words in both tags are from Collections.

This technique caused me a few problems, but I had a lesson to learn here - patience!  The vintage image is by Collections.

I totally love the end results of each of the techniques.  Thanks so much Anna for helping me to slow down and practice patience!  

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Splash Of Colour - CJS20

Janna Werner shared a fantastic Creative Jumpstart tutorial (no. 20) and I loved using her techniques to create the backgrounds seen on these tags.  I've added some simple collage to the tags, just to see how the backgrounds might look in artwork.

Here's another great stamp designed by Colette Copeland and produced by Stampington.  I really love this flower image!  It's fun to stitch too!

A scrap of silk and a few buttons add a simple point of interest to this tag.

It's all about Darkroom Door's Robot Collection on this tag!  Another very simple composition and a great tag for boys of all ages!

There's just a touch of stamping from Darkroom Door's Paris Collection.  The Eiffel Tower image is from Typo.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Painting Up A Storm - CJS12

This Creative Jumpstart tutorial, presented by Catherine Scanlon, has been, for me, the most challenging one of all thus far!  I occasionally dabble with paint.  I add a dash of gesso here or a splash or watercolour there, but that's about as far as it goes!  So as I watched the video for the first time, I was tempted to skip the lot and move onto something easier!  Each of the three techniques had their own challenges and I spent a lot of time working on these pieces.  I persevered because I knew it would do me good to stretch out of the comfort zone a little more and try to develop my confidence with paint!  I have hesitated to show you the end results this time round - they are not masterpieces - but I said I would share it all, so I will!

I really like hidden journalling!  This journal entry was all about how amazingly good it feels to be strong on my feet again, after recovering from my mystery virus!  

And another reminder to play!

Every Inchie Monday - Stone

Every Inchie Monday's theme for the week is 'stone'.  I'm always taken aback when I see an incredible sculpture carved from marble.  The amazing talent and skill of great sculptor's that enables them to create such beautiful three dimensional works of art from a lump of stone leaves me in a state of awe and wonder.

All collage images once again are by ARTchix with another dash of stamping.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Let It Go! - CJS10

Nathalie Kalbach demonstrated a 3rd technique in Creative Jumpstart No 10.   It was a twist on a technique that I have used before and it was great to approach it from a slightly different angle.  I achieved mixed results and would like to try this again with different tools and cooler weather.  

 One of the really wonderful things I'm rediscovering through CJS, are some lovely products I've stashed away and forgotten about.  For instance, see that daisy stamp?  I don't think I've used it in the past 10 years, but I was thrilled to find it, as I thought it'd be the perfect image for this tag.

The journalling, unintentionally, got lost on this tag... in the end I needed to add layers to achieve a better balance.  Joel and I have recently been talking about forgiveness and how difficult it can be to forgive yourself of some mistakes you've made in the past.  You know, the ones that haunt you, the ones you can't quite let go of for a final time.  The ones where the damage has been done and there seems no possible way to repair it.  I have a few of those kind of mistakes, I guess we all do, and in the end, I've found it's best to try to 'let it go' and place all that anxiety into the hands of God, resting in His forgiveness and trusting that He will work all things for His glory.  And when that anxiety creeps back in again, you realise you've got to 'let it go' once more!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Romantic Thing Or Two - CJS5

Sharon Laakkonen brought a whole pile of inspiration with her tutorial in Creative Jumpstart No. 5.

It was all about manila tags... which I too, love to use!

The collage image is from Darkroom Door's 'Love Letters' Collection.

This tag is a bit of an odd one out as far as the colour palette goes, but it is what it is.  This is where technique number 2 was taught.

Another touch of romance from Darkroom Door.  I dream of receiving a love letter or two one day!  (Yes, Joel does occasionally read my blog, so it's a BIG HINT).

I enjoyed the technique taught here, but once again I didn't have all the right products.  I made do with something else and I know in time the background will all crumble away, so it's great to have a photo of it before it all falls part!  I really like the technique and I plan to use another medium to see if I can get a longer lasting result!

Sharon threw in a bonus technique.  I loved her idea and I'm sure to use it again! 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Set Sail - CJS3

'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.  
So throw off the bowlines, 
sail away from the safe harbour, 
catch the trade winds in your sails.  

- Mark Twain

Heidi Swap was the host of the third Creative Jumpstart and this is the result of me having a little play with the three techniques she shared.  It's not perfect, there's a few things that didn't go according to plan and I've tried to make adjustments along the way, but that's part of the fun of experimentation, you don't always know what the outcome will be.  I intend to share the good and the ugly with you, as I attempt to loosen the stranglehold of perfectionism and work through the Creative Jumpstart tutorials!  It's not easy for me to share the 'uglier' stuff with you!  Not that I'm saying this is ugly, but I do see a few imperfections!

All the stamped images are from Darkroom Door's stamp sets:  Correspondence and Sail Away

This is a 6 x 6 inch paper and I'm thinking of adding some holiday photos to the page.

Amanda and I went on a Seal Cruise when visiting Stanley, a gorgeous place in the north west of Tasmania.  I got rather green in the gills not too long after leaving the shore.  The skipper  noticed and encouraged me to sail the boat nearly all the way back to the jetty (this can help people suffering with sea sickness - apparently putting an earplug in one ear is meant to help too, but it did nothing for me!).  One of the tourists on the boat was totally freaked out when she saw me steering the boat and keep telling the real skipper that he should be sailing the boat and not me!  It was all a great laugh, and steering the boat did help me to feel a little better, but boy was I glad to put my feet on solid ground!

 It might be best if I do all my exploring, dreaming and discovering on terra firma!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Rock On - CJS6

Nathalie Kalbach demonstrates another interesting technique in her next tutorial - it's found at Creative Jumpstart No 6.  I didn't have the right kind of foam stamps to get a really good result when playing with this technique, but I did the best I could with what I had available to me.

I've simply layered some Darkroom Door 'Music Collection' goodies onto one of the tags and then added some brads and ribbon.  Very simple, but very masculine for the musical guy/s in your life.

Now I think it's time to hit the play button, turn up the volume and ROCK ON!!!!

There's also a reminder there for me to 'PLAY' too!  
Well who am I to argue with that?

Neon Yellow - CJS1

'Dream On!' for Joelly

This time I went back to Nathalie Kalbach's No. 1 Tutorial at Creative Jumpstart Summit 2013 and found I needed embossing powder for this technique.  Most of my embossing powder is very neutral in colour, but I did remember being sent some sample pots of Zing! way back when - the jars had never even been opened! You can imagine my delight (?) when I discovered that I had a jar of neon yellow, lavender, blue and black (with a glitter finish no less).  After I thought about this colour palette for a while (having tossed the blue aside) I had a little giggle to myself and set to play!

The story behind the inspiration to this piece goes something like this... I've realised in the past 4 years or so that I DO NOT LIKE neon yellow!!!  How did I come to this conclusion?  Well... whilst getting to know Joel, I discovered his great affinity for colour, especially neon colours!  He was the proud owner of neon yellow, neon green, neon orange and neon purple socks!!!!  Neon enough to blow your socks off I reckon!  Anyway, the neon yellow is the colour I detest the most, so you can imagine my pure delight when Joel threw his neon yellow singlet and socks in the fire on our honeymoon!  It must be love eh!!!  So this is just a little something Joel can tuck away from my sight and pull out whenever he feels the urge to purchase something else in neon yellow - he'll simply have to 'dream on'!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

At Play - The Girls

'Thoughts on Why'

I have loved working with my stencils so much more after Julie's Creative Jumpstart tutorial.  It's great to once more put them to good use, my stencils have been very inactive, for like forever!

This time I added more collage layers:  stamping, textiles, buttons, stitching, scraps of paper

I'm also seeing more 'heartstrings' in my work - I'm wondering what that's all about!  I have been missing my mum, especially having been so unwell in recent times!  I can't help but wonder what kind of wisdom she would bestow upon her newly-wed daughter, but then again, deep down, I think I know the kinds of things she'd say.

'Girl At Home'

This one kind of looks like a house with the way the silk ribbon is sitting at the top of the tag.
I'm feeling more at home when working with stencils, which is fabulous.  But I'm also a girl that revels in lots of time spent at home - I just love it!

All stamped images are by Stampington (designed by Dina Wakley and Colette Copeland)!  I especially love the second girl image, designed by Colette Copeland.  Colette is one of my most favourite mixed media artists.  She's such an inspiration to me!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Creative Jumpstart 2013 - Balzer Designs

I'm 'at play' and it's getting messy!

I signed up to participate in Creative Jumpstart Summit 2013... a fantastic programme founded by Nathalie Kalbach from N*Studio to help creative types find inspiration (and get a creative kickstart) for the new year... and amazingly it's FREE!

You can find out more information and sign up here!  It's not too late, as the video tutorials will be available until the middle of the year!

So here it is, mid-January, and I thought it was about time to get stuck into Creative Jumpstart and I sure could do with a some inspiration, creatively speaking!  I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques and skills too!

'It's All About Playfulness'

This is my first attempt at working through a Creative Jumpstart tutorial.  This one was presented by Julie Fei Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs - CJS No 2. It was all about, 'Three Different Ways to Add Colour to Tags'.  This is also my first ever attempt at what I would call an art journalling style!  I can see myself really enjoying playing in a journal, up 'til now I wasn't convinced!  Yes, I think it's time to buy an art journal and have a play!

Here's my second tag 'I Love To Play', with just a touch of collage - an added strip of vintage paper.

These were so much fun, well after I got over getting very messy hands and not having complete control over the outcome!  They were also a great reminder to add layer, upon layer, upon layer until you're satisfied with the end result!

I'll be working on more of these for sure... perhaps you'll see some more tags tomorrow!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Creative Correspondence - Island Dreaming

On Sunday I discovered Hels 'Sunday Stamper' challenge and the current theme is 'dream'.  For this guy, there was not a moment that passed where he wasn't, 'Island Dreaming'.  

I, myself, have been 'island dreaming' for many a year... dreaming of one day visiting the island of Tasmania!  And my dream finally came true in November last year!  

Here I am at Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, on my birthday, living my island dream!  A place full of awesome beauty and pretty chilly weather too.  There was a hint of snow on the mountain, a crispness to the air and  a little sprinkle of rain.  That's pretty much the perfect way to experience this amazing place!

Yes, there I was, at Cradle Mountain, practically right in the middle of Tasmania.  I was waiting outside this shelter for my friend Amanda, when someone said 'hello'!  It took me back a bit and a little while longer to comprehend that it was actually someone I knew and knew very well.  It was Neralie, a friend and colleague from school, also on long service leave and also travelling around Tasmania.  We both knew we were in the same part of the world, but didn't expect to bump into each other while we were travelling!  It was a lovely birthday blessing to spend time with her and her husband Craig - even if it was just for a short 15 minutes or so!

All rubber images are by Oxford Impressions (purchased in Tassie).

Every Inchie Monday - Girl

'Girl' is the theme over at Every Inchie Monday this week.  All images/words are from ARTchix Studio.  This is a very simple composition, with a dash of pearl white paint.  Oh, and there's the tinsiest bit of stamping on here too!  This girl has green thumbs, unlike me!  I'm ashamed to admit that I am a lazy gardener, unlike my parents who worked jolly hard in the garden, with beautiful results!

Monday, 14 January 2013

One Word - Playfulness

Play is the highest form of research.  Albert Einstein

And finally, it's time to write about the word I have chosen to help give me direction and inspiration throughout 2013 - playfulness.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, 'playfulness' seemed to be the word that kept coming to my mind as 2012 drew to an end.  I can be rather serious at times, especially in the creative process and find myself caught up with the frame-of-mind that I have to produce a certain amount of work and it needs to be great and there's no time for mistakes and there's no time to play, after all creating is a serious business, right?  There's not enough time to just create just for the fun of it, there's no time to explore and discover new techniques or develop new skills, there's not enough time to do all that and produce work suitable for publishing... well there's no joy in that!!!!!  I suspect too, that the ability to produce work which communicates 'life' and 'beauty' and 'joy' can not be produced without somewhat of a playful heart.

So one of my great ambitions for the year is to develop a more playful heart!  And guess what!?  Not only have I had a great time in the studio lately, playing to my hearts content.  As I write this post I am wearing a red and green hair extension (a Christmas gift from my lovely In-Laws) and it's putting me in an even more playful mood - watch out world, it's time to play!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Creative Correspondence - 'They Bounced'

'They Bounced' Postcard

Here's my playful start to a Sunday morning... I've been pondering how to approach this week's Play Date Cafe #164 Challenge for a few days...

First thing this morning, I wander around the house picking up supplies that fit with the colour palette for the week

Cadet Blue...Chartreuse...Leather

and played around with what I'd gathered.  The cartoon image is from an old Golden book that is beyond repair, well loved by it's previous owner and thrifted by me in recent times.  I settled on making a postcard as I'm attempting to send one piece of creative correspondence out into the world each week of the year.  I think this postcard might be well received by my nephew Sean, who absolutely loves to receive things in the post!

Today I hope to relax, enjoy the feeling of good health, perhaps play a little more in the studio, spend time with my beloved and then head to church for the evening service.  

Blessings to you!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Crash Course - Encaustic Indulgence

I have yet to tell you my very sad, sad story... I was booked in to attend Patricia Baldwin Seggbruch's, Encaustic Indulgence class at Summer School this week.  I was jumping up and down with excitement late last year when I realised that Trisha was going to be in my hometown and teaching encaustics whilst I was still on holidays!  I promptly booked myself in, knowing that this was possibly the only chance I'd ever get to do a class with her - it was kind of a once in a life time thing.  One of my friends also managed to book into her class and we were eager and terrified at the same time, both knowing that we lean more towards the crafty side than, arty side of things when it come to creativity.

Anyway, on Sunday after talking to my doctor, I realised with a huge amount of disappointment (yes there were tears), that I would not be able to attend... I was not well enough...

Anyway, to cut this long story short, I was able to visit the classroom on Friday, meet Trisha and her son Patrick (they were so welcoming - both truly wonderful people) and see what everyone had been up to over the week!  Before I knew it I had some encaustic boards given to me and was having a crash course in working with wax!  I was only able to stay for about 45 mins and so I had to work fast... my friends helped and Patrick got me working on some really fun techniques!  I ended up walking out the door with three samples, the final one is very incomplete.

I know I've missed out on an awesome class, but I left feeling abundantly blessed to have met both Trisha and Patrick, to have been encouraged by my wonderful friends and in the end to have had the opportunity to try out encaustics with such an amazing tutor!  And you never know, perhaps one day there'll be another chance to do a class with Trisha... I sure hope so!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Every Inchie Monday - Star

I'm going to try to participate in Every Inchie Monday for the entire year of 2013... so we'll see how I go.  If I manage it, I will have a lovely little collection of inches by the time we get to December.  I figure if I can't find time to complete an inchie a week, something is wrong!

They are a fun and fiddly challenge (what with a scale of 1" x 1" they're incy!), so trying to find images and stamps small enough to fit can be a frustration at times!  I often surprise myself in the end with how much you can actually put onto an inchie!  ARTchix has a lovely assortment of vintage and collage images and I'm going to be aiming to create an inchie collection that has a touch of ARTchix wherever possible.

This week's theme is 'Star' and this pretty lady is letting her little star, shine!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fun With ATC's #78 - Something New

'Silk Design'

Fun With ATC's is a new challenge site for me and their current theme (#78) is, 'Something New'.

Here's a sweet little ATC I've put together using my brand NEW Crafty Individual stamps that I purchased recently when on holidays in Tasmania.  There's quite a bit of layering in the background - scrapbooking paper, paint, stamp and more paint.  I've combined two Crafty Individual stamp sets to make this ATC -   (CI306 and CI328) they are a wonderful collection of small stamps perfect for ATC's and other tiny artworks.