2016 Mad Tea Party!

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Welcome!

This is my very first online Mad Tea Party Blog Hop, hosted by the ever so delightful Vanessa at ‘A Fancilful Twist’. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, and I believe I’m half a day in front of everyone else, but here it goes..

‘Have I gone Mad? I’m afraid so.. you’re entirely bonkers. But let me tell you a secret, all of the best people are!’

So please, pour yourself a cup of tea, put on your fanciest hat and leap into the rabbit hole while we enter the very curious, twisted, completely MAD online imaginary tea party event!

Alice: ‘This is impossible’

Mad Hatter: ‘Only if you believe it is’

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‘Alice and the White Rabbit’ by Rebecca Barkley

We’re All Mad Here..

It is time.. for tea! (But time is a he?)

‘Who R U?’

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As it is Winter here in Australia my little Tea Party was held inside where it’s warm and cosy. Perfect time for tea!

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‘There is a place. Like no place on earth. A land full of Wonder, Mystery and Danger! Some say to survive it you need to be as Mad as a Hatter.

Which luckily I am.’

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White tea with Rose and a hint of magic, do you dare to take a sip?

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‘Curiouser and curiouser..’

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‘Wonderland is better when you are completely lost’

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‘It’s always tea time.’

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‘CHANGE PLACES!’

Time for some nail art, don’t you think? The stranger the better..

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I’ll have tea for two, thank you!

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Thank you for stopping by,I hope you enjoyed the madness as much as I did! And a very special thank you to Vanessa for hosing the event xx

Be sure to see the other parties by following this link:

Mad Tea party event

 

 

Mad Tea Party Event – A Fanciful Twist

You’re invited..

Mad Tea Party Event

Just now, I stumbled upon this Mad Tea Party event happening tomorrow! TOMORROW! (July 23rd 2016 – and possibly for a few days over) It’s an annual ‘Blog Hop’ with the delightful Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. I admit I have never attended one of these before, let alone even heard of one of these until this very moment. So what in Wonderland is it?

I don’t really know.

But that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

It just gets curiouser and curiouser..

By the looks of it I believe it will include plenty of blog hopping, discovery and surely be very inspirational. If you’d like to join in just click on the invitation for more details.. there will be a list of participating blogs and I look forward to seeing how this event plays out. I will delete this post when the party is over, so if you’re reading this consider it still happening.

So go get yourself a nice hot cup of tea and make yourself comfortable. But not for too long.. ready, set, ‘Change places!!’

**Update!**

My party is up! You can find it here ūüôā

 

 

 

Craparoons – Macaroon Fail

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I vaguely mentioned this topic in the past, about my macaroon fail, but thought it was too good a story not to share here in full. It still makes me cry with laughter, so I hope you get a good belly laugh from this too!

My craft fail was published on http://www.craftfail.com back in 2011 and even made it into the craftfail book! It was also made it to the top 10 craft fails for 2011. So proud.

So, here’s how to NOT to attempt making macaroons..

I have a special day coming up for a friend where we are required the bring a plate of food. I decided to be creative and make something special instead of my usual supermarket run for dips n chips.. so I thought (far beyond my capabilities) it would be a great idea to try macaroons! To be completely honest I‚Äôve never even tried a macaroon. I saw them on Master Chef ‚Äď ages ago ‚Äď it looked easy enough!

So I get the ingredients (after looking around for almond meal for ages not realising it would obviously be in the nut section) I get home and realise I don’t have anything to weigh the ingredients. That’s ok! So I work it out going on the 110g bag of almond meal I have. I need 130g of almond meal. Shit. That’s ok! So I compare the weight of that with the unmarked bag of icing sugar I have left over from some cake mix I had. It felt heavier. I reckon 150g. I needed about 220g but I need to compensate for the almond meal so that should be about right.

I mix them together. I need a sifter thingy. I need to sift 3 times. But I don’t have one, so the colander has to do. I make a complete mess trying to sift it all 3 times.

Next, I whip the egg whites, sugar and form peaks. In the mixer thinga-ma-jig‚Äďwhat I thought would take a few minutes took ages! It wasn‚Äôt working, damn it! My appliance started to have this kind of.. burning smell going on after a while so I gave up on that and out comes the antique 100 year old hand held egg beaters. It was a good work out I must admit, if you want one super strong man arm. Swapping hands doesn‚Äôt help, it just gets messier.

After a bit of good ol‚Äô fashioned elbow grease the egg whites were looking pretty good! Now, to fold them together.. I did it as gently as I could, trying not to squish out the air or whatever. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like other than ‚Äėsmooth and shiny‚Äô. Mine certainly wasn‚Äôt smooth or shiny, but slightly lumpy and pasty. Ah well, lets see what happens! Into the piping bag.. uh, hand made baking paper bag, and pipe 3cm small round dots. They were pretty dodgy looking but some were not too bad! Finally I let them sit for 20 mins then into the oven for 20 mins as directed.

30 mins later.. tada! Craparoons.

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DIY: Medieval Chandelier

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When we decided to have a Viking inspired wedding (which you can read all about here) I had this brilliant idea to make a couple of medieval chandeliers. I’d seen some online retailing for around $400 +postage. Screw that, that’s half our wedding budget! Ha! I could so make them myself anyway. How sweet would that be!? The only catch was.. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I researched DIY tutorials and came up with nothing. Not one! That’s ok I thought, how hard could it be?

First things first I needed a big wooden wagon wheel. Easy right? I scanned ebay and came across a whole bunch of them for sale and not too far from me at all, better yet they were going for $10. For the lot. Score! I made my bid and watched it like a hawk for the next few days as the bidding came to an end. Then just my luck, with about 5 mins to go.. some bastard made a bid. Oh hell no! So I bidded again.. outbid. No. I tried again. Outbid. NO! For the final few minutes I was ranting at my computer screen frantically typing in larger bids and slamming my hand down onto the enter button ‘Noooooo!’ I wailed as the bidding came to an end and the wagon wheels were sold for $61. I had a few strange looks in the office as I told the computer to get stuffed.

Fail. Now that I had my heart set on making these chandeliers I decided to keep at it and my next stop was a local buy/swap/sell facebook page where oh my goodness would you believe there was a bloody wooden wagon wheel up for grabs! I asked the lady how big it was but unfortunately it was way too small, like 30cm diameter. I considered making a mini one.. but no it wouldn’t do. I told her thanks but no thanks it just wasn’t big enough, when she suggested I check out the Reject shop as she’d seen some big garden wagon wheels just recently. Holy shit you bloody ripper! Thank you!

So off to the Reject shop I skipped and to my amazement I found two huge wagon wheels for $30 each. Yes please, I’ll take them both! It was amusing to see the odd looks as I wheeled around a trolley with two enormous wagon wheels on each side, I was even stopped at one point by a lady asking where I got my steampunk trolley from.

But of course I was only at the starting point, I was yet to find some kind of candle holder to attach to these monsters, with a way to attach them, and my gawd it turned out to be far more difficult than getting the bloody wheels. I searched online, ebay, etsy, cheapo shops, not so cheapo shops, wedding shops.. with no luck! I came close, my plan B was going to be screwing on some hooks and from there hanging little lantern tealight holders.. but I had one more lead to try out first.

I found a blacksmith online who offered custom made work. It was worth a shot. So I emailed and crossed my fingers..

Hoorah! Challenge accepted! The guy was happy to make me my candle holders for $15 each – I emailed him a few photos with measurements and explained what I was after and he said they’d be ready in a few weeks. I’d need 12 of them, totalling $180. I also needed to pick them up. In Bendigo. A 3 hour drive away. Shit.

I managed to convince my fianc√© what a fun road trip it would be! He agreed to come with me and the three of us (including our 2 year old) headed North to get collect my custom made hand forged iron candle holders. The trip wasn’t bad at all, in fact it was a beautiful drive but by the time we got there all we wanted to do was head home, so back in the car we got and another 3 hours on the road we got home in time for dinner.

All that was left to get was some bolts, (2 for each candle holder) some chain, and bolts with hoops to attach the chain to. Oh and some S hooks to attach the chain for hanging. I’m sure there’s a better name for that stuff but that’s the best I can do. I went to Bunnings to collect these goodies, all up it cost me around $40 and I was very pleased to work it all out for myself, I even bought the correct size bolts first time. Go me!

As for putting it all together, well it was just a bit of drilling holey holes here and there and putting the bolts through and securing them with the other bolty bit and washers (ok that’s onle thing I do know the name of! The flat donut metal pieces that came with the bolts yo) ta da! I bloody well did it! (With a little help from hubby to be who insisted on giving me a hand, naw!) Here’s the proof:

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How amazing did they turn out!? All together they did end up costing me a small fortune, about $460 for the both of them, so $230 each which includes the candles and the petrol for our day trip. But hey, I get to keep them and they were hella fun to make!

 

My Big Phat DIY Viking (inspired) Wedding

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I got married! Yay!

So you may or may not have noticed that there was a lack of crafty goodness¬†being shared on my behalf, and that’s because I spent most of last year DIY-ing the crap out of our wedding. I know I know.. LAST year.. in October. It’s been a while, my friend.

Some people will tell you not to bother making things for your wedding, it is a lot of hard work but.. I was in. my. element.

Not to mention, we were on a fairly small budget so making a majority of the stationary and decor saved us a lot of mula!

I designed and handmade all the invitations, RSVP cards, signs, bunting, decorations, candle holders, runes.. I even made two all mighty hanging medieval chandeliers! For reals.¬†Because why buy one for a small fortune when you can make two for a slightly bigger fortune and drive for an entire day to collect custom hand forged iron parts? Because art. But that deserves a post all on it’s own.

You’re probably wondering by now why. Why a viking wedding? Well I’m glad you asked! To be honest I hadn’t even considered¬†a themed wedding because I didn’t think it would really appeal to my other half. Then one fine day out of the blue my¬†Hubby-to-be said to me ‘Hey we should have a viking themed wedding’ and I said ‘Hell yes!’ and that was that. I was so¬†stoked that he came up with the idea and was really keen to follow through. Oh my gosh, creativeness started to overflow¬†from then on.. move over flowers and tule, gimme leather, metal and drinking horns!

So without further ado, let me share with you from our amazing Viking (inspired) Wedding!

Invitations..

So as I soon discovered the word ‘wedding’ makes everything expensive times ten. Some people are all into that, and that’s great, but I’m sure as hell not. Invitations that cost $10 a pop plus postage? I don’t think so, besides I actually enjoy doing all the fiddly stuff myself, even if I did come across 101 issues along the way. So they all turned out a little different, and I ran out of envelopes, and runes, and ink.. but hey I saved myself a small fortune! (I think)

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The RSVP cards above have the options A: Fierce axe weilding vikings couldn’t keep me away! (That’s for a yes) and option B: ‘Sorry, I heard about the vikings..’ (That’s for a polite no) Hehe, I couldn’t resist a bit of humour!

I also made personalised invitations for my ‘Shield Maidens’ which were as follows.. (Warning, strong language) And they each recieved a special gift bag of goodies on the day.

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And lets not forget all the signs (about 5 all up) and one very time consuing bunting that I forgot to bring on the day and totally didn’t end up using. Ah well, all the more reason to add it here so it can be appreciated!

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Setting up..

We were lucky enough to hire a hall in Ferny Creek which had a lovely old enterior and a ‘mini forest’ outside where we had the ceremony. Of course by hiring a hall it meant we were also responsible for everything – including setting up, decorating, cleaning up etc. So saving money certainly comes with some work. But that was fine by us. To keep costs even lower (and let’s be honest, I’m not too fussed with the traditional formal wedding look) we used the chairs and tables we found in the store room. I could have hired chair decor and ribbons for around $200 or I couldn’t give a damn. I chose not to give a damn. However, I simply had to have burgundy tablecloths. (Which were a bargain anyway and I get to keep them afterwads!)

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Oh my lordy.. check out my medieval chandeliers! I am so proud of these because they seemed like an impossible task to complete at one stage, but I got there and they looked amazing. (Even better with the lights off, this photo was taken just before it got dark)

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Self constructed photobooth. I nearly died when I found out a photobooth was going to cost $2000 minimum! (It was photos or food.. we chose food) But I figured what the hell, it couldn’t be too hard to make one could it? I allready had the camera, flash and tripod.. so I made some signs, bought some props and a remote shutter which did the trick. (Highly recommend, this was a big hit on the night!)

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To add the Viking element in my decor I tried to use old pagan style objects such as chests, wooden candle holders, metal work, leather and fur.. some items I had at home, many I found in opp shops and bargain shops. I painted runes on pieces of wood, found ivy growing outside, collected and painted glass jars.. threw it all together and voila! Here is my set up for the treasure chest of plunder (gift cards) my rune pendant making table (huge hit!) and table decor – all different, all recycled, all cheap as chips.

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Yes, that is a fox. Foxy Loxy to be exact. I allready owned her and decided she had to be included. Long story, don’t be freaked out she doesn’t bite. We also had to get matching drinking horns because it wouldn’t exactly be a viking wedding without them now would it?

The Ceremony..

Ahh.. ceremony time! Now obviously we weren’t in full viking dress up but of course I had to have braids in my hair and a few accessories to match our theme. (Not that you can really see them here but I had to throw in a few bride pics!) I wore a simple lace maxi dress over a simple white slip, Dr Marten leather lace up and buckle up boots, (the most exciting part of my whole outfit – they cost more than everything else put together!) mixture of jewelery I liked some I allready owned and other pieces I bought and a leather belt with lovely brass buckle. The bouquet was made by a friend and a total surprise on the day! How absolutely beautiful is it??

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We had a pagan hand fasting as part of our ceremony and I made each ribbon which represent each of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This is out little man Oscar being a bit shy around the crowd and wanted to be with his mummy and daddy. Naw!! Precious thing I love this picture.

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My boots! Aren’t they amazing!?

Party time..

Now it’s time to party, eat and drink like a viking! Starting with a grand feast of meat. We weren’t interested in a formal sit down dinner, so we had kababs! Wedding food is one of the most expensive things of all but when we approached a kebab shop and inquired about wedding catering they said no problem, we can even cook the meat right there on site! Brilliant. It was also a bargain and tasted delicious. There was even enough for everyone to have seconds.

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A friend of ours was so bloody awesome he not only brewed beers especially for our wedding, but he also named them and labelled them with our faces! What a legend. He made three brews and they were called: Ragnar Loth-Brew Wedding Pilsner, Lagertha’s Dark Wedding Vienna and Becky and Dustin’s Valhallale.

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Friends of ours played music especially for us, changing the words to match and all! They bought their own viking helmets and totally rocked!! We have some pretty awesome friends as you may have gathered by now.

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We had a shield cake and we cut it with axes. Hell yes we did, it was one of my favourite moments among many!

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How sweet did the set up look once the lights were turned off? The low light really bought on the viking theme we were after, and here is a bunch of awesome people getting into the spirit of making rune pendants.

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As you can see the photobooth was a lot of fun.. sure it got knocked around a little and the settings kept changing, but for the price of a $20 remote shutter which saved me $1980 it was totally worth it!

Well if you made it this far, thank you! I can tell you I had the best time EVER. I hope to get around to explaining a few of my DIY projects in closer detail so you can have a go at tackling them youself – and much sooner this time, I’ll try not to keep you waiting 7 months this time.. oops!

 

 

 

Magical Fairy Gift Box

I absolutely love custom jobs that spark new ideas. This job was one of those. The ideas were endless and they just kept coming, and evolving.. I freakin love that!¬†I had to stop myself from going overboard, and instead the inspiration began to pour¬†out onto other projects I’m working on.. like the interactive dead faery sculpture that is now going to have a mystery¬†to solve within it as well! But more on that later. Back to the Magical Fairy Gift Box.

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I was asked to paint a fairy for a young girl and later the idea was proposed to create a fairy gift box with trinkets inside. Well! I tell you what, I grabbed the idea and flew with it! I had so. much. fun.

Above is the finished box. I found a gift box to put everything in, I was after something plain but the pretty roses and lettering looked fairy-gift like to me. Then I went crazy adding twine, tags and a wooden butterfly button.

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Extra stuffing to keep everything in place..

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All the things!

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I didn’t want the painting hidden at the bottom, so instead I hid it at the top! In the lid. The artwork is on cardboard backing, wrapped in a bio-degradable plastic then stuck to the tissue paper with double sided tape. The tissue paper is glued to the lid and sealed with a sticker.

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Ta da! The painting is safely tucked away.

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Treasures!

To fill the box I used¬†a lid from another gift box inside as a platform, because I didn’t want the contents to be loose. It worked perfectly! Then I added a layer of green moss (that I’d bought for our wedding but forgot to actually use) which worked perfectly.

Inside is an assortment of trinkets and treasures for the lucky birthday girl to explore. Starting with a sweet little toadstool matchbox containing a letter from the one and only Lily Rose, Princess of Fairyland.

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Inside the gold star bag is one of my dear little hanging toadstools.

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A pocket full of wishes.. complete with pretty paper to write your wishes on and a rose quartz for love and magic. Also glitter, because glitter. It’s like magic seasoning really.

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Ooh la la..a miniature bottles of fairy dust and magic beads! I know I loved teeny tiny things as a kid.. who am I kidding, I still do!

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A packet of sunflower seeds to attract fairies to your garden. Naturally.

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Aaand.. a magical fairy bracelet of course! Tied into a little gift card with twine and a toadstool tag. Every details counts ūüôā

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The Rainbow Farting Unicorn

Late last year, the design job of a lifetime appeared in my inbox. It was an opportunity to work with a fabulous little team known as ‘Who gives a crap?’. It’s a small business that manufactures earth friendly toilet paper and 50% of their profits go towards building toilets for those that truly need them. It was a dream come true.. design work, environmentally friendly product and giving to those in need. Brilliant!

Updating my resume was good fun, because I grabbed the toilet humour and ran with it. I ended up with a rainbow farting unicorn flying across page – surely that would get some attention?

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Indeed it did! But alas I did not get the job. Bugger. However.. I decided to upload the unicorn picture to my Redbubble account and guess freakin what!? I’m actually making sales. That’s right, sales, as in more than one!

Ok, so I’m not exactly ready to give up my day job.. I’m only earning about 40 cents per sticker, but hey, people actually like my farting unicorn enough to buy it. This is awesome!

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And of course, you can get one too. Or a t-shirt, or a bag.. you might wana get in early cos you know, I’ve clearly started a trend here. Before you know it I’ll be licencing my design¬†to someone big like Prada and the stickers will be at least $100 a pop.

Grab your Rainbow Farting Unicorn goodies here!

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Reflecting on 2015

Well, that went fast.

2015 was jam packed full of artsy goodness, but I didn’t realise just how much until I looked back on everything I’d achieved. I guess the biggest thing to happen this year, art-related, was winning 2nd place in Canon’s Light Awards Competition! That was early on in January, for the month’s brief ‘freedom’.

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Not a bad start.

I completed thirteen paintings including 2 squashed faeries, 6 toadstools, 1 book illustration, 2 small canvases and 2 collaborations with my 2 year old son.

2015 was the beginning of dream catchers. I have lost count of how many I made but it would be at least ten. More are coming too, I promise! I also made a hell of a lot of hanging toadstools and a handful of hanging stars.

My work was displayed in four exhibitions in 2015:

  • Maroondah Photo Competition (Photos below)
  • Belgrave Fire Brigade Annual Art Show (Toadstool¬†House¬†Paintings)
  • Small Works Exhibition (Sydney – Mini toadstool paintings)
  • Maroondah Mayoral Art Prize (Squashed faeries)

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Although I didn’t win anything in the Maroondah Photo Competition, I did in fact have my entry from last year included in the 2015 brochure! So I pretty much¬†won anyway ūüôā That’s me floating on the lake..

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On top of all this art insanity, I also had a huge art project that I worked on from January to October. That project was.. our¬†wedding! I DIY’d the crap out of that thing, and I was in. my. element.¬†From the invitations to decorations, hand fasting ribbons and the¬†all mighty medieval chandeliers. Yes, you read that right. I made medieval chandeliers.

I’ll be going into further¬†details with all¬†the¬†wedding diy hoo ha¬†in future posts, but for now I’ll just leave these¬†viking inspired wedding craftaholic¬†pics¬†here..

Overall it was a pretty crazy year and even I’m surprised to see¬†how much I¬†crammed into a measly 365 days. (I also work 4 days a week) In fact on top of all this again I also photographed two more weddings! Bringing my wedding photography tally to 5 so that was a great experience too. I haven’t yet finished editing them all so I’ll leave those for another post.

Bring on 2016!

 

 

 

Making Dream Catchers Tutorial

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I was recently asked by a friend to make a dream catcher for her son, who has been having bad dreams. I was so glad she asked! Of course I would. Dream catchers have been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time so I was excited to get started. Not long after, I had another request from my sister in law to make one for my niece.. certainly! Surely this is a sign..? I sign that’s telling me¬†I must drop everything and create these lovely things! Of course it is.

So I thought I’d make a tutorial to¬†share with you all, because yes, I’m just that awesome.

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Aah the delightful chaos that is my studio!

All you need is:

  • Waxed thread – Must be waxy, it enables you to pull the thread tightly without it breaking
  • Twine or leather – To wrap around the hoop
  • Beads
  • Hoop – I’ve used branches before, but if this is your first time stick to a hoop
  • Feathers
  • Glue

I have also used in mine: fabric scraps, ribbons, lace, old jewelry parts and butterfly buttons. Go through all your crafty things and see what you can use. This is my favourite part, the treasure hunting!

 

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Ok lets get started! I have taken step by step photos to show you the web making process.. firstly lets look at how to make that web.

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Tie the waxed thread to the hoop, a nice tight double knot. Place the thread back over the hoop with about a 3 cm gap from the knot.

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Bring the thread back through the hoop and over the existing thread.

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Pull the thread to the right and repeat

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Repeat all the way around and back to the beginning. Keep pulling the threat tight as you go.

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Continue the process on the next round and you will slowly start to understand how the web shape is formed.

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Don’t forget to add your beads! It’s best to add them early otherwise the web becomes too small and the beads get in the way. Dream catchers only rewuire one bead but I like to add a few.

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When the web is complete simply tie a double knot nice and tight – but before you cut off any loose ends, always add a dab a glue and let it dry.

Now for the decorating! I used a rough hemp twine to wind around the hoops, and on one of them I used wool. Simply tie the twine of choice to the hoop and as you wind it tightly, smear glue on the hoop as you go. Tie at the end and leave some extra twine to tie as a hanger.  Add plenty of glue to the knots.

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I glued feathers to the side and bound them with more twine. Ribbons are attached with a larks head knot and dabbed with glue on the back. Other random items have been glued or tied on.

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I also made labels with instructions and explaining how dream catchers work.

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Deodorant so natural, you could eat it!

..not that you would want to.

Regardless, this stuff rocks. Seriously.

It’s easy to make, environmentally friendly, cheap as chips and most importantly it WORKS!

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In a typical day I apply the deodorant in the morning and¬†spend a full day at work, head to the gym afterwards for 30 – 45 mins and after all that, in the evening.. I still. don’t. smell. It’s truly amazing.

All the ingredients are available from the supermarket and cost me around AU$12 for the lot. The deodorant is a paste that you massage into your skin. I take a tiny scoop (about the size of half a pea) and rub it between my fingers before I apply under my arm. In cooler weather the mixture will harden, so I use an icy pole stick to dig some out. Coconut oil melts with body heat so rubbing it before applying helps it to spread smoothly.

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All you need is 3 ingredients, and a container:

  • Bi-carb soda – To absorb odors
  • Arrowroot (tapioca flour) – To bulk up the mixture
  • Coconut oil – Bind the ingredients and moisturise
  • Coffee Jar – Or any container with a lid

Optional – Add a few drops of essential oils to create your own scented deodorant!

To make the deodorant:

2 parts coconut oil to 1 part bi-carb and 1 part arrowroot.

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Around about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in this batch which will fill a small jar and last about 6 months.

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Add 1/4 cup bi-carb soda.

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And 1/4 cup arrowroot.

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Mix with a fork to a thick paste – you can use a microwave to soften the oil but be careful not to heat it too much. Try only 5 seconds at a time.

If you’re adding essential oils add a few drops at a time to the mixture. Add as much or as little as you desire.

Transfer the mixture into your jar and let it settle. Ta da! It’s ready to use!

Deodorant 4

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Add some decorations and you have yourself a lovely little gift!

 

 

 

 

Where Magic Happens

I love the opportunity to sticky beak into other artist’s work spaces, to peek inside the room or space where all the magic happens, see what inspires, how their studio reflects them and their art and how they manage work flow.

There’s 2 main¬†types of studios I have noticed. The neat spaces that are minimal and incredibly organised, and¬†the overcrowded ones. Mine is definitely the overcrowded type. I don’t have time to tidy, I’d rather spend it creating!

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I have taken over the dining are of the house, right next to the kitchen. This is where the magic happens.

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Zooming into the area above my amazing chest of drawers that I got for my 30th. The¬†drawers are¬†from Ishka and are made from recycled boats in Asia. Inside the drawers is all my stationary items! I love stationary.. you’ll find everything in here –¬†pens, paper, sticky tape, hole punches, staplers, blue tac.. all kinds of paper, twine, tags, cards.. you get the idea.

On top of the drawers (not that you can really see, sorry for the dodgy camera phone pictures) is a treasure chest containing all my acrylic paints. My CD player is pictured and a few random books. Framed on the chest is an original painting by Shirley Barber (my biggest inspiration growing up!) which is a picture of¬†instructions to help me paint hair!!! In front of that is a dish of ‘earth’s treasures’ and random things that inspire me. Aaand above that is a canvas I painted of Kurt Cobain.

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This is my ‘earthly treasures’ dish.. all sorts of things here including sea shells I have found, coral, seed pods, leather, flowers, crystals etc.

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To the right of the drawers is a cupboard that came with the house we rent. It contains folders of artworks, items for sale, framed work and odd frames, fabric and blank canvases. On top is my new printer/scanner, the butterfly box homes my jewelry making supplies, there’s a chunk of wood covered in candles and the Bimo tin has rubber stamps in it.

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Onto the table.. I have this small easel that I unintentionally use as a mood board. I tend to put things on it the need to be worked on, but it often ends up covered with interesting finds, pictures, paper, whatever fits on it. Currently there is some sketches ready to be painted, a note book, metallic tattoos, page of a book I found outside our house, coffee stained ribbon and an off cut of watercolour paper put aside to use again.

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There’s a sewing machine tucked behind everything.. I’m a pretty bad sewer to be honest! But it’s fun and I just need more practice. The machine doesn’t have a home so it stays on the table for now. I have lots of pencil/paint brush containers with my most used brushes. A dish for random items such as bobby pins, jewelry and dead insects.

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Close up picture of my desktop during a recent painting frenzy!

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It appears that I have a collection of jars and bottles. I do reuse all my coffee jars, they’re great! Here I have used them for washing brushes, beads and bones. I also like to display any interesting wine bottles just because. I’m not sure of the history behind that amazing hand carved box.. but it used to be mum and dads and they used it for their cassette tapes back in the day! I always loved it, and now I keep all my watercolour paints in it.

20150126_142745My desktop today, this is about as tidy as it gets! Two recent paintings are there ready to be scanned. I’m usually too lazy to get¬†my cutting mat¬†out and I put scratches in the table, so now I just leave it there so I have no excuse not to use it.

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Me in action! A selfie from a week or so ago while working away painting toadstools.

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2014 The year I became a sculptor

I have noticed a few artists like to reflect back on the past year and see how their art has developed from previous years. I find it quite interesting but never really bothered to try it myself. well, until today. And the results were somewhat unexpected. 2014 is the year I became a sculptor.

2014 artwork

*I have not included any Graphic Design or Photography into this collection, only personal artworks.

I’ve always been a 2D¬†artist, branching out a little but always returning to my trusty pencil or brush. However,¬†looking at the work I have completed throughout 2014¬†there are a measly 3 paintings, a few sketches (I added to bulk up the 2D art range) and more 3D art than I could fit onto the page. Roughly 5 dead faery sculptures and at least 25+ hanging toadstools, 2 rings, 1 cross stitch and a bunch of other little creations along the way.

Hand sculpted clay toadstools
Hand sculpted clay toadstools
Corpse close up
Faer corpse close up

It’s surprising to see so few¬†paintings, then again it was also the year of the toddler. Need I say more.

Watercolour and coloured pencils, A4
The Water Nymph – Watercolour and coloured pencils. Experimenting with dripping watery paint after becoming mesmorised with the amazing work of Lora Zombie.

The image below was created for a particular exhibition where artists were given a theme and had 24 hours to complete an artwork. The theme was ‘The thief of Time’ so I went with the idea of being ‘away with the faeries’ and losing time when you’re daydreaming.

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And seeing that there are so few artworks I may as well post them all! My painting of Kurt Cobain was in fact an entire make over for a painting I’d been touching up for years. Pretty pleased with the results, think I’ll keep this one.

Kurt Progress 2

It’s a little sad to look back and realise I did so little this year, but in all honesty I found myself making a lot of toadstools and¬†dead faeries, which I seemed to have a bit of a demand for which was really exciting! And hey, they’re fun to make as well. So I didn’t really stop painting I just became a sculptor for a while.¬†I guess this means you’ll be seeing¬†plenty more in 2015.. fun (and busy)¬†times ahead!

Daed Faery Conjoined Twins Corpse. Known as 'Faery Specimen #2'
Daed Faery Conjoined Twins Corpse. Known as ‘Faery Specimen #2’

Other achievements for the year:

Completed the 365 photography project

Had new artwork in 4 exhibitions (One painting, one photography and three sculptures)

Published in a book (a craft fail mind you but hey, my work was published! Score!)

Runner up in 1 photography competition

Sold my favourite painting. Ever.

Acrylic on stretched canvas - Sold
‘The Mad Hatter’s Daughter’ Acrylic on stretched canvas – Sold *Sniff sniff* Goodbye my pretty..

It was a brilliant year all up, art wise, and I’m looking forward to making a heap more art this year! I am aiming to build up stock and sell many more toadstools and faeries through my Etsy shop, as well as participating gift shops. I do intend to paint more too, but he no stress as long as I’m being creative in some way I’ll be happy!

4 Simple Ideas for Christmas Craftyness

Hello, my name is Becky and I’m¬†a craftaholic. So when it comes to things like Christmas I always get me craft on.

Last year I hand made everyone’s presents which you can read about here.¬†There was no way in hell I was going to be doing that again, but of course I wasn’t going to go without completely. Here’s what I whipped together for Christmas 2014..


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Reindeer Poo

I have a large collection of glass jars because not only am I addicted to craft but I am also addicted to coffee. The kind that comes in glass jars. I can’t bare to throw them out so I hoard them until I find uses for them, such as Christmas inspired treats.

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Usually for Christmas I make little chocolate/coconut truffles, coat them in chocolate then smother the tops in white chocolate and finish them off with chopped red and green jelly lollies to resemble little puddings. They’re awesome, but also very time consuming and fiddly. So I cut out the last few steps and decided to call them ‘Reindeer Poo’ for something a little different.

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I made about 4 batches, all different flavours! Choc/Coconut truffle, choc walnut, choc mint and fruit’n’nut. To keep spending to a minimum¬†I invented some recipes to use up ingredients that I already had in my pantry. One¬†such idea was the fruit’n’nut choc balls where I added dates, mixed nuts, cocoa, coconut and coconut oil to a blender. I rolled the mixture into balls and dipped them into melted chocolate. The only ingredient I purchased for those was the chocolate for about $3.


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Gift Tags

Gettin’ stampy.. I had the blank tags left over from another project but they’re pretty easy to get your hands on. Using my Shirley Barber fairy stamp collection I got stampy and coloured them in with some coloured pencils. Cute huh!?

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Home made deodorant

This stuff is the bomb. Here’s 3 reasons why you need to switch your deodorant to home made:

1.¬†It’s chemical free

When you think about it, deodorants you purchase are made to stop you from sweating. Sweating is how the body releases toxins. By using ingredients such as alcohol which closes the pores and reduces your sweating, this prevents the release of toxins and as a result those toxins remain in your body.

This recipe is so natural you could eat it Рnot that you would want to, but it does smell delicious.  I used 3 ingredients: Bi carb soda/baking powder, arrow root powder and coconut oil.

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2. It’s cheap and easy to make

A jar this size (small recycled moccona coffee jar) will last around 6 months. I made enough for 2 jars and it cost around $3. That’s $1.50 for a years supply.

The Recipe: Add 1 part bi carb soda to 1 part arrow root powder and mix in 2 parts melted coconut oil.

The mixture becomes a thick white paste that solidifies in cool temperatures and melts to a goo in the heat. When it is solid simply scrape out a chunk (no bigger than a 5c piece) and it will melt onto your skin. Hold for a second, then rub it in.

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3. It works!

It is by far the most reliable deodorant I have ever used. I put it on in the morning and it still works by the time I go to bed. next morning.. still no smell!. The ultimate test is the gym. I apply¬†this mixture before going to the gym and even after an hour work out I don’t smell bad. Just a little coconutty.

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You can add essential oils to make it scented, or leave it as is which has a mild coconut aroma. It’s mild enough to still be able to wear perfume at the same time.


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Daggy Decoration

It’s not quite Christmas at my house with some sort of daggy little decoration that just didn’t quite turn out as well as I’d imagined. But I’ll still put it on display all the same. I had envisioned this cute vintage style little hand stitched tree with buttons for baubles.. which it kind of is..¬†minus the ‘cute’ part. I really do need to practice my sewing!

Give Away!! (Ended)

You may have read previous posts about my ‘craft fail’ incident, involving my over enthusiastic confidence¬†to cook like a MasterChef and a recipe for macaroons.

Long story short I created¬†‘craparoons’ which were a complete disaster. Or so I thought.

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I knew of a hilarious blog¬†called Craft Fail¬†where you can submit your failure and have a good ol’ laugh about it. So I did just that.

You can have a read of it here. My fail made number 3 in the top ten craftfails for 2011! Go me! But wait, it gets even better..

There’s now a book.

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I’M FAILMOUS!

So you have probably guessed by now that yes indeedy I have a copy of the book to give away!

GIVE AWAY!

You will find¬†my not-so-lovely craparoons on page 99 and a heap of other hilarious fails throughout! There’s lots of pictures and hilarious quotes and comments that literally made me laugh out loud.

Oh! And of course I will very happily sign the book for the lucky winner.

To enter, just make a comment below, maybe tell me about your craft fail experience? I’d love to hear!

Entries close 31st December 2014 and I’ll draw a winner by random early in the new year. What a fabulous way to start 2015! With a free book and laughter!

Behold! The Two Headed Faery Corpse

I’ve been busy yet again creating even more dead faeries! I decided to experiment with new ideas which resulted in the conjoined twins corpse. Pretty neat huh!? I also handmade more artifacts including a bow and arrow, developed new tags and labels and also trapped a faery inside a jar. Two of these will be exhibited this December (2014) at the Maroondah Art Gallery in Victoria Australia, and the others will be up for sale in my Etsy shop soon.

365 Project Completed

 

Day 38
Day 38 – My favourite unplanned photo. I was taking a picture of the guitar when this little guy appeared!

On the 2nd of July 2013, a friend of mine posted a comment on facebook that said she was going to write a poem everyday for a whole month.

Day 27
Day 27 – Alice in Wonderland inspired dress up

It got me thinking. I have read about¬†photographers who have attempted¬†the 365 photography project, where they take a photo a day for a whole year.¬†So I challenged my friend to stretch her goal to an entire year. I thoughtlessly mentioned the photography project as well.. which lead her to throw it right back at me. She’d write a poem a day if I took a photo a day. And so it began.

Day 166
Day 166 – It was a bit boring so I added a faery

Now why on earth would I do such a thing!? The short answer is ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time.’ I was on maternity leave ¬†with a 3 month old baby. I had plenty of things to do to keep me busy, but I thought if I took on the challenge then I’d have a reason to be creative everyday. I HAD to be creative everyday! It was a brilliant¬†plan.

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Day 33 – Our cats are in 15 photos

I loved the idea of having a visual diary at the end, which had a picture to represent each day for that year. Imagine looking back and knowing exactly what you did every single day? It sounded pretty neat to me.

Day 111
Day 111 – Inspired by ‘Mia’s Daydreams’

It started out as a joy.. I’d think up ideas for my photos, often thinking a few days in advance.. the possibilities seemed endless! I discovered so many talented photographers and was inspired to use¬†some of their ideas. Not to mention an endless amount of photography techniques, styles and tricks to try out. ‘This is going to be easy!’ I thought. Oh how I was wrong. They don’t call it a challenge for nothing you know.

Day 105
Day 105 – Last minute idea that worked quite well!

It didn’t take too long for me to come to a time where taking one simple photo in a 24 hour time frame suddenly became a chore. It took 22 days in fact. On Day 22 I was preoccupied decorating my new bag. The thought of taking a photo just annoyed me! But I did it anyway, and surprise surprise I took a photo of the bag and bling I was busy making. Not the most creative of photos, but damn it I had a photo!

Day 22
Day 22 – Bag bling

There were easy days and there were hard days. Sometimes I’d have a great idea that turned out.. well not that great. Then other days I literally ran outside to take a quick snap and it became something way better than I’d imagined! Those days were awesome.

Day 171
Day 171 – I ran outside for a quickie ‘idontcarejustneedphoto’ photo and ended up with this! I quite like it.

At times I’d draw a complete blank! I’d look around the room looking for a spark of inspiration.. but it didn’t always¬†come. So I’d head outside, looking around the garden for insects or pretty flowers.. I had many days like these, especially towards the end and they were very frustrating. On a good day though, I’d get an idea that was easy to create. Like the picture below, Day 208.

Day 208
Day 208 – This was one of those panic days where I had no good ideas.. then I spotted a mini plate and fork

A lot can happen in a year. Between July 2013 – July 2014 I lost a loved one, moved house, returned to work and my baby became a toddler. So as the project progressed my commitment became harder and harder to stick to.

Day 155
Day 155 – I recall this moment very well. I had received some news that morning that made me very sad. Later that day I saw this beautiful rainbow appear.
Day 161
Day 161 – The day my dear Nan passed away xxx

 

At times I was sick, tired or even hung over on the odd occasion. I’d be grumbling to myself about the stupid project and how silly it was and why should I bother.. it was those moments where I was really pushed to think up something with an attitude that I wouldn’t normally be thinking creatively with. That sometimes¬†sparked¬†an¬†interesting idea I would not have otherwise thought of. And that is exactly one of the reasons I attempted it in the first place.

Day 57
Day 57 – An early lazy day. I took a photo of the moss and didn’t know what to put in there for a few days. I forced myself to think of things until finally ducks came to mind!

There were days where the weather didn’t really allow me to take pictures outside (heavy rain + camera = not a good idea) and times where I’d miss out on the sunlight so I’d be limited to a picture inside or a night time shot. And of course there were those days where I had SO many things to do!!

Day 162 a
Almost dark.. capturing the last bit of light

Other times¬†I had the complete opposite where my photo was so easy it was no¬†extra effort at all¬†– these were the days where I was planning to take pictures anyway. Bliss. The only tricky part about that is trying to choose just one photo for the day. In¬†some cases¬†I just couldn’t choose so I either put 2 or more pictures together as one image, or I used two separate photos for the one day.¬†I only did that twice, for Day 18 and Day 353.

Day 353 (1)
Day 353 (1) – Elle, Ryan and Marcus, family photoshoot
Day 353 (2)
Day 353 (2) – Nathalie, Eve and baby, maternity photoshoot

I found myself exploring a lot more too, mainly in the warmer months. To try and get away from too many photos being taken in the same place I’d venture out! The photo below, Day 176 was taken in the garden of an old family friend’s home. I wouldn’t normally ask to go out in the garden to browse on my own, but when I was thinking of photo opportunities 24/7 I knew I had to take advantage of being near such a lovely view!

Day 176
Day 176 – Friend’s garden, about 6 photos stitched together

The project pushed me to try new things and think outside the box. (Or inside the house) I found myself thinking of ideas and looking around for interesting things to photograph. I did this all the time. I had never paid so much attention to the seasons and just how much they change the scenery, until this project. I watched plants grow though different stages, die, then release their seeds and I learned so much by taking the time to really see everything with open eyes.

Day 5
Day 5
Day 98
Day 98
Day 154
Day 154

The above three photos are all taken of the same plant during the different seasons. I like comparing them because you can see not only how much the plant has changed, but also the difference in each image due to the lighting/time of day it was taken.

Day 209
Day 209 – Inspired by flower skirts I’d seen online before. This photo took ages!

Throughout the project I took a total of 50 self portraits, and this doesn’t include the pictures of my hands and feet. The reason is, when I need a model I’m always available. I am limited to what I can do but it allows me to get a person in the image posing exactly how I want them to. Of course it takes way longer and I end up running back and forth, throwing myself into the pose then running back to check the photo. I imagine it would look amusing if¬†anyone else is watching. I have been known to fall over props/furniture and hurt myself during these mad rushes but that’s another story..

Day 309
Day 309 – By running between posing and taking the photo, my kitty got pretty annoyed and this is the precise moment she clawed her way down my back, leaving me with long stingy scratches!

The photos I enjoyed taking the most were the ones that involved dressing up! These took the most time and were usually attempted during the day when I was home alone. There were funny moments though where I’d be dressed up or wearing something slightly odd while posing awkwardly.. and suddenly there would be a knock at the door. Or even worse I’d be out in public and I’d notice someone looking at me, confused.

Day 15
Day 15 – Jumping in the park with hair over my face. Nothing odd happening here..
Day 168
Day 168 – No, I wasn’t nakey. I did have clothes on. Dustin busted me posing against the fence and tucking my hair into it.

Another thing I enjoyed about this project was having the chance to attempt all the pictures I had planned to try out ‘one day’. Well, maybe not all of them but you know, mainly those ideas that revolved around dressing up or using a new¬†technique.

Day 37
Day 37 – Since having my boy, recreating this image of Sarah and Toby from the Labyrinth was a must!!

I’m glad I took on the challenge and actually managed to complete it. I was very close to calling it quits a few times. Not only did I learn a lot, but I’ve ended up with a nice big fat folio of work too!

Day 356 a
Day 356 – These Tawny Frogmouths were a nice surprise!

I am currently designing a book to release with all the images in it, and I’m going to have all the photos available to purchase as prints. If you are interested in either of these, you can¬†send me an email or follow me on facebook.

To see the completed 365 project album CLICK HERE!

Day 332
Day 332 – One of my favourite subjects to photograph

8 random facts, just for the hell of it..

  • The most common thing to be photographed is flowers, with 54 photos.
  • The second was myself, at 50.
  • I first heard about the project through photographer Molly Strohl
  • In one of the photos I am¬†drunk
  • 2 photos have been exhibited
  • The most popular photo is Day 37 (Labyrinth inspired) with 49 likes on FB
  • Day 33 has 33 likes (this could change)
  • Cats¬†were the most common creature with 15 photos, followed closely by butterflies at 14

 

 

 

Practice and persistence, the many faces of Kurt Cobain

I have a painting of Kurt Cobain that I have re-painted 4 times now. Using the same canvas.

I took a photo of each finished work and comparing them is bizarre. Kurt #1 in comparison to Kurt #4 is clear proof that practice and persistence certainly pays off!Kurt Progress 2

I’ve never been very good at portraits. They’re hard. Damn hard! But like any other style or art form you need practice, and of course, persistence. I was determined to complete a decent painting of Kurt.

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The first layer was back in April 2007. It was a throw together rough portrait. Not that great.. especially considering my favourite artwork to this day was painted the very same year. Odd. I have my good days and I also, as you can see, have my not so good days.

Kurt painting 2

5 years later ¬†I decided to paint over Kurt and aim for something slightly better. I was pretty pleased with myself for painting this.. it was a lot more Kurt-like second time around! But something still¬†bothered me, it just wasn’t as as good as I’d aimed for.

Kurt painting 3

2013 I made the attempt to just ‘touch up’ the last version of Kurt. One thing lead to another.. next thing I know I’ve had a Cecilia Gimenez¬†moment. I preferred the old painting better! I have lost my groove! Sometimes if I force myself to paint rather than just let it flow, this happens. It’s looking more like Xavier Rudd to me at this point.

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Another year passes and I’m getting sick of finding Kurt’s portrait on the floor while Oscar stands on it. I don’t really like it either Oscar but don’t just stand on his disfigured face like that! I feel bad enough already! Suddenly, I had a moment where I picked it up and thought ‘Today, I will pain it¬†again damn it!’ I smothered the canvas in black paint and started all over again. And with a different reference picture.

Ta daaa!!! I’m super stoked over this last effort – the best portrait I have ever done! It does remind me a little of ‘The Hound’ from Game of Thrones.. but other than that it is pretty damn close to perfect for me. I think this may very well be the finished piece!

Than again.. ask me what I think of it in another year or so ūüėČ

Kurt Progress 2

More Dead Faeries

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A while back I wrote about making a dead faery, which you can read about here.

Looking back I realised never actually linked the fairy hoax story.. it’s known as ‘The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy’ created by artist Dan Baines. Interesting story, if you have not yet read about it I suggest you do. (And check out his other creepy art and magic¬†while you’re there! The picture above is of one of his pieces)

hoax

Just recently I decided to try making some dead faeries again but with a few modifications. I’m still in the process of making them (yep, two) and I’ll take photos along the way to show you in another post. However.. while researching how to make realistic faery wings I stumbled across a kickstarter project to help fund a dvd tutorial on how to make THE Derbyshire mummified fairy by Dan Baine himself! Coincidence? I think not! The universe lead me to it, I’m sure.

Below is a link to the kickstarter page. Even after funding has ended, you can still have a look at it and keep an eye out s to when the dvd will be released!

There’s only 6 days left of funding, and I have of course already pledged enough to score my own copy of the dvd, a mummified fairy kit and a few other goodies including signed photos that come in a police evidence bag. (pretty neat, huh?) If you’re quick, you can be part of it too!

Burger Off – A community united against McDonalds

Day 26

This is a non art-related subject, but something I feel very passionate about.

Today is the day McDonalds opens it’s doors in Tecoma, a small and quiet little town at the base of the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Despite the community AND local council saying ‘NO’ for the past 3+ years.

I was born in neighboring Upwey and lived my early years in this community, and I am really proud of how they have together voiced their beliefs and stood their ground against this corporate bully pushing it’s way in.

Unfortunately, McDonalds went to VCAT who allowed them to build a ‘restaurant’ opposite my old kindergarten and primary school.

I’m posting this video because it shows everything the community has done together including a community garden and flash mob during their long and peaceful protest. The video goes for a while but even the first few minutes sums it up nicely – but I urge you to watch it through (there’s some fantastic local music!) and show your support to the group who will never. Ever. Give. Up.

You can find them and heaps more info on the ‘NO McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges‘ facebook group. Show them your support! Tell Maccas to burger off!

Happily ever after..

A couple of weeks ago I was honored to be the main photographer for a very special event.. a beautiful garden wedding! I have photographed friend’s weddings before, as a guest, but this time my sole purpose of being there was to capture those precious moments.

Thankfully, the bride to be was so lovely and easy going that I didn’t have any fears leading up to the day. Of course I had some concerns for the weather, I wanted the photos to be perfect, my equipment to be working properly and for everything to go smoothly.. which thank the faeries, it did!

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