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 🙂

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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!

Unicorn tee

 

 

 

 

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 🙂 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!

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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.

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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.

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‘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 – not 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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!!

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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..
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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

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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)

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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

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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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24hr Artwork Challenge

There’s a neat little shop not too far from me in Belgrave called Limerence. They stock quirky and rustic Australian handmade gifts and exhibit art each month. Their latest exhibition is a 24 hour art experiment called ‘Bender’ and I simply HAD to take part in it! The challenge was to create an artwork or art piece within 24 hours that fit to a theme. At 5pm the theme was announced and work had to be delivered by 5pm the following day. What was the theme? ‘Thief of time’.

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It wasn’t until later in the day I realised that ‘Thief of time’ is in fact the title of a Terry Pratchett book.. but I had already started on my piece and in all honestly I haven’t read the book so had no idea what it was about. I went with my own interpretation. Of course, I went with a faery theme. In faery folklore, it is said that if you ever go to faery land, or dance with the faeries in a faery ring, what may seem like only a few minutes is in fact a few days.. or weeks. I liked the idea that the faeries are thieves of human time so I called my painting ‘Away with the faeries’.

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I enjoyed the challenge because it inspired me to work on a painting and complete it quickly, but it was also a bit scary doing the finishing touches because any mistakes could ruin my chances of entering the exhibition! As it turned out, I finished in time and submitted my work with a couple of hours to go. Yay! I haven’t exhibited any work in quite a while so it’s nice to get back into the art scene. And of all places, Limerence is somewhere I have always wanted to share my work!

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I created this artwork using watercolours, then touched up with coloured pencils and white gauche.

The exhibition launch is THIS Friday weee! If you’re in the area you should come along and check out the artworks on display, I can’t wait! Perhaps I’ll see you there.. details below!

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My Little Poby

‘Toy to the World’ is a custom toy design project and charity event held in Melbourne. I have posted about this event a few times which you can read about here and see my submissions for last years exhibition here.

Well it was on once again and I’m excited to show you my bear for 2014! I went very girly this time for something a bit different.. She’s pink, she’s shimmery.. and she has a magical glittery horn that actually grants wishes! Say hello to ‘My Little Poby!’

Oh, and she’s available to bid on for the next 13 days, please see the link further down the page..

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She also has wings, beautiful hair and even a TAIL! I should also explain that the brand of bear is ‘Popobe’ hence using the term Poby instead of Pony in her name.

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Look at those sparkly wings, look at them!!

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LOOK AT THEM!

That tail is well and truly in her butt so you can comb it and plait it til your heart’s content.

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All hand painted with acrylic paints, and I added some shimmery paint in there too. The glitter on her horn is in fact real faery dust too.

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To bid on her or many other amazing entries, click HERE!!! Or just pop on over to have a browse of the auction. Also, if you happen to ‘like’ her in the link you’ll help me go in the draw to win some awesome prizes, and you will gain karma points for sure 🙂 Yay!

WARNING: A My Little Pony was severely harmed during the making of this toy. 

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Made with love ‘n’ stuff – 6 Budget DIY Gift Ideas

So Christmas is over for another year, and as promised I can now share with you all the pressies I hand made! To see what I made my dad, and read about my whole DIY gift idea ramblings, click here.

I won’t go into great detail for each gift but if you are interested to know how I made something please ask away and I’d be happy to answer any questions. Almost everything was made using recycled materials and items I all ready had. All I bought was bees wax, little containers and some dried herbs.

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Decorative Hanging Thingos: I used air drying clay to make beads, gum leaves, a gum nut and toadstools. I painted each piece, added some metallic bronze paint for shimmer then beaded all the pieces together.

Tip: Threading was somewhat tricky because I used think string that frayed easily. I hooked it around some wire to pull it through the holes.

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Bath Tea Bags: Neat pampering idea! I recycled one of Oscar’s muslin wraps to make the bags, then stuffed them with dried rose petals, lavender, rosemary, milk powder and bi-carb soda. Then I sewed the bags shut with some string in the end to create a ‘tea bag’. The string is long enough to hang from the tap as you run your bath.

Tip: Milk powder and bi-carb soda come straight through the muslin wrap so.. I’d avoid using any powders. Just stick to using dried flowers!

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Bee Vomit Lip Balm: Coconut oil, beeswax and honey. Did you know honey is in fact bee vomit? True story! This was a really simple thing to make, just melt the ingredients and pour into these little pots to set.

Tip: Bee extra careful when pouring not to make a mess! (See what I did there? I do love a daggy pun!)

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Candle in a Jar: I had a big bunch of unused candlesticks so I melted them together, plucked out the wicks (keeping one for the candle itself) added a scented melt as well and poured the mixture into the jar to set. Then I added some string and a handmade tag, ta da!

Tip: To keep the wick centered I tied it to a pencil and put it across the top of the jar.

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Rock Salt and Metal Mix: A simple idea of mixing herbs and infusing salt with rosemary. Kind of boring for my 22 year old brother.. so I tried to add a bit of a twist with the labels to make them a little more interesting! The labels read: ‘Metal Mix – Tasty herb blend’ Slay’er meat and thrash it with this herbal mix from hell! and ‘Rock Salt – Infused with rosemary’ Rock’n’roll your meat in this legendary rock salt. Too corny? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Truth is, that metal mix smells like tacos!

Tip: It really does smell like tacos. The ingredients as I recall, were.. Oregano, dried onion, garlic, cumin, rosemary and demon skulls. There weren’t really any skulls though, that was just to add to the theme and all.

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Christmas Decorations: I had to make some actual Christmas decorations so I made these little guys. I saw the idea on pinterest and made up my own with felt, buttons and ribbon. A bit daggy I know but I still reckon they’re pretty cute! I have one left over so I might just keep it for myself.

Tip: I stuffed them with fabric scraps.

Christmas Handmade – Gifts for dad

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This Christmas I’m making all my gifts by hand.

There’s a few reasons behind this crazy idea.. firstly, I’ve got a few months maternity leave left and lets face it – I really can’t afford to splash out on presents. Another reason is it’s fun 🙂 I love making things. Also it’s good for the environment because I will be recycling where I can and using craft supplies I all ready have. (Reducing waste, land fill, trips to and from the shops etc.)

I have kept purchases to a minimum and there’s certainly no impulse buys. I’ve thought really hard about what to make so that each gift will be useful to the person receiving it and (hopefully) nothing will end up in next years garage sale!

At first I thought I may come across as ‘cheap’ but then after some thought I realised, I don’t give a damn! Anyone who thinks that doesn’t deserve a gift at all!

Handmade gifts are extra spesh. In fact, I used to make presents every year from age 6 until I finished school. High school, that is. Yup, I did! It started out as the corniest (who am I kidding.. it didn’t just start out corny, I think it was all the way through!) daggiest little presents wrapped with recycled paper for each and every family member. I’m talking aunties, uncles, cousins, the lot. Family friends too. Oh the things I came up with! I remember making my aunty Judy a snow globe which was a jar of water that contained glitter, some rocks and a toy pig that I got from a visit to the dentist. I once made my aunty Mary a vintage style hat, I cut the brim off my old sun hat and glued feathers to it. Sometimes when I ran out of time I would just give away things I owned, like the time I gave my cousin Sean a Donald Duck pez dispenser.

As I got older the presents I made slightly improved.. one year I made everyone a peg magnet and painted each one. They were all different and I tried to make each one reflect their personalities. Pops had a fish on it, aunty Josie’s had ducks.. you get the idea. To this day I still see them on their fridges!

The year I stopped (when I’d finished school and moved out of home) I recall a few relatives asking where their handmade present was! They understood of course, but I was amazed at how much it was appreciated 🙂

Anyway, enough reminiscing, here I am hand making all my presents again. Not quite as many.. immediate family and those I buy presents for will be receiving something a little different and to be honest, I can’t wait to see their reactions! I’ve put some added humour into most of them too. Now as much as I want to show you what I have made I really have to wait until after Christmas *just in case* they see this post. However, I think I’m pretty safe to share dads presents with you because I don’t think I’ve seen him on a computer since 1993, about the time the first Wolfenstein game was released. Making the presents this year was a lot of fun too, and a huge improvement on the past let me tell you. I also have the added bonus of being a graphic designer so I was able to make labels and packaging to give the gifts some character.

Without further ado, here are some of my dads presents..

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‘Dirty Old Bastard Hand Scrub’ I don’t really think of my dad as a dirty old bastard, but hey, it’s funny. Dad does dad stuff.. like working on cars, building things and well, getting his hands dirty. He’s also ‘old’ (old enough to be my dad) and he’s not a bastard but it sounded good. I made the scrub with a recipe I found on pinterest – but I think the sugar I used in it has dissolved into the soap mixture. So much for a scrub! But I’m sure it still works as a soap and I’m sure he’ll get some use out of it.

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‘Jimi Herbmix’ (Jimi Hendrix inspired herb mix) Tuesday is ‘steak, eggs and chips’ night. Mum goes out while dad and my bro have, obviously, steak, eggs and chips. So I thought a yummy herb blend to go on his steak would be useful to him. He is a fan of Jimi Hendrix and somehow I came up with this play on words and just had to make it for him! It even has a paisley head band/ribbon tied to the jar. And as for the ingredients – they’re printed on the label, but there isn’t really any LSD in there, promise.

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And finally we have ‘Gene the Spleen’ for the man who has almost everything. That’s right, dad is minus a spleen. He had it removed many years ago and I thought it might be a nice I idea to give him one. This is clearly a joke present, you couldn’t actually transplant this into him because it’s obviously too big.

So there you go! This is why I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been busy making these and lots of other awesome stuff that I will show you in the new year. Thanks for reading!

‘Pod’ – My Belly Cast Creation

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When I was expecting, I was given a belly cast kit. Now obviously I love to be creative and I especially love to try new things, and making a belly cast was certainly something I hadn’t done before.

Naturally I began to research ideas on the internet where I found many beautiful pieces. But to be completely honest, the idea of having a life size sculpture of my body 20kgs heavier, pregnant, in the nude, on display.. just isn’t really my cup of tea! So I had a good look around for alternatives.

I came across an adorable photo of a tiny baby nestled inside her mother’s belly cast. Too cute! I had to do it!

At 38 weeks we made the cast, it was like a big, slightly odd shaped bowl. 4 weeks later, (12 days past his due date..) Oscar finally arrived! He was only 3 days old when I took these photos. He barely fit!

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He had that frown for weeks! Aww..

I was happy with the photos and I thought the belly cast was a great idea. Then after a while it was forgotten about and at some point I ended up putting my small collection of cotton reels into it. I figured if it was going to be used as a bowl then I may as well pretty it up a bit. Back to the drawing board.. how to decorate it?

Tip: When it comes to decorating something like this for your home, it helps to really think about what it is that you like personally and what would suit your style.

I quite like earthy, organic and rustic decor so I decided to try and create a seed pod inspired bowl, with a golden centre.. to add a bit of shiny and because I had some brilliant metallic paints I wanted to play with. I also happened to have some gold leaf that I’d never tried before so now seemed like a good time.

First things first was to prepare the plaster cast. It was incredibly lumpy and rough so the first thing I did was coat it with some home made gesso. It’s really easy and cheap to make at home, you can find the instructions here.

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I painted a few coats letting it dry overnight for each layer. Then I sanded like mad. Someone walking by (I was sitting out the front) saw me and commented on my ‘turtle shell’. It does look a bit like a turtle shell. I sanded away to get it smooth but I also intended on keeping it uneven and slightly bumpy to give it a natural look.

When I was satisfied I got right into painting it. I used acrylics to paint the inside gold and the outside dark brown. I painted a few coats, as you do. Then I had one of those wonderful moments where you make a mistake that turns into something awesome. I love those! I accidentally smeared brown paint on the inside so I blended it with the gold and I thought it turned out pretty neat! So I went with it.

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When it was completely dry I put some gold leaf in the bottom of the bowl.

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To add some depth and bring out the texture on the exterior I lightly brushed over the brown with some metallic bronze paint.

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Looks even more like a turtle shell now.

In the end, I’m really happy with it. I like that it’s sentimental and useful. And it’s subtle. It’s a shame you won’t really see the gold in the bottom though because it wont take me long to fill it with random things again.

Day 104