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Archive for July, 2013

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When I was a child I used to sit at my Nan ad Grandad’s house and play shop with all the mini rations packets they saved from the war. One of my favourite things to do was play with the ‘hundreds and thousands’ sprinkles Nan used for baking. I would tip them out onto a plate and spend hours hand sorting them into all the different colours and putting them into separate pots to sell in my shop only to then mix them all up and start the sorting process all over again.

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My desire for order, organisation and my ideals of perfection have always been there. Perhaps it’s the Capricorn in me, perhaps it’s the OCD I have in my personality but I do and always have liked order. I have learnt, however, that while order is nice it’s not a good thing unless you are lenient enough to allow chaos it’s place, to let your plans go awry sometimes and be spontaneous. The older I get the more I let order go, at least to the extreme measures I used to allow it. Recently I have been inviting order back in, bit at a time and it’s certainly helped me day to day, it has it’s place but if I become too rigid with it, try to force myself into an order that has no lenience such as time-tabling my whole day, things fall apart.

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When I paint, I don’t like to plan, it happens with my journals and my fictional writing too, I just get stuck in, make some marks, write some words and see what comes from it. With my hair I find myself favouring chaos. Allowing my hair to dread and do it’s thing is letting go of all control with it, something I have wanted for ages but not dared to do until this year.

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As with everything in life it’s a matter of balance, you need both. Too much order can create stress, there’s no freedom, plans are so rigid and set that they are vulnerable and prone to shatter like glass if faced with external pressure. Allowing for chaos gives us some flexibility but too much can have us spiraling out of control. Chaos brings individuality, expression, creativity and spontaneity in a world we are often taught needs to be serious, orderly and kept in check.

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I had a lot of fun with this page and it seems that black and red were my main correspondances for ‘chaos’ which I found quite surprising. There’s a lot going on with it, my post was scribbled in it’s first draft underneath, a few scraps of paper added along with modelling paste, red sprayed acryllic, black ink, paper cutouts and crayon (both drawn and melted), my dymo label maker creating the most orderly part of the spread. It’s true though…

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…out of chaos comes order.

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In my last post I mentioned a larger project I had in mind for the me and the kids over summer, today I started making up the board for it, I call it the love board. Much like the blessings board and the dream board I made a few months back this is going to be a fun and visual board for all of us to display the things we love(d) and continue to enjoy them.

There were a couple of triggers to this idea for me. A while back I had been reading a book that spoke quite broadly about feng shui. It’s not something I am particularly interested in however I recognised the set up and areas in my house to be quite accurately intuitively done according to basic feng shui principles such as my ‘work space’ being right by the front centre of the house and that when a certain area of my house gets dis-organised so too does my mind. There was one space however, the love space, which falls in the corner of the house where the dining table is and has been somewhat neglected. Aside from the fact that we eat as a family and share our love there I felt it would be nice to have something relating to the wide subject of love there.

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Unfortunately no ideas were forthcoming until last week I found these MDF ‘LOVE’ letters in The Works while I was just aimlessly browsing and then I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I set about making the board out of an old cardboard box and masking tape first, cutting out three hearts as well, one for each of us to paint and write our special things on as there will be things we all love and things more personal to each of us.

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Around the edge of each heart and the board I glued down some twine which will give a nice raised edge and some texture and dimension once it has all been covered in glue and old packing paper. Filling it will be the fun bit and something that I hope we will enjoy doing as a family. I intend to hang the hearts from the bottom of the board as dangly fun elements, which, thinking about it now, I could probably use both sides of…we’ll see.

I think it will be nice to have a collective piece of art that we have all contributed to and that means something to each of us to fill that empty wall space by the dining table. It’s also a pretty big nod to my word for the month of August, after all if we’re going to be doing a project like this I may as well focus on it’s basis for the month’s contemplation. There will be more on that, however, when I get to making my tag for August.

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And so it begins, the summer holidays are upon us and I’m already thinking of projects to keep them busy and entertained for the long six week haul. We have a few day trips planned but it’s those days spent at home that can be the difficult ones, particularly once the novelty of the holiday wears off. I have a large family project in mind which I will talk about another time once we start it but for now it’s a reminder of a classic that I’ve blogged about lots of times but I think is always worth revisiting.

I love this recipe and have used it over and over again for the kids since I discovered it. Made up of ingredients we all just have at home in the cupboards it’s quick to make, easy, cheap and has brought hours of fun for the kids over the years. I think the only thing I had to buy for it initially was the cream of tartar because I don’t use the stuff in my store. I bought a tub over seven years ago and am still using the same one for batches of playdough.

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You will need:

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup salt

1tbsp cream of tartar

1tbsp oil

1 cup water

a few drops of food colouring

measuring items

a pan

Both my children like to have different colours so what I usually do is half the mixture and do one colour then make a second half size batch in a different colour. Half the size mix is ample for one child making a decent adult fist size ball.

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First measure all the ingredients out and put them in your pan, the more food colouring you add the brighter the colour will be but just bear in mind that by adding more you may find the colour leaks a little from the playdough, especially when it’s warm and can then stain the hands a little. I tend to add a small capful of colouring and some colours take better than others.

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Next you want to very gently heat the mixture and stir it continuously. It looks like a big gloopy mess at first but very quickly it will glue up and form a dough like mixture. You will see it getting dryer with the heat, that’s when you want to take it off the heat, gather it up with your hands and just knead it a little into a smooth dough but be careful as the mixture is hot!

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I used the same amount of colour for both the green and red but as you can see the green is a much lighter shade than the red. The two balls are about the same size as my fist, perfect for little hands. It will stay soft and useable as long as it is kept in an airtight container when not in use, otherwise it hardens and goes grainy but then it’s so cheap and easy to make creating new batches is not too much of a problem.

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And here they are playing with their dough within ten minutes of me making it, an hour later and they’re still going strong and have even decided to share a little of their colours with each other 🙂

I wish a Happy Summer Holidays to all of you out there with kids at home to occupy, I hope that you have a fun and fairly peaceful few weeks!

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I’m not all that sure what’s going on with this page, I recognise elements in it while others are as of yet a mystery to me but it is what it is. The next Journal Fodder exercise is looking at operative words in your writing, discovering them and then working from one of them.

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I ended up working with was as it has featured a lot lately in my personal writing and journalling. I’ve spent a lot of time this last few months thinking and reflecting on the past, how things were and have gotten me to the point I am at today while trying to encourage myself to think about both myself and others with love and light and to let go of negativity and resentment that may still be lingering. It’s hard to do but I know that I wouldn’t like to be receiving that kind of mental and emotional energy from others.

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This is my favourite part of the page, when I was doing it I thought it was a tree though it seems more like a mushroom or fungus now, particularly with the red one to the right. For me it symbolises resilience and the ability to grow whatever the conditions, making the best of the sometimes dark and less than perfect conditions. It was a fairly quick page that I played with this morning with no plan other than to make marks and follow my intuition with adding what felt right. It’s more and more how I work at the moment and it’s so much more freeing to my creativity and enjoyment. It stops me judging and criticising what I create, instead just letting it be what it wants to be.

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This week has been one of those crazy busy ones, the type that feels non-stop, the sort that even when you’re asleep you’re busy and not resting.

With the school year coming to an end and the kids breaking up for the holidays next Wednesday there has been a lot on from summer fayres to talent shows, parent teacher consultations to sports days, it feels like the list is never ending this week at least.

It’s also been a scorcher, it always happens that way, we’ve spent ages hoping for warmer weather after such a long cold winter and spring but when it finally arrives it goes from one extreme to the other. As nice as it is to have the sun out and shining down I don’t appreciate being made to sweat so profusely from it’s heat I feel like I’m constantly sticky and damp!

Thanks to the sheer busy nature of this week I’ve gotten precious little done creatively, or so it seems to me.  I did get a nice bit of writing done earlier in the week but things have otherwise been lacking and I’ve been exhausted come the evenings.

Then it happened that on Thursday I was reminded of something I have been on and off thinking of doing for a long time; letting my hair dread. It reignited the urge in me to do it and I ended up starting them last night, just baby ones but they’re pretty nifty, if a little loose.

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I have around 40 of them made using the twist and rip method which I will not let just develop naturally. Had I not been sure I would just brush my hair without thinking I would have tried going for all natural development from the off but I really needed them to have a helping hand. Of course they’re going to change and shrink as they mature but I’m kinda excited to see just how they will grow in my hair.

That’s about it for my week, I’m hoping for a bit more productivity next week, at least for the first half before the kids break up for summer!

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The first exercise in the second section of Journal Fodder 365 is to pick and work with a random word. As it happened I had just finished reading a book so flipped it open and blindly pointed, the word I was destined to work with, it seemed, was HOLE.

My immediate reaction to this word was a reminder of my depression and the dark hole I seem to fall into when I have one of my ‘downers’. I think the reason for this is because I have been thinking about and analysing my swings now that I’m on the up-side of life and not struggling with it anymore. I ran with this, first visually and then in writing, the hole itself being built on the place first, outlined with string so that it is raised.

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I added mixed media to create texture and colour outside of the hole and filled it with symbolism while the hole itself was left both black and smooth. I then stood back from what I had created intuitively and wrote about it (the visuals weren’t planned consciously to be a certain way, I just let them happen and then deciphered what they meant to me). I then wrote about how the image made me feel and in turn my response to the word HOLE.

I had planned to trim the edges of the paper layer I added for texture but decided, in the end, I liked the rough, semi translucent and un-uniform effect it gave as it was. It seemed to fit the life representation, which, let’s face it, is never neat and precise in it’s colour and chaos.

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I have a couple of random double pagers from my Moleskine to show this morning. I find it amusing to look and see how my thought processes develop without me even realising at the time. First we have two unrelated single pages, the left hand side is still a work in progress and just becoming a random mix of elements as I find them and they relate to the general feeling of loneliness and being forgotten I had hanging around when I started it. Of course the entire mood of the page could change before it’s finished, who knows what will happen.

The right side are receipts from my local library following a recent couple of visits and me borrowing some books. I don’t really go down there much anymore as I dislike the changes that were made in there to ‘modernise’ it, not to mention that there’s precious little down there since the place is so small. I think that’s probably why all the receipts are just bundled on top of each other with little care, it says a lot about my feelings towards the place now. I also just realised (while re-reading the post for typos) that my choice of words add to that… BOOK IT!! was put there for one reason but actually makes more sense to me in saying ‘let’s get out of here’.

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Then this page happened directly after, because despite what I think about the library I do love to read. You’ll also notice my word for the month in there; PLAY. It was in fact the only word and element on the dark green backing for weeks until the rest of the page appeared around it. It reads:

The world comes alive when you…think, read, play, create.

I must admit that I’m enjoying using the moleskine a lot, I love the size and feel of it and am sorely tempted to buy more to use all the time. For some reason I find it easier to dip into using it than my handmade ones but we’ll see if I continue to feel that way once it is full of Journal Fodder.

 

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