In My Studio

This is what has been happening in my studio lately.

A whimsical page in my art journal.

Believe art journal page

A project from Danielle Donaldson’s video Watercolor Illustrations

and one from her book Creative Girl.

Patchwork cushions made from the little packets of fabric remnants I bought at a craft fair a few weeks ago.

patchwork cushions

Writing Update:
I have finished the first draft of The Air That I Breathe. It feels good to finally have the story out of my head and in the computer. Lots of work still to do, but I am looking forward to working some more with the characters I have come to know so well.

In my studio

My small studio in our garden warms quickly once the sun comes out and it is a pleasure to go out there on these cold winter days and lose myself in creative bliss.

I painted a couple more watercolour flowers for my garden journal, but after a few days my flower a day project gave way to some mixed-media painting on canvases. I will definitely be painting more watercolour flowers in the spring when our garden starts blooming with the seeds we saved and planted from last year – poppies, larkspur, snapdragons and foxgloves.

cornflowers

busy lizzies

Although I enjoy trying new things, I always seem to return to mixed-media. I just love being able to combine all my favourite things – paints and inks and scrapbook papers and fibres and fabrics and embellishments and collage and texture – together in one piece.

butterfly

Last weekend I went to a local fair where crafters were selling their unwanted supplies at bargain prices. I got some lovely fabrics, fibres, tapes, a broken string of beads and a mini kraft album, all for next to nothing. I think the fair was a great idea to give crafters a chance to have a clear out of their stash. One man’s trash is definitely another man’s treasure!

This month I signed up for Kelly Rae Unscripted with Kelly Rae Roberts. It is weekly painting videos of Kelly Rae painting in her studio. Each video is between one and three hours long and is unedited, showing her painting process from beginning to end as she creates a new mixed-media piece each week. She has a wonderful studio space in an old repurposed high school in Portland, Oregon. Sometimes she has her English bulldog, Lulu Butter Butter Bean, in the studio with her, and sometimes she has a guest painting alongside her. The videos are fun to watch. I am learning a lot of different techniques and getting loads of inspiration. Click here to learn more about Kelly Rae Unscripted, and here for Kelly Rae’s website.

Kelly Rae Roberts

For those of you who are wondering about my next book, there is also lots of writing going on. An update about that soon.

Treasure The Memories

This is one of my favourite photographs of my grandmother. It would have been taken in the 1930s when she was in her twenties, before she married. I love her dress; I wish I knew what colour it was. Although when I think of my grandmother, I always think of her as old, I can see her in the face of this young woman, gentle and reflective.

For this scrapbook page I used ribbon, lace, paper flowers and butterflies, and beads from a broken vintage necklace. To honour my grandmother’s love of gardening, I added pressed flowers from my garden – alyssum, feverfew and pansy.

 

Wildflower Meadow

I hope all the mums out there had a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday. It was a beautiful autumn day here, continuing our run of amazing autumn weather.

I made my mum this mixed-media picture using watercolour and inking techniques from Jane Betteridge’s book Watercolours Unleashed. After the background was dry, I added pressed flowers and leaves from my garden, and a few butterflies cut from scrapbook paper.

wildflower meadow

Jane Betteridge does the most beautiful watercolour painting, using nature as her inspiration. I was so pleased to have discovered her book. You can see her lovely work on her website at www.janebetteridge.com.

Granddad

Originally posted on my Wattle Lane blog.

My granddad was a special person in my life. Although, while I was growing up, we lived quite a distance from my grandparents, we would have a family holiday with them once a year, and I have some very fond memories of those holidays. Eventually we moved closer to them and, for the last few years of my grandfather’s life, he lived just around the corner from us.

I remember him as a kind, gentle man with a great sense of humour and, what we thought at the time, some crazy ideas, always trying to come up with new inventions and ways of making his fortune.

To me, he was an inspiration. He could play the piano by ear, never having learnt music, a skill I always envied. He took up painting later in life, creating many lovely works of art. I often wonder if I inherited my creative genes from his side of the family. His sister, my great-aunt, was also an accomplished pianist, as well as dabbling in many different crafts. My mother sewed all our clothes when we were young, taught me how to knit and to do tapestry and cross-stitch, wrote pieces for magazines, and has encouraged me in all my creative endeavours.

Creating this scrapbook page of my grandfather when he was young seemed like the perfect opportunity to use these tiny playing cards that I have had for a while.

I have always loved this photograph of Granddad taken during the years of the Second World War. The music-themed background paper seemed perfect for celebrating his love of piano music.The background paper with the poem and the bird was a free artist paper from the Somerset Studio magazine. I added the green ribbons and stitching to add a pop of colour to the layout.

I have many more photos of my grandfather taken over the years with his family, which I am looking forward to putting into scrapbook layouts to document his life and to remember the wonderful man who I was fortunate to have called my granddad.

Look For The Magic

This art journal page reminds me to look for the magic in the everyday (or night). A full moon surrounded by swirls of violet cloud, a garden bathed in moonglow, the brilliant light from a distant star, the changing colours of the seasons as trees shed their leaves and plants lie dormant, then a new cycle of growth begins all over again. The feelings of comfort and belonging inspired by a little cottage; a sense of home, of occupying my own little place in the universe.

Look for the Magic

In My Studio

Craft Studio

I have been doing Danielle Donaldson’s online art workshop, All Creatures Lovely and Small, learning to draw and watercolour whimsical creatures and create mixed-media story blocks. Good fun!

He’s not quite finished yet. I still have to add some embellishing around the pup.

Lavender, rosemary and peppermint picked fresh from the garden bring the aromatic scent of herbs into the studio.

Finn keeps me company while he has his chew.

Once the echinaceas have finished flowering outside, their seed heads make an interesting arrangement indoors.

echinacea seed heads

Beach Wall Hanging

This little wall hanging was inspired by a recent visit to Waimarama Beach. I rummaged around in my stash of fabrics for blues and golds to accent the colours in the photograph. I sewed them onto a burlap background with wavy lines of stitching, then sewed on strips of ribbon and trim, and added some buttons and some driftwood and shells from the beach. Hanging from the bottom are vintage tassels I found at a recent antiques fair.

beach wall hanging

Finn had a wonderful time chasing his toy, then burying it in the sand. He even found a playmate. Although he loves to swim in the river, he has always been a little hesitant about going into the ocean. But on this day he was happy to follow Nick into the water, and to retrieve his toy from the shallow waves.

Pressed Flower Journal

flower journal

I love collecting flowers from our garden, and wildflowers from our walks, to press and use in craft projects. It is always interesting to see, after they have been pressed between the pages of a book for a few weeks, what they will turn out like. Some hold their colour much better than others. I find that blue and purple ones seem to hold their colour well, while red and pink often seem to fade quickly.

I bought this lovely journal a couple of years ago and have been saving it for a special project. When I thought about keeping a record of the pressed flowers, the journal seemed like a perfect place to keep them. I simply attached a few of each of the flowers to the pages with washi tape, and wrote the names below on a strip of masking tape. These are a few of the flowers that I have pressed over the last two or three months.

pansies

wildflowers2

larkspur

white clover

violas

radish flowers

cornflowers

lobelia

lavender

feverfew

daisies

wildflowers

pansies

alyssum

I’m looking forward to filling up the rest of the pages as different plants come into flower over the seasons.

Patchwork Paper Hearts

I love making patchwork. There is something satisfying about cutting up pieces of fabric or paper and joining them back together to make something new. Patchwork quilts fill me with joy, pretty fabrics joined together to make lovely, functional pieces. Pretty scrapbook papers fill with me with just as much joy, and collaging these paper hearts was a good way of using up some scraps I had left over from other projects.

I began by tearing random shapes from the scrapbook papers. I glued them all onto a sheet of paper with mod podge, then glued little pieces of ribbon and fibres on top.

After the glue had dried, I turned the collaged paper over and drew random shaped hearts on the back.

I cut out the hearts and arranged them on a page in my art journal, on which I had already painted a background with watercolour paints and added a strip of paper lace. I wrote sentiments onto paper, cut out the words, inked the edges and added them to my page.

 

Valentine’s Art Journal Page

Amore

I have had this wonderful vintage postcard in my collection for a while now and thought it would be perfect to use on a Valentine’s Day project. I began by layering and handstitching together pretty fabrics and lace as a frame for the postcard. For the background I did some stenciling, inked around the edges of the page, then added some washi tape, buttons, ribbon and paper hearts. A little tag with a sentiment and a tiny paperclip finished it off.

Mini Canvas Art

Lately I have been having fun creating mixed-media art on mini canvases that measure just 4 inches square. They have cute little easels to stand them on, too. For this trio, I wanted to create something light and breezy to reflect the beautiful summery weather we are having at the moment. I used watercolour paint, texture paste with a flower stencil, pressed flowers from our garden, butterflies cut from scrapbook paper, plastic mesh, some colourful fibres, and a few sparkly rhinestones for the centers of the stenciled flowers.

 

 

mini canvases1

 

mini canvases2

mini canvases3

Make A Wish

Make a Wish

When I saw this pretty scrapbook paper from Kaisercraft’s Fairydust collection, I knew I had the perfect photo to go with it. It was one that Nick took a few years ago that I have always loved. I added some honeycomb stencilling, ribbons and fibres, vintage lace, chipboard embellishments, and a few splashes of watercolour paint.
I hope this little garden fairy has added some whimsical delight to your day!

Dandelion, puffs away,
Make my wish come true someday.

 

Paper Snowflakes

Originally posted on Wattle Lane
paper snowflakes

While I was writing Christmas in Wattle Lane, I decided to have a go at making paper snowflakes, like Lily, one of the characters from the book. I looked at several tutorials on YouTube, and found that this one was the easiest to follow. Click here to see the tutorial. It took me a while to get the hang of the folding and cutting, but once I did I had fun with making different shapes. Each one is unique depending on the cuts that you make.

paper snowflakes

I practiced with making them out of computer paper. You can make four snowflakes out of one sheet. Once I felt I had mastered the technique, I made a few out of a pretty vellum paper that had a delicate pattern on it. Then I added a pearl embellishment to the centre of each and looped a piece of baker’s twine through one of the holes of each snowflake to hang them from.

paper snowflake

They can be slightly addictive. Once you feel confident about making them, you keep wanting to make more to see what different patterns you can make.

Christmas In My Studio

My craft studio, at the moment, is in a state of creative Christmas chaos as I make Christmas ornaments and Christmas cards, and birthday cards for family members who have birthdays around Christmas.

Nick helped me to make this inspiration pin board. We bought a cork board and covered it in quilting batting and my favourite purple coloured fabric. At the moment it is mostly covered in Christmas related things, including pages of inspiration from my favourite papercraft magazine, Somerset Studio.

Finn has claimed the chair as his own and dares me to try and move him off it!

Ancestor Christmas Ornaments

Originally posted on Wattle Lane

Ancestor Christmas OrnamentsWe often think of our dearly departed at Christmas time and wish they were with us to join in the family festivities. These little ornaments were fun to make, using scraps and bits and pieces from my craft supplies. I used copies of old photographs of my great-aunt and my aunt, who are no longer around to share the festive season with us, but by hanging these ornaments on the tree, it feels as though they are a part of our Christmas. You can even use vintage photographs of ancestors whom you’ve never met. Hang the ornaments from the branches among the other decorations and turn your Christmas tree into a living family tree.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament2I made these ornaments by gluing squares of burlap to cardboard, then adding random touches of gesso and acrylic paints around the edges. I adhered the photos to corrugated cardboard and placed them on the burlap. Next I added scraps of vintage lace doilies, buttons, ribbon, wooden stars, beads, and embellishments. Once I was happy with the layouts, I glued everything down. I printed sentiments onto paper, added a few random splashes of colour and adhered them to the ornaments. Then I punched holes through the tops, attached ribbon, and they’re ready to hang on the tree or across the mantle.

Ancestor Christmas Ornament1I also made one of our beloved Cody, who passed away three years ago, but is always in our hearts and minds.

Christmas ornament1

Halloween Mixed-media Art Journal Page

A Visit From The Ancestors

Halloween mixed-media art journal page

This page in my art journal was made using scrapbook papers, fabrics, chalk, paper lace, and a metal embellishment.
A while ago I was given some quilt fabrics. There were several black pieces with designs of silver stars and swirls, and were perfect for including in this project.

The All Hallow’s Eve scrapbook paper is from Graphic 45’s Time to Flourish collection.

The ancestor pictures are from Kaisercraft’s Betsy’s Couture collection.

The picture of the haunted house is from The Graphics Fairy, which is a great resource for free vintage images, crafting ideas and tutorials.

I love that in my art journal I can tell a story in pictures rather than words.

Inside My Studio

It’s so nice to have everything organized in my studio now, so much easier to have everything in one place instead of scattered around the house. With the birds singing outside and sunshine flooding the room, it really is a pleasant place to work and play.

The Holly Hobbie quilt hangs over the front of the cabinet, hiding the boxes of craft supplies.

This chest of drawers, already full of crafting paraphernalia, was shifted from the house out to the studio.

The shelves that Nick built hold my books, journals and magazines, art projects, seeds, jars of buttons and beads, scrapbook papers, and knick knacks.

A small seating area for relaxing and for writing. The seat lifts up to provide handy storage underneath. The country style cabinets at either side came from Storage Box. They fit in the space perfectly. The baskets are made from water hyacinth and are great for keeping fabrics in.

IMG_4680

This is my latest work in progress, a new quilt I am making for our bed. It is a simple design of patchwork squares in colours of greens and browns. I just have to finish quilting the top and then sew on the binding.

The quilt draped over the back of the chair was the first one I ever made, at a beginner’s class I went to about ten years ago.

I like to listen to the radio while I am crafting. Magic FM is my favourite radio station, which plays songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

When it gets too hot outside, Finn comes in and lies under the table.

The view from the French doors on this sunny spring morning.

Keepsakes Box

I often keep cardboard boxes that things have come in, thinking that they might be useful for storage. This one was a particularly nice, sturdy box.

After having it sit around for quite some time, I decided to embellish it and use it as a keepsakes box.
I decorated it with scrapbook papers, die cuts, fabric trims, buttons, and inspirational phrases.

Now I have a lovely box for my keepsakes.

keepsakes box