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.

Character Journal

I love when the back to school sales are on and I can stock up on stationery for my writing. When I saw these Kraft notebooks with dividers advertised in the Whitcoulls flyer I thought they would be perfect for character journals. I bought an A4, an A5 and a set of 4 small tabbed notebooks.

The best part is that they have plain brown covers, perfect for decorating. I decorated the A5 notebook with scrapbook papers and embellishments.

Each section is dedicated to a character in my novel, where I can bring them to life as I record detailed descriptions of their appearances, their homes, their families, their history, their likes and dislikes. I also include pictures of things related to their lives such as  the houses they might live in. I love to browse through real estate guides and choose each character a home according to their personality. For my main character, her garden plays an important part in her story, so in her section I am including stickers and pictures of things she might have in her garden.

When I am writing a novel, I find that taking time out to do crafty things like this helps to make the whole process of novel writing so much more fun, and it helps me really get to know my characters.

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.

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

Vintage Scrapbooking

Recently my dear Aunty Jo passed away, aged 80 years old. She was a very close member of our family and is dearly missed by us all.

Very skilled at handcrafts, she was seldom seen without her knitting at her side. When we were little, she would knit us beautiful cardigans and jerseys, and make lovely clothes for our dolls. She embroidered tablecloths, and stitched tapestries that adorned the walls of her home. In later years she learned to quilt and made each of us beautiful patchwork quilts for our beds. It was she who inspired me to take up quilting, a hobby I quickly became hooked on. Right up until the last few months of her life, Josephine was knitting clothes for the prem babies at our local hospital, and blankets for the orphans in Romania.

I wanted to honour Aunty Jo’s memory by creating pages that reflected her love of crafts. I used vintage doilies, lace, and buttons that once belonged to her. The photographs are layered with patchwork fabrics, and the page borders hand stitched with embroidery floss from her stash of cottons. The little purple rings holding the inchies to the photographs are stitch markers used in knitting.

Josephine

I love seeing her in the old, black and white photographs showing the styles of the times.

Josephine

Her warm personality and sense of humour clearly shine through.

Autumn Journal Page

I love to pick up fallen leaves when we go for walks with Finn. The autumn leaves are such beautiful colours. There is just something about them that I can’t resist, although I am never quite sure what I will do with them once I get them home. More often than not, they will end up being tossed away again. This year, however, I was determined to use some on a journal page.

Although the leaves were already dry when I collected them, I pressed them under a pile of heavy books for a week to flatten them before I used them.

I painted the background of my journal page with watercolour paints, in autumn shades of golds, reds and orange. Then I glued a photo of Finn onto the page and surrounded it with the leaves. I glued the leaves down, then covered them with a layer of mod podge to protect and preserve them. I used scrapbooking letters to spell out the word Autumn.

Autumn Journal Page

Wine Country Quilt Show

Every two years, Pukeora Estate in Waipukurau hosts the Wine Country Quilt Show, which attracts visitors from all over the country. As an avid quilter, (although mine are far from being in the same league as the show quilts), I had been looking forward to the show for a while. As usual, I was amazed at the quality and creativeness of the quilts. From traditional to contemporary, there was something for every taste. I can only imagine how many hours of work have gone into making them.

After admiring the many beautiful quilts, and browsing the vendor’s stalls, I returned home with lots of ideas and inspiration, as well as motivation to complete my own bed quilt, which I am about three-quarters of the way through hand quilting.

I hope you enjoy these pictures of a few of my favourite quilts from the show.

"Arum Bouquets" by Anne Yeo

“Arum Bouquets” by Anne Yeo

"Bugs and Blooms" by Shelagh Barber

“Bugs and Blooms” by Shelagh Barber

"Class of 2013" by Wendy Tavendale

“Class of 2013” by Wendy Tavendale

"Ever After" by Trish Fraser

“Ever After” by Trish Fraser

"Funky Monkeys" by Ros Lusk

“Funky Monkeys” by Ros Lusk

"Growing Up" by Heather Preston

“Growing Up” by Heather Preston

"H.M.S. Endeavour" by Anne Yeo

“H.M.S. Endeavour” by Anne Yeo

"Merry, Merry Snowmen" by Pam Smith

“Merry, Merry Snowmen” by Pam Smith

"Moonglow" by Allie Greenwood

“Moonglow” by Allie Greenwood

"Owl and Pussycat in my Garden" by Lesley O'Rourke

“Owl and Pussycat in my Garden” by Lesley O’Rourke

"Sisters" by Vivienne Franklin

“Sisters” by Vivienne Franklin

"Southern Blue Belle" by Rose Silvester

“Southern Blue Belle” by Rose Silvester

"Sunshine and Shadows" by Pam Ross

“Sunshine and Shadows” by Pam Ross

My 2014 Art Journal

At the beginning of this year, I started a new art journal. I’m using a sketchbook that I bought last year—I just love the cover!

journal1

Inside, I created a title page. I painted the background and stamped on random shapes using bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and a cardboard tube. Then I glued down pictures cut from scrapbook cardstock and cards.

journal2

I journaled my goals for the year—nothing too adventurous, just simple things like gardening, writing and crafts. Oh, and most importantly, adopt a dog! Then, throughout the year, I am going to journal about the things that make me happy, the things that make up my everyday life. It might be places that I visit, things I’ve seen, a book I’ve enjoyed, or flowers that are blooming in my garden.

journal7

journal5

journal6

By the end of the year my journal will be filled with thoughts and imaginings, photographs, drawings, clippings, stickers, and anything else I might want to put in there. It will be like a scrapbook, a way for me to creatively document my year, and at the end of the year I will have a colourful journal of memories.