Thursday 11 September 2014

21 FREE Creativity tips and art ideas

Amelia Critchlow over at experimental art has very kindly put together a 21 day free creativity tips and art ideas programme to inspire and get the creative juices flowing. Here are my contributions so far:

Day 1 - collect 10 things which inspire you visually:

Day 2 - go on a photo walk:

Day 3 - alter a map:

In my map alteration, I photocopied part of an Ordnance Survey map of North Skye and traced around my foot, cut it out and hand stitched a trail walk I did whilst on holiday, I also added in the hand stitched heart to represent my love for this beautiful part of the world.

Whilst on a late afternoon walk down on the beach, I took this photograph of my daughter and one of our dogs (Jasper), I really like the soft light and the joyful connection captured between the two of them:

Saturday 9 August 2014

Friday 1 August 2014

August Break Day 1

The August Break is back again, it's a project run by Susannah Conway and in her words  "the idea is to take a photograph every day for the whole of August. This is a community project that has no real rules –  the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there. If it’s the summer where you are it’s a lovely way to be present to the moments that will be gone before you know it. If it’s the winter, what better way to liven up your day than with a creative project to play with? :)

You can use any camera. You could shoot every day or every other day or just on weekends. You can share your photos or just enjoy taking them without sharing. You can start and not finish. You can join in at the end."

For each day there is a theme, today it's "lunch". So, here is todays lunch:

Sunday 20 July 2014

10 a day - Day 9

After Wednesday's upset about my cat dying unexpectedly, I've been very much out of sorts and I've not been keeping up and recording my daily de-clutter items. However, I have done a little bit of catch up and tried to get back on track with it.  Yesterday a furniture collection service picked up for free an old coffee table and chair, these are the largest items so far to be de-cluttered on this challenge and  I've been de-cluttering smaller items as well.

The house is still feeling a little bit upside down, we have the plasterer coming in tomorrow to put a ceiling back in the bathroom. The workmen have finished sanding and varnishing the hallway and back-room, the next job is for us to paint the hallway and gloss the skirting boards in the backroom.


Whilst the hallway and backroom are looking very spacious without any furniture in them, the same can't be said for the front sitting room, which is currently housing furniture out of the hallway and backroom.

We've managed to squeeze in the dresser from the hallway and the backroom TV stand, coffee table, various lamps and a nest of tables. 

I mentioned to the other half yesterday that if Bella were still here, she would have had a field day ay by now in the front room, she would have been sitting in the drawers which are currently sat on top of the dresser and would have squeezed herself inbetween the rest of the furniture.  She was one of those cats that would "pop up" anywhere and everywhere in the house, life is just not the same without her.

Bella snuggled up in the duvet at the bottom of the bed, one of her favourite sleeping places in the house.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

A beautiful mystery

....she left us in the same way she found us, full of mystery and in an unpredictable fashion.

Two years ago this week, a beautiful little stray cat turned up on our door-stop and decided to make her new home with us.  Despite already having a cat and two dogs, this didn't deter her in the slightest on moving in and whipping her new owners into shape.

She had a short life, but the life she had with us was full of love, joy and curiosity. We named her Bella when she first arrived, these are the first pictures I took of her:

She was indeed a cat full of curiosity, one of favourite places was to be in the kitchen, and if there was a cupboard door left open, she would be in it.

After making herself at home in the spice cupboard, I quickly nick-named her "Spice" as this fitted her personality much better.

Where she came from and what her past held was full of mystery.

Her passing was full of mystery.

One of the workmen found her outside our front gate this morning, he didn't want to move her so quickly found my other half (Mark) who picked her up and realised all was not well. I had gone out shopping and had just driven up outside the house to see her in her Mark's arms, I ushered him into the car and drove to the vets, but by this time it was too late, she had passed away.  There wasn't any visible signs of injury to her body, we don't think she could have been hit by a car thankfully. She must have died from natural causes is the only conclusion we can arrive at.

She managed to get herself home to be found, she was once lost, then found.

Dear Spice, you have given us all such wonderful happy memories of you. I feel very honoured that you chose us to live out your days with us. You were deeply loved, and brought me much joy, but I suspect you already knew that, that's why you chose to stay.

For a small cat, you have left a massive hole in my heart, and it is me who is now feeling a little lost without you. 

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Day 4 of the 10 a day

I forgot to post yesterday, here's what I decluttered:


And today's items:

I'm a fan of The Hoarder Next Door, which is a documentary on Channel 4. Psychotherapist Stelios Kiosses and a team of expert de-clutterers come to the aid of extreme hoarders in a bid to change their lives and homes.  There are many reasons why people hoard,  one reason is because of emotional attachment, the object has an emotional meaning. This takes many forms, including the sentimental association of things with important persons, places, or events, something most people experience, just not to the same degree. Another common form of emotional attachment concerns the incorporation of the item as part of the hoarder”s identity getting rid of it feels like losing part of one's self.

I thought about why I declutter, there are many reasons, one of those reasons is stress brought on by house renovations.  A few days ago, we discovered a leak in our bathroom, the source of the leak was from our wet room in the top floor en-suite. The other half decided the easiest option was to take down the entire  bathroom ceiling as he already had to dismantle part of it to try and ascertain where the leak was coming from. 

This is what my bathroom looked like on Saturday:

We took all the debris to the local tip on Saturday and I started the clean up job yesterday, 3hrs and 30 mins later of non stop cleaning meant the bathroom was pretty much restored to its original condition, with some exceptions, namely no ceiling in place and a dirty carpet which I can't get clean.

I found this unexpected leak stressful as we are currently having a bit of upheaval "downstairs" as we have had to cram furniture out of the back room into the front room as workmen arrive tomorrow to sand the back room floorboards and hallway.  It was interesting to note what my triggers are around de-cluttering and maybe if Stellios ever decides to do a programme on extreme "de-clutterers" I may feature in it! ;o) 



Sunday 13 July 2014

Day 2 of 10 a day

In today's 10 items to declutter, I included a stash of newspapers, foil cartons, a small selection of baking ware, a small paint match pot, a toy mouse, stash of plastic bags.

 Clearing out the foil cartons and baking ware from my pan cupboard prompted me to give it a clean out and tidy up, it's looking cleaner and more spacious:

Saturday 12 July 2014

Getting back on track

I often notice that I will start challenges of various kinds and find it very hard to maintain them, whether that be art challenges, diet or exercise challenges. Maybe it's because some of the challenges I've set myself in the past aren't hitting my core values, and, to be honest, I think my list of core values needs to be revisited so I will do some journalling/visioning work around that. 

One core value that always keeps popping up for me is space and tidiness, I always feel so much better when my living space is de-cluttered and tidy. This has been a bit of a challenge recently with both young adults being back at home for the holidays and managing a 9 month old puppy who loves to drag her toys around the house and dump them wherever she chooses. Not to mention the other half of the act who leaves his tools around the place when he is doing DIY!

A guiding phrase  I set myself for this year was "White Space" and this has involved alot of decluttering, including letting go of bookcases, alot of books and decorating, it's a work in progress. To keep myself aligned with the core values of  my guiding phrase, today I decided to commit to two challenges for this month:

  • declutter 10 items a day for the next week
  • do not bring any new plastic bags into the home for the rest of the month

These are the items I decluttered today, which have found their way into a bag to go to the Charity shop.

Monday 7 July 2014

A day when we decide to listen to our hearts

"There comes a day when each of us decides to put fears and excuses aside. A day when we decide to listen to our heart – and follow it. And a day when we decide to take those first small steps towards making our wildest dreams come true.

Let today be that day for you."

I saw the above image and words from the Do What You Love blog.

If I were to listen to my heart and follow it I would:

* downsize
* move to a more rural setting
* have a really big garden/small piece of land to keep chickens, grow fruit/veg and flowers for cutting
* have a small floristry business using my home grown flowers
* have a therapy room in the garden
* have a hot tub
* have a pond
* a waterfall
* a herb garden
*a garden swing hanging from a large tree
* tree-house
*own or have a part share in a canal boat
* own a vintage sports car
* have a garage to house said vintage sports car
*write a fairy story with my own illustrations
*learn to play the cello
*be part of a sewing bee

                                      *And So It Is*

What do your dreams look like?..........I would love to know

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Home for nature

I came across an advert for the RSPB in a magazine yesterday entitled "If there's no home for nature"

I was particularly struck by the image of the starling overlooking a concrete jungle and I was reminded how lucky I am to have a garden to help nature along a bit.

I planted a delphinium in the garden the other day as they attract the bees and found this little bee yesterday busy doing what bees do!

I love to watch my garden visitors from my kitchen window and I have noticed this lovely little female blackbird has been a regular visitor to the bird table over the last couple of weeks. She has a poorly claw which stops her from putting her weight on it for more than a few seconds, and some of her feathers look a bit bedraggled so I'm not sure if she got herself  into a bit of a scrape. 

Another regular is this cute little fellow:

And this afternoon it was time for the big guns to arrive:



Monday 16 June 2014

Index Card A Day

I've been following the prompts for the Index Card A Day Challenge but wasn't really enjoying it, I didn't feel like I was having fun. So, I've decided to continue but work with my own theme, and as I have always loved Quentin Blake's illustrations, I decided to use them as inspirations for my index cards:

Girl with a crimson balloon

Boy doing a handstand

Birds on the wire

I particularly enjoyed drawing the birds on the wire, they look very cheeky to me!

Whilst on the subject of birds, I came across a wonderful piece of beach art whilst walking the dogs this evening:

Wednesday 11 June 2014

ICAD Day 11

Found a sweet holly leaf on the lawn earlier this afternoon so decided to use it as a prompt for the index card a day project.

Not entirely happy with the end result, some of the lines are too thick and not as dainty as I would have liked....but I still enjoyed the process.

Here's the real thing:

Saturday 7 June 2014

ICAD Day 7

The prompt for Day 7 is "Yellow".  I decided to interpret Van Gogh's Sunflowers on a postcard using acrylics. 

Sunflowers had a special significance for Van Gogh. He made seven versions of them.
Yellow, for him, was an emblem of happiness – in Dutch literature, the sunflower was a symbol of devotion and loyalty. In their various stages of decay, these flowers also remind us of the cycle of life and death.

Thursday 5 June 2014

ICAD Day 5

I'm participating in the Index- Card- A -Day Challenge which you can learn more about at daisyyellow.

The challenge started on June 1st, and the idea is to create something on a 3x5" index card every day for 61 days. If you start after June 1 you do not need to catch up, just start. You can do more at the end if you wish. But get going, that is what is important.

The spirit of the challenge is to create one card each day, a little art each day works to instill new creative habits. There are prompts to follow each day if you choose, the prompt for Day 5 being Galaxies.

My index card was inspired by Coldplay and their song entitled "Yellow". It's a mixture of spray inks, acrylic and glitter.

Monday 3 March 2014

A face revisited

When I posted my first face as part of the 29 Faces Challenge, a visitor suggested sketching the face again at the end of the challenge, I thought this was a good idea, and so I did.

Here is the original sketch:

Post 29 Faces challenge - the same face:

And here is the photo I used as a reference for my sketch:

Mike Scott

Friday 28 February 2014

29 Faces Day 28

I've been decorating my moleskine diary/journal for part of the Documented Life Project. This is the front cover,  but it looked nothing like this earlier on today, it was a mass of stencilled designs with flower doodles, however, it just didn't feel right, so out came the gesso and after several more layers of reworking I opted for a face, seemed the easiest option. I never imagined that I would consider drawing a face an easy option, but after the 29 faces challenges I certainly have more confidence in this area, whether it be a whimsical style or a pencil sketch of a "real" person.

This particular girl was inspired by Suzi Blu, she has a very distinctive style in folk-art and sylized girl's faces, she's a little whacky too so I find watching her videos a little distracting at times, but she is very sweet and generous with her work.

I've not quite finished her dress but it needs to be pretty because I will be looking at it for the rest of the year!

Thursday 27 February 2014

29 Faces Day 27

Young Woman In A Blue Blouse

I couldn't resist another Matisse offering and today the young woman in a blue blouse gave me inspiration.  This ended up a bit of a mixed media affair - prismacolor and watercolours.

Working with a limited colour palette really simplifies things and helps takes the stress out of this challenge, and I notice how relaxed I am feeling after working with the colour blue.

Do you find working with a particular colour therapeutic?

I also ran her through a photo editor, added a blue tone and a water effect with a  blue frame, I quite like the dreamy quality it gives her.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

29 Faces Day 26

Sid James

As a child, my favourite films were the Carry On films, a particular favourite of mine is Carry On Cab which I regularly watch on dvd. A favourite line from this film always makes me chuckle is by Sid in his character as Charlie Hawkins - "when you get to be a cab driver you cut yourself right off from the rest of the human race. Everybody's got it in for you and nobody loves you. In no time at all you find that you're about as popular as a wickerwork seat in a nudist camp, and you know what sort of impression that makes on people"