The Hills Art Market
Memorial Ave. Emerald Vic
Saturday March 10th
9am – 3pm
I’m at it again, market number 2 is less than a week away and this time I feel a little more confident, and a little less organised. So I figure I’d tackle it the way I do life in general, try to be positive and stay up till the wee hours of the morning trying to get shit done. Too easy.
I have another batch of preserved faeries coming along for the ride, a stack of faery artifacts, gemstone jewellery and a few other odd things. I had little fortune scrolls at the last market which were a bit of a hit so I’ll be making more of those again to give away.
Faeries with flower clothing! I’d been wanting to try this for some time and finally I had the chance to so I did and they worked so well. I love Harbard’s faerie’s vest, it suits him so well.
Ok, back to organising.. still need to count stock, price everything, finish another miniature wizard’s nook, wish me luck!
I’m very excited to have finally updated my Etsy shop with a heap of new treasures!
My style has changed over the years and isn’t quite as bright and bubbly as it once was, but now a little darker and weirder.. like my soul. I’ve named my shop ‘Curiouser & Curiouser’. I’m still B.Inspired but I felt the shop needed a different name. Something to attract the strange folk, such as yourself.
You will find preserved faery specimens, miniature cupboards full of curious things, crystal and gemstone jewellery, lots of hanging ornaments and of course I have some cards and prints available too. Still to come is more jewellery, tiny things in bottles, a special edition of soaps in the making.. and some other surprises along the way.
My Etsy shop has never been fully stocked before, only a few items, but since the Mythical Markets I have found myself with lots of wonderful creations and I am just itching to make more.
To celebrate, I am offering free shipping (in Australia) for orders $50 or more! To take advantage of this offer, use the code FREESHIP50 during checkout.
‘You’re entirely bonkers! But I’ll tell you a secret, the best people are’ – Alice in Wonderland
Ah the Mythical Markets. It came, it went, it threw faery dust in my face. It was a whirlwind of curious characters, magical mayhem, and in its entirety it was beautifully bonkers!
Nothing could have prepared me for the craziness ahead, and considering this was my first real life market stall I really, really had no idea what I was in for. I thought I was pretty clever as I’d even remembered to pack tea and coffee, cos you know, I thought I’d have time to make a tea or coffee. Ha! Turns out there were 4 times more visitors than expected! There was a dense sea of people, pirates, faeries and warriors from all universes flooding the tiny Ferny Creek hall and it didn’t stop for 5 hours. The weather was hot and humid, especially inside, and to add to the madness I was taking part in the Faery Quest as ‘The Puzzle Box Lady’ for 2 hours, with an expected 200 players to come through. It was mental, but oh so marvelous!
Thankfully I had two amazing friends to help me, Kerry (of Nieko who also had some of her creations on display) and Jess, because there is no way I could have managed both the stall and puzzle box on my own. At least I had that part covered!
I learnt a few valuable lessons when it comes to preparing a market stall, which I will know for next time. Firstly, when people suggest you set up your stall at home to get an idea of how it will look, do it. Just do it. Don’t think to yourself ‘Meh, can’t be bothered, she’ll be right’ cos she aint be right and you’ll end up fussing about trying to make things fit, make them easy to see (Note to self – must get shelving of some kind) and last minute pricing while customers are gathering! But this is where my awesome friends came in to save the day, they managed the hell out of that stall.
But oh, the lovely people I met! Despite the heat and crowds everyone was in such high spirits and so friendly to talk to. And the costumes.. amazing costumes, I met unicorns, an owl, a gentleman dressed in full armor, demons, goblins, a peacock, just to name a few. (I wish I had photos of them to share)
Playing the Puzzle Box Lady was so. much. fun. Full on at times, but fun all the same! During the Faery Quest players had to find scrolls which had a map leading them to me in this little nook pictured above. I’d tell them I required payment of two blue crystals that ‘grow among the trees’ and send them back outside to search for them. Once they had the crystals I would show them the code on the side of the faery cabinet (above) for them to solve, which would tell them where the key was. The key opened the cabinet door and inside was a symbol they had to show to the gatekeeper at the cabin. How cool is that!? There was much more to the quest, but that was my part. It got pretty crowded in here for a while.
A quieter moment, two mythical beings working out the code.
By the end of the day I was exhausted! I had such a great time though, I feel that little bit wiser now, and inspired by all the beautiful things on display, the wonderful people with their stunning outfits and so happy I was able to be a part of it all.
Now, to get all my remaining stock uploaded to Etsy.. stay tuned!
Another year has flown by and is coming to a close, so it’s time to reflect back and see where I’ve come from, what I have achieved, and where I’m headed.
2017 started off slowly on the creative side of things, I have spent the year at home with my wee little newborn Toby (now 1) and sprouting little young man Oscar who’s four. Needless to say, I’ve been very busy, but as always I’ve managed to find time to myself to get my craft on.
Most of my crafting time this year was spent working towards my very first market stall, something I have been wanting to do for a very long time. An opportunity arose to have a market stall at the ‘Mythical Markets’ which as the name suggests, has a mythical theme.
This is it! And to make matters even more amazing the market was to be held in Ferny Creek, at the exact location I got married, naw! AND to top all that off even more, I’d just finished ‘The Faery in the Key Cabinet’ WHICH the story is based in.. *drum roll*..
Now if that’s not the universe working it’s weird magic and guiding me I don’t know what is. Then, due to severe weather warnings, the market ended up being postponed.
But all is well! It has been rescheduled for January 27th so I have more time to make more lovely things! If you are interested in attending, please follow the link here for more information. Speaking of, here’s a snippet of my collection so far..
There seems to be a bit of an unusual, weird, old, oddity type theme happening here.. so I’m going with that and called me shop ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ curious things for curious souls. I’ve made lots of faery specimens, 11 in total. I also made heaps of gemstone bracelets, oil diffuser bracelets, faery wing earrings, hanging toadstools, dream catchers, faery artifacts, bottles of curious things, butterfly hair clips.. the list goes on! Basically I’ve been living my dream making all the things and it has been pretty bloody brilliant. I intend to do this lots more in 2018. And keep my Etsy shop well stocked, at least I will try!
One of the faery specimens I started over a year ago, it is an interactive artwork called ‘The Faery in the Key Cabinet’. As mentioned earlier, it has a background story based in Ferny Creek. This piece is a mystery: how did the faery get there? Who put her there? And where are they now? There’s a secret code to show you where the hidden key is to open the door, inside you will find letters and clues to help you piece the story together.
I also started yet another hobby earlier in the year.. yes another.. soap making! Starting simple I bought a melt and pour soap making kit and a variety of essential oils to play with. Oh yeah. Good smelly fun. I had a play around and I’m still learning but hopefully next year I’ll give it a go making soap from scratch. For a beginner though, melt and pour is a good starting point.
Another project that I worked very hard on this year was my entry into Toy to the World. This was the 4th TTTW event and exhibition, and also the 4th time I’ve been part of it. This year I entered 2 bears, one 5” bear called ‘Totem’ and one 10” called ‘Funghi Town’
The event was a huge success and I was absolutely thrilled to come 2nd place in the People’s choice awards for my 10” bear and an Honorable mention 4th place for little Totem! Wow! Both bears sold raising $297 between them for the Australian AIDS Council, so I’m pretty stoked about that.
I completed 7 paintings, 2 of which were very tiny. Painting has become risky business with little people around and painting at night isn’t doing my eyesight any favours, so I haven’t been able to paint as much as I’d like.
Above: Toadstool Mansion, Snap Dragon, Cat Lady, Shluggy, Seacrets, Cat in Suit and Mini Toadstool (untitled)
Shluggy and Snap Dragon were both painted for the Dark Crystal Character Competition held towards the end of the year. I didn’t have much time to work on my entry but I was happy I managed to enter something. Characters had to come with a background story, below is my complete entry. Winners are yet to be announced, and the winner may see their character in the upcoming Dark Crystal TV series!
Phew.. I really have been busy. But wait, there’s more..
I was honoured to be the photographer at 3 weddings in 2017. It’s really something else being able to document such a special day, I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to do so. I love weddings!
And just when I thought I couldn’t cram anything more into what has been a fairly productive year, I whipped up some more Karma Stars just in time for Christmas. Thanks to all my amazing friends and followers, I sold just enough to cover the costs of donating a water well to a small village in rural Cambodia – a fundraiser I started last year and was able to complete this year! In total we raised $475 which is incredible! That’s enough to build the well, cover transfer fees and anything left over will remain with the Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children.
The above image is for a well my sister and I donated last year, so you can see what it will look like. Yes there is a slight error in the spelling of my name, which I think is hilarious but they did fix it up so it no longer says ‘Rebella’, not that I mind!
Overall it has been a very productive year and the highlight has been donating the well for sure. I’m so looking forward to the Mythical Markets being held on the 27th of January in Ferny Creek, what a way to start my crafty adventures for 2018! Perhaps I’ll see you there?
I’ve been working merrily away on a miniature Wizard’s cupboard and it’s finally complete! I say finally.. when in fact it only took me a couple of weeks (only working on it for a little bit each day) and it came together quite quickly without any hiccups. Love it when that happens..
I had a little shadow box and wasn’t sure what to do with it.. then good ol’ Pinterest throwing me random suggestions sparked something in my brain and I knew what it had to be. A miniature cupboard with magical things inside! I had so much fun making and collecting all the teeny tiny bits and pieces to bring my magical cupboard to life.
The contents includes bottles, skulls, books, scrolls, a candle, key, crystal ball to name a few.. and there also happens to be some golden treasure hidden in there too.
I secured most of the pieces with blu-tack so they don’t roll around, but also so you can take everything out and explore. Each scroll has something written or drawn on it too. The books are blank though, to write your own notes and secrets.
This little cupboard which I have called ‘The Wizard’s Cupboard’ will be available at my very first market stall, at The Mythical Markets held in Ferny Creek, Victoria on December 2nd.
My bears are complete for Toy to the World 2017!
Meet ‘Totem’ the Animal Spirit Guide and ‘Funghi Town’ where we’re going down, down, down, down, down down down.. to.
These guys will be exhibited at the Toy to the World exhibition being held in Prahran, Melbourne opening night October 11th.
I’m really pleased with the results, they’ve both turned out the way I’d hoped they would. I had no major issues either so that was a bonus.
Materials I’ve used on my vinyl toys are: Acrylic paint, matte varnish, sculpy modeling clay, hot glue, PVA glue, faux moss, faux plastic plants (which I painted) and both are glued to a wooden base.
Totem’s staff is made using a twig, waxed twine, beads, peacock and guinea fowl feathers.
For more info and event details click here.
Toy to the World Project is back for 2017 and I’m really excited to take part in it again. TTTW is a charity event and exhibition that raises funding for HIV support and research. Artists customise a vinyl Popobe bear which are then exhibited and auctioned.
You can read more about the Melbourne based event here.
This years exhibition Opening Night is Wednesday 11th October 2017 @ ArtBoy Gallery 99 Greville st. Prahan from 6pm.
I’m currently working away on two bears, they’re not finished yet but I thought I’d share some progress pics because sooo much detail is going into them. I’m aiming to kick my past years entries’ butts.
This is my set up.. 101 things happening at my computer desk. No shame.
(Desktop Image by Von Wong Photography)
I’m using Sculpey to make all the little toadstools and Derivan Matisse acrylic paints. These will be for the large 10 inch bear.
This little guy is my 6 inch bear. I painted him with acrylic paint (at least 2 coats) and added a protective layer using Jo Sonja’s Matte Varnish. I still need to add the accessories: necklace, staff/wisdom stick and antlers.
To be continued..
I’m at it again, making more of these creepy little critters.. dead mummified faery specimens!
This time around I’ve added a few extra details like jewelry, hair beads and I’m also experimenting with real insect and butterfly wings. The back of each piece will have a label which includes the specimen # and the faerie’s name. (or if unknown it will be the title of the artwork)
Two were recently in an exhibition at Rustic Simplicity in Alexandra, Victoria which is pretty sweet. It’s been a while since I exhibited anything. I’m very excited to say they were both lucky enough to find new homes! So I have since been working merrily away on making lots more. I’m planning to have a market stall later in the year (and maybe one even sooner!?) so it’s nice to have something to work towards. I’ll be/am making lots of other goodies for my stall so I’ll try my best to keep you updated.. or you can always check out my facebook and instagram for behind the scenes pictures.
Of course if you’re not local but are interested in a faery of your own, shoot me a message and I can arrange to put some in my Etsy store.
The Faery in the Key Cabinet.
Or should I say the Mystery of the Faery in the Key Cabinet! But that was too long for the heading. Point is, this little masterpiece holds a secret and it’s up to the possessor to unravel the story..
The story begins with a dead faery locked inside a cabinet. The mystery is, WHO put her there? WHY? And WHERE are they now?
This is a one of a kind, never done before (to my knowledge) interactive mystery artwork! Not only is it a beautifully macarbe and unusual piece to hang on your wall, it has a series of clues to lead you through and find the answers to those mysterious questions.
On the back of the cabinet is an envelope and inside is a letter to the possessor and a newspaper clipping to set the scene.
Each detail is handmade, dyed, written, created and/or designed. (Except for the cabinet, I bought that) Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time working on this little beauty. It has been a work in progress for about a year.
On the side of the cabinet is this secret code which will tell you how to get inside the cabinet. Can you work it out? (I’ve given you a clue by rotating the photo.)
Once inside the cabinet you will find a collection of keys, green moss and the rest of the puzzle. There are diary pages, a scroll and sealed envelope which will lead you to a hidden message to complete the story.
Pretty cool huh!? I think so! I hope to enter her into an exhibition sometime but until then, she’s hanging out with me in my loungeroom.
It’s magical.. it’s rainbow.. it’s unicorn chocolate.
Yeah, you read that right.
Oh my goddess this stuff is super easy to make and you can totally twist the recipe to create anything you wish. Choose your own colours, flavours, sprinkles, dried fruit, nuts, go crazy!
I found this recipe by the delightfuly creative and quirky Katherine Sabbath on her instagram account. She’s the Queen of colourful treats. If you’re not following her you soon will be, check out her amazing talent right here.
For my version of this recipe I used:
(You can find Katherine’s original recipe here.)
Line a tray with baking paper to start with and prepare all your toppings so they’re ready to go.
Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave. I put mine in for about 15 seconds and stirred until completely melted. Add a few drops of food dye at a time. I used pink, blue, then both to make purple and left one container without dye.
Pour melted chocolate onto the tray and swirl using a skewer. I wasn’t able to take pictures because the chocolate was already beginning to thicken so I had to work quickly! Sprinkle on your toppings and put in the fridge to set.
Once it’s ready just break it up into large pieces! I put these into lolly bags for a birthday party but they also make amazing cake decorations!
After making my very first ever batch of soap and still feeling productive.. I washed everything and jumped head first into another batch I wanted to try out.
For this soap I wanted to blend calming, relaxing scents and try adding a natural colour with Brazillian purple clay. I had grand ideas of swirling the purple into a pure white soap but that didn’t happen.
From the soap base sampler pack I chose to use the Shea butter for this soap. I also selected Lavender, Chamomile and Bergamot essential oils, the Brazillian purple clay as mentioned and I remembered a bag of dried lavender I had so what the hell I’ll use some of that too.
I melted down the 500g Shea soap base and figured I’d just use it all in 5 of the 6 x 100g sections of my mould. But THEN I found an old chocolate mould I had and thought I’d try making soaps with that too. Of course once I use the mould for soap I can’t go back and use it for food but that’s ok I hadn’t used it in years. It’s for soaps now.
Before the soap had completely melted I sprinkled some dried lavender into 2 of the moulds. This is all a learning experience for me so I may as well try a few ideas as I go. The other 2 soaps I would sprinkle the lavender on top like I did with the oats on the bee soaps.
Tip: Don’t be too rough trying to scrape down the sides – notice the soap sprayed onto my drawers? At least it’s an easy clean up!
When the soap base had melted I added 10 drops of each essential oil and stirred well. Very carefully I poured the mixture into 4 of the moulds leaving enough room to add some purple. When I poured into the moulds with lavender it immediately pushed the lavender away and I couldn’t see exactly what happened but I knew the sprinkling idea hadn’t worked, the tiny pieces of lavender were probably too light and didn’t stay put. Lesson learned.
I made sure I left some melted soap in the jug and I mixed about 1/2 a tsp of Brazillian purple clay with some water then added it to the left overs. It was a very grey colour to begin with. However by the time I added it to the soaps they had already hardened enough that the purple didn’t mix! It just layered itself on top. I tried poking around with a skewer but it was no use and my swirling idea flew out the window. Lesson 2 learned. That’s ok though, the layer effect would look cool anyway. I added some lavender to the top of 2 of them and let them set. Meanwhile I’d also poured some mixture into the chocolate mould too.
Can you tell what they are?
Time to wait..
24 Hours later was the best part.. popping out my soaps and checking them out! The scent was really strong. It was lovely, but my almost 4 year old didn’t like it one bit. He kept telling me it was too stinky and asked me to take it out of the room. HA!
Here you can see the two bottom soaps had the lavender in the mould and as a result it has dispersed through the soap. I quite like the look of it actually. The one on top obviously had the lavender sprinkled on top which I think I prefer. The other soap I made had the lavender fall off completely so I musn’t have pressed it down into the soap properly or maybe the soap had dried too much. Lesson 3.
All the soaps!
They were teapots and tea cups! Very tiny these soaps are but they’d make good travel size soaps. Perhaps with green tea.. oh so many more ideas to try!
Making soap is one of those things I’ve wanted to try for a long time but the whole corrosive acid thing kinda scared me off.
But recently I started looking into it and it didn’t seem so scary afterall. What’s even better is you can start off with a simple melt and pour method where you melt a pre-made soap base so you avoid using the acid (lye) alltogether. They even come in ready to go starter kits! Excellent.
I still want to try out making soap from scratch but I thought I’d give this a go first. So I went online and ordered me a shit tin of samplers. (For those unfamiliar with Australian slang, a ‘shit tin’ means a lot)
Like a kid in a candy store..
I bought all this from Aussie Soap Supplies and the utensils were from the supermarket.
Pictured above is:
Melt and Pour soap making is just as the name suggests. You melt the soap base, add your scents and colours, then pour the mixture into a mould to set. It doesn’t even need curing, so it’s ready to use once it has hardened.
When I finally had a free afternoon and the kids were asleep and/or occupied I set out to make me some soap. First up was the Oatmeal soap kit.
Please note – The Oatmeal kit came with a fragrance oil which is not an essential oil. Both are different and therefore treated differently so be sure to do some research before using.
For this recipe I used a soap mould that had 5 x 50g sections. (250g total)
I chopped up and weighed 250g of Oatmeal and Shea soap base. Chopping it into little cubes makes it easire to melt. I melted it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time (They say 30 seconds on low but I didn’t know how to change the settings on the microwave so I went with 10 seconds to be safe) in a glass measuring jug, stirring each time. The base melted faster than I expected but also hardened quickly so I had to work fast.
Once melted I added 1 tbls of honey and about 50 drops of Wildflower Honey fragrance oil. Then I spritzed each mould with alcohol and carefully poured the mixture into each 50g bee soap mould. After that I spritzed the soaps with alcohol again to pop the bubbles. I’m not entirely sure why you need to spray the moulds before pouring the soap but that’s what all the youtubers say so I’m going with it. Watch out for the fumes, they stiiink..
As a finishing touch I also sprinkled some oats onto the back of each soap.
I left the soaps for 24 hours before taking them out of their moulds and taking them on a photoshoot.
Ta da! How cool do they look? The smell is divine! The only thing I’d change about this recipe is that I’d prefer to use essential oils. But as a beginner I’m really happy with how these guys turned out.
I have been having a ton of fun playing around with my new watercolour set!
Check out that brush that came with it! I’ve never seen one before. You can take the top off and fill it with water, so as I paint I can give it a squeeze for more liquid, it’s genius! I’m probably the last person to even find out about this but I’m so bloody wrapped I have. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
Oh my goddess, let me tell you – it is so much easier having a palette of paint ready to go when you have children.
I used to wait until I knew I had at leasttwenty minutes to myself then work out the colours I needed, squeeze out paint from each tube and try to use it up before it dried. This was quite difficult to acheive when you’re being interrupted by two sweet little cherubs and a darling husband.
Dry watercolour from a tube can be reused but only as a light coloured wash (in my experience anyway) and it can also become gritty, leaving little chunks of pigment on the painting.
All I have to do now is wet my paint brush and away I go!
And away I have gone indeed. I started off trying to paint a feather which turned out to be tricker than I expected. Next thing I know I’ve painted 20 feathers. Then I just kind of went with whatever inspired me at that very moment.
I might also add that I’ve never had lessons in watercolour, I’ve always made it up as I went. Now I’m starting to look up tutorials on youtube and it’s like I’m seeing with new eyes! Gosh these paints rock!
Fun fun fun!
And what’s this.. a portrait? Not my strong point but I would like practice more. So I did. Do you know who it is?
2016 was a big one for us, with the purchase of our first home in April and the arrival of our second little cherub, Toby! So understandably I was a little slow on the creative side, but I did manage to have a fairly productive year, considering.
I completed four watercolour artworks including two illustrations ‘Caleb Clarke’ and a remake of ‘Darcy Plum’. (the first painting of Darcy had some additional squiggles from my 2 year old) I also painted ‘Windswept’ for a magical fairy gift box and ‘Toby’s Dragon’ for our new little man. And I finally got around to painting toadstools on a piece of wood I had.
Just recently I contributed to a colouring in book for Rafiki Mwema, to raise funds for their children’s home. The book is available now on their website, check it out! The theme was ‘Africa’ so I drew an African warrior goddess to represent the fighting spirit of the young girls living in the Queen’s Castle.
To make up for lack of artworks last year I did do a lot of crafting, so here’s what went down..
I had a lot of fun putting together the Magical Fairy Gift Box! Complete with little letters, trinkets, surprises, and the original artwork ‘Windswept’ hidden in the lid.
DIY’d the hell out of a little chest of drawers for baby, from hubby’s hard rubbish pile to nursery ready.
I made a batch of hanging toadstools, a handful of minis and a few dream catchers. Leading up to Christmas I became all crazy eyed with festivity, making lots of decorations with Oscar and singing carols. Yes, loudly.
Also during the festive season I made a little fund raiser to build a well in cambodia and it was a huge success, selling all my Karma Stars within 48 hours and raising $225!
Not a lot happened on the photography side of things.. but I was a finalist for one of the weekly competitions with Camera House for their theme ‘Family’ with the picture below left. They also used my image from the year before as one of their top favourites, woo hoo!
I attended my first ‘Blog hop’ taking part in the annual Mad Hatters Tea Party by A Fanciful Twist. It was an interesting way to meet other artists and bloggers by inviting them to my online party and popping into all theirs for some virtual tea and cake. Also made for a fun photoshoot.
And finally I entered a ‘through the looking glass’ comp for Threadless, which I didn’t win but I put a lot of work into my entries so I can’t not share it again.
Oh so much work.. but a good learning experience too.
Bring on 2017! I hope to focus more on my Etsy shop and work towards having a market stall at some point. I’d really like to paint a bit more too, but I’ll see how I go being home with 2 kidlets this year, I have a feeling I’m going to be one super busy mama.
To be continued..
I have an amazing friend who has been raising money to build wells in rural Cambodia, enabling the people in remote villages access to clean water. So far she has funded 13 wells and counting.. I’m so proud to know such wonderful people!
Of course, I want to help. So I decided to make some Christmas decorations and try selling them with all profits being donated to building the next well. Each one costs US$230. (About $315 Australian) Even if I only raised a little, something is better than nothing.
I made 10 teracotta coloured clay stars and decorated them with gold leaf, twine and beads. I called them ‘Karma Stars’ because upon purchasing them you instantly get good karma for supporting such a great cause.
As it turns out I sold each and every one for $20 each, in less than 48 hours! Then I realised I can’t count because I’d actually made 11 stars.. but then I sold the extra one too. Go me.
All together we raised $220! Only $95 short of a well but still an amazing effort and certainly more than I can afford to donate on my own right now. I covered the postage with my own money as my ‘donation’ towards the cause. I’m pretty proud of my efforts, and super stoked to know so many generous souls!
If you’d like to help too you can make donations to the Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children.
On Thursday, November 17th at 11:59pm our second son was born. We named him Toby. (The babe with the power)
I’m a very proud mama and can’t help but bomb you with some baby photos, so here’s a few of my favourite pictures of our new little man..
[Equipment used: Canon DSLR 70D with 50mm lens]
Read about my top 5 portrait photography tips here!
Credit: Above photo taken by my 3.5 year old, Oscar! Never too young to start learning.
It’s that time again.. Christmas is coming! Yeah!
As you may know I’m a sucker for Christmas crafts and getting right into the spirit of it. This year we have our very first (big) Christmas Tree! Our little man is 3 1/2 now so Christmas is about to take on a whole new meaning to our growing family and I couldn’t be more excited.
So what better way to get into the Christmas spirit then get our craft on? Also helps when I’m heavily pregnant on maternity leave and need to keep my toddler amused with something that doesn’t use up too much energy.
Together we’ve made two lots of Christmas decorations, some for our new tree and some as gifts.
To make the doves I used wooden dove decorations from last year. If you can’t find any (I bought mine from Oxfam online but they may not have the same type this year) you could make the shapes using air drying clay.
I painted the decorations gold and decided we’d use only gold coloured beads. Because, well, when I’m involved in a collab with my son I tend to take the role of art director. You know, guide his creations so they’re not too ‘fluro macaroni necklace’ type things.
While going through my large collection of beads, bits’n’bobs I ended up gathering all sorts of gold pieces including charms, chains and clips etc.
When everything was set up to go Oscar helped me to apply glue and he added all the gold beads and bits.
Making clay decorations is super easy. You can buy air drying clay at most craft shops and it’s pretty cheap.
All you need to do is roll out some clay and use the cookie cutters to make your shapes. Use a straw to poke a hole in the top for the string.
Now from here you can either leave them to dry overnight as they are, or you can play around with prints on the soft clay. We experimented with some alphabet stamps but I soon realised Oscar was a little young for this as he smushed up lots of the shapes with repetitive stamping. We managed to save one.
Once dry you’re ready to paint the decorations woo! I was going to stick with metalics again but Oscar insisted on green so we added that too. We both had a play painting the decorations, and I may have added some metalic edges to his because I couldn’t help myself. He liked it though 🙂
I added some glue to the Christmas trees and let Oscar add any coloured beads he liked, not just gold this time. I however chose the string and twine.
Ah Halloween is drawing closer.. so as a treat I thought I’d share with you how I make my dead faery sculptures.
When I first tried to make a dead faery I searched the internet and could only find one tutorial, which I have since tweaked to my liking and come up with my own way of making them.
For the Wings:
So far I have displayed my faeries in shadow boxes, jars, a key cabinet and I’m currently working on a display box with a glass lid and a lantern. For the shadow boxes shown in these images I used..
Start by bending and/or breaking apart the skeleton to create your desired position. I usually start by cutting off the arms and legs so I can bend them and stick them back onto the torso later. It depends how you want the finished faery to look, in some cases I make them sit so I can put them into a jar.
Apply torn pieces of tissue paper to the skeleton to build up skin. I tend to add more to the joints and leave some bone showing. Add layers until you’re happy with it. Glue all the parts back together and add more tissue paper to hold the limbs firmly.
Paint your corpse! I use brown tones, but you could play with any colours you wish. I use a dark colour to start with then gently brush on lighter tones, ending with a touch of metallic paint. this is a good way to bring out details such as the rib cage and skull.
I then glue on hair which is tricky and I’m still working on what type of hair to use, but at the moment I just chop some off a wig and attach it best I can.
Find a picture online of the faery wings you’d like to use. I found photos of cicada wings, arranged them on an A4 sheet and printed onto the printable plastic sheet.
Before cutting out each wing I carefully score the shape of the wing veins with a sharp impliment. This is an added detail for reflecting light to make the wings look more realistic. Of course real wings would work a treat if you can get some!
Adding wire to the wings is optional. If I’m mounting a faery in a shadow box I tend not to worry, but if the faery is in a jar or I want to bend the wings into shape then I’ll add a thin piece of wire to the top edge of the wings. This can be fiddly, but basically I measure enough wire to join 2 wings together, and carefully glue along the top edge of each wing. Gently bend the wire to fit the arch and leave overnight to dry.
Add some paint to cover up the wire, and a bit extra to make the wings look a bit old and used.
Finally, glue the wings to your corpse and have fun displaying your little dead faery!
Oh my dark soul I would LOVE to experience Halloween in America sometime cos you guys go completely over the top and I am jealous as hell! Screw Christmas with all its jolly hoo ha I want to scare the heebie jeebs out of people.
What an awesome holiday.. such a shame we don’t really celebrate it here in Australia. If we did, it would be my favourite holiday hands down. Sure there’s some creepy decor and lollies available in the shops but trick or treaters? Lucky if I get a couple of kids knock on the door.
In fact the first time I ever had trick or treaters was about 3 years ago and I was totally unprepared. I frantically searched my cupboards and came back with muesli bars and a cake mix.
The following year I prepped myself and I prepped myself good. Packets upon packets of fun size choccie bars, oreo wafers and lolly pops. I was going to be ‘that house with the awesome treats!’ house. That night I had two door knockers. Two. All up about 5 kids. So sure enough I spent the rest of the night stuffing my face with fun size choccie bars. Ok so I admit I enjoyed indulging in chocolate but that’s not how it was supposed to be!
The year after that, last year in fact, I scrapped the trick or treat idea alltogether (good thing as we’d moved and I don’t think we had any door knockers anyway) and instead I put on a Halloween feast. Now that was fun.. everyone dressed up and I had a hella good time creating slightly creepy food and even slightly less creepy decor..
Let’s keep in mind I was on a budget. A packet of fake web and a few plastic spiders was about all I could afford after buying the food. But I enjoyed it all the same, and the webs stayed up until Christmas.
Finally, an excuse to try out Day of the Dead make up!
Difficult to see but there’s a big black hairy spider in the bowl of lollies.. there’s also a remote. Oh yeah, I had a fabulous time telling my friends to take some lollies while I attempted to scare the pants off them!
See, it’s things like this that baffle me as to why we don’t celebrate Halloween around here!
Eye ball salad anyone?
Spider infused potato salad? They double up as fashionable rings. Score! I still have these guys floating around the house.. every now and then they scare the crap out of me too.
Yes, the roast is looking at you. With its mouths open. Twin head freaky roasty goodness to be exact.
And my favourite.. Death by Chocolate Mousse! Oh yeah.. chocolate mousse with biscuit/dirt crumble, tomb stone Tim Tams and chocolate trees. No need for bowls we grabbed a spoon each and dove right in.
Apologies for not having a more Helloweeny type post, but I wanted to get in on the action and my feast from last year is all I had.
You’re welcome 🙂
Firstly I should just be clear that I’m not exactly a famous photographer, in fact I’m the complete opposite.. not famous. I haven’t taken any lessons or completed any courses, I’m all self taught. However, I’m not that bad.. or at least you can judge for yourself. If you like what you see then please read on..
I want to share with you a few basic tips I have learnt when taking portrait photos. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a kick arse DSLR camera to take great pictures, a simple point and shoot will do and just a few adjustments to your surroundings can make a huge difference.
As they say practice makes perfect, so if you have a pet or child handy they make great subjects. If not, self portraits rock too!
These are my top 5 tips for getting started:
Light – My number one tip is light! Avoid the flash, that artificial light is awful. Use natural light where you can, go outside, use a window, open the curtains. If you can’t use sunlight then light up the room best you can, or perhaps position your subject by a lamp – sometimes a simple light source can create a great picture too. My favourite light to use is the golden hour – as the sun rises or sets and everything outside glows, it’s magic!
Background – This is often overlooked, but take notice of your subjects background. Is there an odd toy in the way? Too much going on? Something bright coloured that distracts you? If you’re outdside maybe there’s a car or building that could be removed by simply moving the camera. Or perhaps you could choose your own background, like placing your subject in front of an interesting wall, a colourful plant, a beautiful view.
View – Consider the view or angle in which you are photographing. Are you standing up looking down? Perhaps you’re taking photos of your cat, try getting down to their level. Think outside the box, take photos from behind them, below them, eye level.. lie on your stomach if you have to, aim for something different.
Props – Have a play around with some fun props or dress ups if you want to make your photos more interesting. Try putting a hat on your subject, get them to blow bubbles, hold a bunch of flowers, a balloon, .. even better try and find something that suits them personally. Props can also help people to relax in front of the camera, especially if it means they don’t have to look at the lens.
Cropping – When we take a portrait usually the first thing we do is get a picture of the head and shoulders, or maybe a full head to toe picture of someone. Have a play with zooming right in and cropping out parts of them. You could crop out half their face, crop out their head to focus on their outfit, zoom in on their feet/paws/hands holding something. Portraits don’t always include a face so play around with different areas to photograph.
So that’s my top 5 tips to consider next time you take some happy snaps. Hope it helps! I’d love to hear your favourite tips if you want to leave them in the comments below.
Of course rules are made to be broken, especially in photography. In the end beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it depends on your taste and what you like – and of course when it comes to capturing memories you don’t have to stress too much about the artistic side of things, the main thing is to catch those precious moments in time.