Freeing up my hand with a postcard project

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On my summer holiday in Paekakariki, I bought a pad of pieces of cardboard and decided to make them into ‘Happy New Years’ postcards. I wanted to ‘free up my hand’ after a long spell not doing anything much visual. (They didn’t photograph very well because they are shiny with paint and glue and glitter, but you get the idea!)

Over the course of the week, I added a layer here, a layer there – working on them all simultaneously….using things I found around me, like wrapping paper, sweet wrappers, magazine cuttings as well as paints and glitter and washi tape.

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They are kind of homely and messy, but the process was so much fun and I only just got around to mailing them out to friends last week. They should all have them by now.

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It worked in freeing me up and I’ve been busy doing visual things in my journal since. It was a good New Year’s creative exercise….and also VIVA LA SNAIL MAIL!

Snail mail karma works, too, because I have received some great snail mail this week – a letter from a friend, a piece of mail art from an artist and handmade postcards from a friend on holiday. There is nothing nicer, in this digital age, than getting real mail. Send a friend a postcard!

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shameless 2014: proud maker of bad art

After a couple of creatively dry years where I have only been writing in my journals and sticking the occasional thing in…I have re-found my zeal for art-journaling.

Yup. I make rough-and-ready bad art in my journals. It is so soothing and therapeutic and fun to me. It’s more about process than product.

I started a fresh journal for 2014 and made this page with my WORD OF THE YEAR. 

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I was going to scan it so the details would show better, but then I couldn’t be blathered and I just took a photo because I am SHAMELESS — ha ha!

Glitter, flowers, obnoxious colour. Vomit of my brain. Vitamins for my eyes.

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a wish for you, a wish for me

Recently I saw THIS NECKLACE on etsy and fell in love. I’m going through a bit of a love affair with Dandelion. It’s a mysterious yet common plant – it has manifold healing properties. It is rich in history and symbolism. You can eat all parts of it. You can’t ever kill it off your property. It grows pretty much all around the world. To me, it’s a magical, special plant – I find it sad that people see it as a weed….I love a lot of ‘weeds’.

I thought, ‘maybe one day I will treat myself that necklace’….but then, I was in Spotlight and I saw some small glass bottles with cork lids, and I had an ‘aha’ moment. Why buy dandelion seeds from America when I have them all over my own back yard?

So I bought a couple of the wee bottles, harvested some dandelion seed, poked the seed inside with a knitting needle and voila! dandelion seed necklaces for me and a friend who was having a birthday!

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Dandelion seeds represent wishes – I think it’s a nice ‘totem’ to carry a bottle of wishes around your neck through the world.

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the creativity muscle

I’ve spent so little time in my studio this year that I’ve been jokingly calling it “the cave of forgotten craft”.

What with the new day-job and the intensity of the yoga-instructor training I’m doing, plus my general feeling of knackeredness which I’ve written about lately…the time and inclination to make stuff kind of ebbed away over the year.

I can feel the desire to get back into it rising in me, which is a relief, because I was wondering if the yen had gone altogether.

The other day I went into the cave of forgotten craft and it was a scene frozen in time of a busy and yes, untidy, person making several different things at once with a happy mess strewn around.

I went in there, opened the window, pottered around tidying and remembering long forgotten projects and just kind of steeped in this abandoned part of of myself.

Creativity is like a muscle, if you don’t use it…it withers and you have to build it up again. It used to be that I could step in the door of my studio and get right to it, just leap in!  I felt the other day a tentativeness, almost a bit of fear that is foreign to my nature.

I was glad to feel it, because it reminds me of how a lot of people feel about their creativity, which enables me to be compassionate. When I teach journaling workshops, people often arrive like this – the desire for creativity is there, but there is a whole lot of ‘stuff’ in the way of their leaping in – fear, uncertainty, self-consciousness. The way through that is gentle baby-step exercises or as my friend Johanna calls it “throat-clearing”.

Anyway, it was good to hang out in there. I’ve aired it out. I’ve tidied it. I’ve mooched. I emptied the rubbish bins and dusted the surfaces.

Next time I go in there I might even…..make something.

 

a cupcake supper for friends

I recently had a bunch of friends over on a Saturday night. I invited them post-dinner and made dessert in the form of cupcakes.

I hadn’t made cupcakes for a long time, so it was fun to spend an afternoon listening to National Radio and baking…then fiddling with icing and decorating them! Ridiculous, mindless and fun. I made mini-cupcakes, so that people could sample all the flavours without over-dosing on cake. Each cupcake is only about one teaspoon of cake batter.

Let the cupcake porn roll…

I thought I had waaaay over-catered, but I forgot people’s propensity for little bite-sized cupcakes…by the end of the evening there were only three left!

A School Holidays Morning Tea

It’s the school holidays and we recently had some friends over for morining tea, so W and I made a double mixture of doughnuts.

We have a doughnut maker. I’m not one for space-taking, one-use appliances so imagine my horror when Fraser came home from a Briscoes sale with THIS – a silly pink thing (which looks like a giant cervix to me). Initially, I was not impressed, however I’ve come to love our example of ridiculous first world indulgence useful appliance. The mixture required is pretty much the same ingredients as pikelets…with a little extra butter, and the doughnut maker steams the doughnuts, rather than deep-frying, so I tell myself, while not health food, it is no worse than a batch of pikelets. We make the doughnuts for breakfast on weekends occasionally and serve them un-iced.

For this special morning-tea, though, we went crazy with icing. We made a ridiculous amount thinking that we’d have lots left over for Fraser’s afternoon tea and perhaps the next day….but over the course of a five hour play-date, all but one got eaten.

I made the maple/walnut onesfor the adults….but eventually the kids ran out of the other flavours and turned to the maple/walnut and of course – they picked all the walnuts off….the fresh, organic, locally-grown walnuts which I lovingly hand-shelled. Pah. Ingrates!

Younger, punkier me would be soooo indignant that I now own a pink doughnut maker and take pride in baking…what can I say? With children comes all kinds of changes that you could never foresee….including the ownership of silly pink appliances, a spot of apron-wearing and the joy in a bunch of kids scoffing cake and making mandarin juice at a messy table.

the journal project

I’m writing two books at the moment (I think I’ve mentioned this before…), my second poetry collection and a book about my journals from 2000-2012. I’m turning 40 this year, the way I journal has kind of changed lately and I want to capture what my journals meant to me and did for me during the years my children were babies, then wee ‘uns. My journals really helped me stay sane during my most intensive stay-at-home-mother years. (I always had paid work, but I did it from home when my kids were wee.)

Here’s some of the journal pages from this project – I’m also writing a long …essay? um, prose-something…to go alongside the original journal pages…

I veer wildly with this project between thinking it is banal and self-indulgent, to thinking that perhaps it  DOES have some merit and might be interesting to other people. This week, happily, has been the latter.