Monday, November 28, 2011

10 things Mondays: reasons to keep a journal

Pretty blue journal with flowers and dragonfly

As a child I kept starting journals but the habit never stuck. A few years ago I worked my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way and have been journalling ever since. I don’t often write every day but I journal regularly. Here’s a few thoughts on why.

1.       Record the major events of your life.
We always think we will remember the details of our lives but we forget lots of things really. It’s nice to occasionally go back over your diary and relive those moments.
2.       Identify patterns and habits
In The Artists Way you write every day but don’t re-read any pages for 9 weeks. When I went back over that time I discovered that I complained every single day about being tired. That was a revelation for me and changed my relationship to time. I make a concerted effort to winge less too.
3.       Capture ideas
Your journal is a great place to write down those ideas that pop into your head at otherwise inopportune moments.  Some of those thoughts are lost forever because you were running into a meeting and can’t recall them.
4.       To do list
I use my journal to write long term and day to day lists of things I need or want to do. This hasn’t always been the case, for a long time I kept it for musings but now it’s more of a one stop shop.
5.       Other sorts of lists
Books you’ve read or want to read.
6.       Drawings and creative musings
By using a non-lined journal you can illustrate your diary or record ideas and images that you want to use later on. Perhaps look for a journal that has one lined and one plain page. I don’t tend to draw in my diary but have a separate creative visual journal where I explore key themes like creative blocks or just play.
7.       Canvas for art work
I like to make covers for my journals.  I sew cloth slip covers for otherwise plain hard bound journals. My covers feature beautiful fabrics ( my current cover is made from a vintage placemat and an old pillow case), hand painting, embroidery and found object collages. It is a great way to explore techniques. Similarly it is a great way to make something useful out of your creative experiments.
8.       Scrapbooking
Whilst not a scrapbooker in the modern sense my journals are full of theatre ticket stubbs, business cards, inspirational bits and pieces that I pick up and like. I love to slip these little mementoes between the pages of my journal. Sometimes I glue in an envelope or two to hold the pieces. They are such an evocative thing to rediscover years down the track when you open an old journal.
9.       History
Throughout history journals have been one of our best sources of information about events of a global or personal nature. Whilst I don’t write for posterity as such if a major event moves me I will write about it and my reaction. Many people write specifically to record events for their children. I think it’s important if you do this to write about how it makes you feel.
10.   Connected
The overwhelming reason I keep journalling however is to feel connected to me, to my life. We all comment on how life just seems to get quicker ever year. We wonder where time has gone and what we did with it all. I write so that I can remember. I write so that I can spend a few moments quietly with my own thoughts. I write to stop the thoughts  keeping me awake all night. I write so that I notice when work and other realities of life keep me from pursuing what’s important to me.  My blog is an online journal, just as originally intended by their inventor.  If I don’t have anything worth sharing on my blog then I am not living the life of my dreams, not experiencing my own brand of homespunbliss.

So in conclusion I journal to keep me living the life I dream about.  Do you journal? Please share your experiences, I’d love to hear why you do or don’t journal.

Note to readers: I have been trawling through the web looking for what other people say about keeping a journal. I can't fnd anything that inspires me. Some people blog about weight loss journals, some record their bird watching exploits. Others blod about just journalling. I haven't found anything on blogs about art, craft, sewing, gardening all the things I enjoy. I find it nice to connect with people writing about similar things to me. So, please share your ideas here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

DarlingBridget giveaway offer

DarlingBridget was at the Art + Design Market  in Wollongong today. I sold lovely things to lovely people, ate good food, listend to good music and enjoyed the company of my good friend Ash.

My embroidered quotes were quite popular for their first day out.
 My husband made me a new rack so my bags could all go on display.
And in honour of today's market I have a giveaway. Like my DarlingBridget Facebook page to go in the draw to win this lovely DarlingBridget pouch.  I will be drawing the winner on 19 December after I come back from the Handmade Canberra market on 17 & 18 December. Good luck everyone.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Launching new DarlingBridget range this weekend

This weekend I will launch a new DarlingBridget range at the Art + Design Christmas Market in Wollongong.
Friends and family have been sending me their favourite quotes and I have begun to turn them into framed art pieces. 
 Some are inspiring, some funny, some romantic. I have hand embroidered the quotes onto vintage doilies and framed them. They are ready to be hung on the wall or stood on a desk at home or at work.

I have tried to match the quote to a doily, looking for what seems to fit the theme.

What inspires you? What is your favourite quote? Please share

Custom orders welcome.

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 things Monday

10 things that make you smile on a Monday

1. A great weekend
Waking up and thinking about what a great weekend you've just had.

2. My pets
My pets always make me smile no matter what day it is!

3. Lunch date with a friend
Arrange to meet a friend on Monday to ease you into the week with laughter and a good old natter.

4. Flowers from my garden
My garden is full of flowers at the moment so I can take some to sit on my desk and remind me of home.

5. Catching up with work friends
Catching up on all the news from everyone's weekend.

6. Walking along the beach
I live in the mountains but work on the coast. This is just about celebrating where you are, in the moment. Where do you walk near work?

7. Food
Bake on Sunday to take yummy treats on Monday

8. A small sleep in
Ironing your clothes and packing your lunch on Sunday night can earn you a couple of extra minutes in bed on Monday morning.

9. Music
Ease yourself back into the commute with your favourite music. I like to avoid the news and all those radio ads. Reality will kick in soon enough, keeping it from jarring you too early won't hurt.

10. How do you set yourself up for a great week?

Share your ideas for other simple ways to avoid Mondayitis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 things Mondays

10 great craft books

Books in my collection include:

1. Creative Awakenings: Envisioning the life of your dream through art by Sheri Gaynor
A great book that helps you explore creative journalling. Sheri balances creative how to projects with inspiring stories from working artists. The book also comes with a set of cards to inspire you to create your own visual diary. Randomly choose a card then explore its theme whether its challenging your beliefs and assumptions, listing your mentors or having a gypsy spirit day.

2. The creative license: giving yourself permision to be the artist you truly are by Danny Gregory
Another book about letting go of artists block and using drawing and journally to explore creativity. Danny's book is a visual feast as well as being jam packed full of inspiration, helpful tips and projects to follow. There is a great blog to follow as well.

3. Creative time and space: making room for making art by Rice Freeman-Zachery
Love all of Rice's books. They are so very, very inspiring. Every page is a work of art. Rice interviews artists to find out what their studios look like, how they fit art into their lives, how to cope with creative blocks. This book features photos of studios and artists work galore. Highly recommended.

4. Living the creative life: ideas and inspiration from working artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery
The first of Rice's books, the format is the same as above: working artists share their lives, their passion and their adive. Very inspiring, full of coloured photos and little tips like: invite fellow participants from an art class to meet up outside the class for a get together and art discussion.

5. Taking flight: inspiration and techniques to give your creative spirit wings by Kelly Rae Roberts
I love Kelly Rae's art which features whimsical and sadly beautiful women.  I discovered her as a contributor to one of Rice's books. Similar to Sheri Gaynor's book, Taking flight uses how to projects to invite readers to explore their fears and passions and become more intune to their innate creativity.

6. Sew pretty homestyle by Tone Finnanger
Shabby chic sewing projects using pretty floral and gingham cottons. This book inspired my tea towel bags with their simple shape and gathered top around a ring shaped handle. I picked up my best sewing tip so far from this book. If sewing a tight shape like a heart to make a lavender pouch or instance don't cut the shape out before you sew. Instead sew the shape within a square of rectangle and then cut the shape out before turning right sides out. Makes such an enormous difference! If my explanation doesn't make sense you'll have to get the book.

7. Destination creativity: the life-altering journey of the art retreat by Rice Freeman-Zachery
Rice and her husband spent a year travelling America from art retreat to art retreat and wrote a book about it. I want her job! Another great book that reviews both big and small retreats. Lots of helpful tips about what to take, how to prepare, even how to set up your own retreat.

8. The truth and the questions a journal by Sabrina Ward Harrison
This lovely book was a gift from a friend. An art journal in it own right with painted and colalged pages this book leaves space for you to contribute. Pre-painted pages are headed things like 'what I really want to say is' and 'I crave', 'I remember' and 'I must create a life that is filled with'.  It is inviting me to fill in the pages with my own thoughts and dreams and scribblings. I have not begun yet. It is so lovely I don't want to muck it up. But really that's the point of the book, to get you beyond that fear and help you create.

9. The new handmade simple sewing for contemporary style by Cassie Barden
Really practical sewing book with great instructions, diagrams and photos for a range of projects including zippered purses, hand bags and accessories. This along with Sew Pretty Homestlye is my sewing bible.

10. Finish this book by Keri Smith
Keri Smith is a really excellent creativity coach. This is another book designed to help the reader explore his or her own creativity. A journal with exercises to take you on a whimsical journey exploring your surrounds. This is a challenge for me to complete on my next holiday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Multi-coloured ranunculas

 The ranunculas in my garden keep getting better and better. I have never had them before but will plant more for next year. My garden is starting to look like a meadow with all these blooms.

 Note the little spider on the left. I didn't see it until I downloaded the photos.

The next flowers to open will be the red peopny poppies. The buds are so heavy they look shy but its just an act. These will become a very showy flower very soon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

New to homespunblissblog: 10 things Monday

Today I am starting a new segment for my blog: 10 things Monday.

Every Monday I will post a list of 10 things. I hope you come along and contribute to the lists.

10 things for crafters to buy at Op Shops

1. Clothes
Lets start with the obvious choice. Clothes. This is what most people go to op shops for.  Whether you are in to vintage, quirky, or cheap designer you can usually pick up a bargain at an op shop. Indeed some shops really specilise in this area, even set themselves up like a new retail outlet.
Pale blue vintage bed jacket
Clothes in op shops also provide an opportunity to upcycle, or seriously alter a piece, or provide great fabric for another project.

2. Picture frames
Op shops are a great place to find cheap picture frames. I have picked up a big pile of beautifully made silk screen frames, timber photo frames and even some antique metal frames. 

These can cut down your costs in framing a piece of art work or work well as a frame for making embroidery.

3. Crockery
Mix and match crockery for a great look at the dining table. Simple white dinner plates really show off a collection of colourful entree plates or bowls. Throw in some quirky salt and pepper shakers and you have a great look.

Alternatively you can break up chipped plates and old saucers to make beautiful mosaics.

4. Furniture
If you are going to make mosaics you will need something to tile onto. Scour local op shops for interesting coffee tables, drinks trays or other small pieces of furniture. A new coat of paint and some beautiful mosaic work will give a boost to the most tired piece of furniture.

5. Doilies, serviettes and tea towels
My favourite! The beautiful handmade doilies I find at op shops get made into new bags for my DarlingBridget label.  Although occasionally I find some that I can't part with and they go into my personal collection.

I collect souvenir tea towels which also get made into gorgeous bags.

6. Buttons
I personally find modern buttons really boring compared to vintage ones. I have a growing collection of vintage buttons that are pretty and colourful. I use these as accents to bags, journal covers and other sewing projects.  Occassionally I even use them as buttons!

7. Fabric and notions
If you are into sewing there are endless treasures in op shops. Sometimes you'll find remnants of brand new fabric. I have a piece of corduroy in brown with yellow flowers: yikes! But often there are beautiful pieces of cotton or other nice fabrics. Then there are the clothes as mentioned above and tablecoths which can be used.

Vintage patterns galore can be found at op shops.  If you want to use them you will need to check that all the pieces are there but otherwise the packets make great art to use in collages.

And then every type of notion from elastic to buckles, hooks and eyes, lace trims and more can be found very cheaply.

8. Books
Some of my favourite craft books have come from op shops. I have some excellent how to sew books, embroidery, gardening and of course my favourite 1977 Australian Women's Weekly biscuit and slice cookbook.

9. Jewellery
All sorts of jewellery can be picked up very cheaply from op shops. I have several 80s plastic bangles that I have bought, just wish I'd kept my own from back then! I have also bought vintage beads, brooches and clip on earrings. These can be worn as is or upcycled into new jewellery pieces or used in various art projects.

10. Over to you
What is your favourite thing to buy at an op shop?


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