Making It Cosy With Nothing

When I moved into this tiny flat in May 2011, it was with a  great deal of relief that I had found somewhere affordable to live in and a wee dash of trepidation regarding the size of the place and the urban area.

The day before I moved in we went in to clean and hang my curtains and light fittings.

It looked like this before we started work

living room

and like this a couple of days later

lounge May 11

Orlando seemed not to mind as long as he knew where dinner was

Tig 2 May 11

There was also this – [remember this wall paper you will see it again later]:

Craft Room May 11

I began immediately to dispose of my accumulated stuff.  What I couldn’t give up yet eventually became part of a meticulously stacked and sorted, packed and piled wardrobe and storage cupboard and linen closet……….

I made the best of it – but in reality I was secretly just camping there, waiting for the day when my beach cottage would miraculously appear.  It took a while for me to catch up with reality.  I had chosen to not work for monetary reward but to work for free for those who would otherwise not receive help.  A beach cottage was not high on the list of probabilities.  One of the first laws of contentment is to be content with where you are.

After receiving that wee pearl of enlightenment I set about making my small lodgings into a workable home that would meet my needs as comfortably and prettily as possible.

You know the saga of the past two months – disposing of some and then disposing of more and eventually disposing of it all.  I let the dream go and discovered I could be happy right here, right now – and man, so much lighter!!

I have been delighted with what has transpired.  I feel as if I have gained double the space.  It works for us all.

Lounge1

Lounge1a

Do you remember the fridge that sat for a while in the middle of nowhere?  In order to make this seating nook happen I had to build a faux wall that extended the space.  I did this by hanging a length of fabric behind the previously open kitchen counter area and placing the TV and this ‘hutch’ as if they were on a wall.  The fridge is behind the hutch.

The ‘hutch’ is an old chest of drawers and two of my inestimably handy free standing shelves – It does the job and we have one of our favourite friends perched there keeping an eye on everything………. can you see who it is?

Lounge7

You are looking at the side of the hutch and the side of the fridge.  The magnetic words are on the fridge waiting for me to make them into a poem.  The chest that these pretty gifts from friends-far-away are sitting on, came from my bedroom.

Lounge5

This is the view the other way where I have set up a long table so that I can have my sewing machine out when I need to and still eat my dinner and/or read my book.  Indoor Sidd went there quite soon into the rearranging chaos and has stayed there.  I quite like having him so close.  My table therefore has a threefold reason for being – nourishing, creating and contemplating.  Perfect!

There is also an extra canvas leaning up against the wall – it is waiting for its two mates to be finished and will eventually hang behind Indoor Sidd instead of that old painting.

Lounge10

Here is a peek at the kitchen where my gorgeous Serendipity spoon stands ready to spring into action the moment it is required.  To the left you get a glimpse of the faux wall and to the right is Orlando’s favourite ‘keeping an eye on the neighbourhood’ spot

Kitchen1

Remember that room stacked to the ceiling with boxes – the one with the horrid yellow flowery wallpaper?  That wall paper is the bane of my life!  It is in perfect condition and is the original wallcovering for this flat which was built in 1971.  It cannot be stripped off without some skill and cannot be wallpapered over except by a professional.  It is shiny vinyl so cannot be painted over with ordinary water-based paint.  It requires sealing with that stuff that kills you and painting with enamel paint, the fumes of which will also kill you.  I have racked my brain to come up with a way of ridding myself of this stuff to no avail.. Part of this exercise is to make what you have work – so I did this

Bdrm2

It is a tiny room – that is a double bed.  Because the big bedroom is my creating room, this is where I sleep.  I got rid of one whole wall of yellow flowers by hanging a roman blind and curtains all over it.  I placed a large painting on the other wall.  I took a bed set that is not really the kind of thing I like, but which works well with what is there and has the added extra effect of taking the eye away from the yellow flowers.

I took off the wardrobe door and hung more curtains.  I swapped my chest of drawers for a smaller, taller one from the creating room:

Bdrm3a

And here every night Orlando and I say thanks for this wonderful day and thanks for our crazy tiny pretty home and thanks for all our wonderful friends and family.  And thanks for the creativity that makes it possible to make living here work for us   🙂

And we are looking for a tiny doggie friend to join us too.  Now that will be a happy dance day!!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!    🙂

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Orlando Gets A Friend

We got Happy Mail today

AHM1

Oh! Big broad smile as we discovered a new ‘Mini Orlando’ a tiny crocheted kitty, especially made for us….

AHM2

Isn’t he gorgeous?

AHM3

Our friend gentlestitches and I did a swap – and we got the better deal 🙂

The detail is amazing – he even wears a collar and identity tag like the real Orlando used to until he lost it  couple of weeks ago….

AHM4

This is the most amazing little hand made animal I have ever seen!  Sharon’s pictures of her work are always quite mouth watering, but when you actually get to hold one in your hands – it is quite spectacular!  The colour, the detail, the character – it is quite wonderful and words are failing me!!

Orlando was also quite impressed, Mini Orlando was given the seal of approval, a gentle head bump – which is, I believe, the feline version of a high five!  I get one every morning at breakfast time 🙂

AHM7

The two friends then commenced to sit and stare out the window at the Saturday morning activity …..

AHM9

….while I wrote a blog post!

Thank you Sharon – if you haven’t gone by her blog yet, it really is worth a visit!

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did 🙂

Happy Mail

It’s a lovely thing to get unexpected gifts –  and my life is rich in them at the moment.

Just prior to Christmas I received an email from another blogging friend Katyoparty over at ArtOutWithYourHeArtOut telling me she had a few spare gelatos and they were winging their way to me, along with ‘a few other bits’ she thought I might quite like.

If you aren’t an arty-crafty type, gelatos are a newish product somewhere between a pastel, a crayon and a paint.  They come in something resembling a lip gloss tube, are richly pigmented, easily moved about with your finger and are water soluble.  You can use them like a crayon, an oil pastel or watercolour paint.  They are a lot of fun and in my part of the world anyway, exorbitantly expensive.

I was very excited – I didn’t have any gelatos and had never received ‘Happy Mail’ before.

The courier delivered a box to my door a few days ago.  It was battered and beaten and torn  open at the top – it looked as if it had been round the world twice and through a few storms along the way.

The first thing I saw was a beautiful wooden box – a cigar box, just perfect for altering.

DSCF1653 (2)

CigarBox2

And here is what was inside the box or packaged alongside it, all piled on the little table for my delighted eyes to feast in.

HappyMail2

There is an array of flowers large and small, pretty papers, sundry embellishments, templates and masks……… and of course the gelatos.

Here is the pretty hand made card Katie sent and just peeking out from beside it is – I’m guessing – some of her own delightfully hand painted paper.

HappyMail3

And here are more embellishments and masks and some die cut flowers and sundry bits and bobs:

HappyMail4

It quite made my day!  I sift through them as I go about my daily art task of recording a word a day – I’ll show you some of those in another day or two.

So, many happy thank yous to katieoparty – it was a real treat!  Do check out her blog and her videos if you get a chance.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did 🙂

Joy – Part II

Despite all your lovely and generous comments on yesterday’s post, I felt my little birdie was crying out for something more and this morning I woke with another of my genius ideas – I could frame it – just to see how it looked.

I rummaged around in the magic cupboard and eventually emerged with a somewhat battered and grubby frame.  I didn’t even stop to do more than give it a cursory wipe-over before popping in little Joyful birdie and voila 

Bird framed

The frame measures 42 x 30 cm and the painting is 29.5 x 21 cm.

Oh Joy!! Tra-la!!  Happy Dance!!!

Now she is completed!

What say you?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂

Joy

I’ve been working on this piece for several days – it started as one thing and, as so often happens, morphed into another.

I am determined to continue in my practise of using colours that are not common to my palette – it’s good for me to stretch my wings…  This one started off with red and orange, which should be fine as they are side by side on the colour wheel –  but when the green came along that simply didn’t work so I morphed the orange into yellow in an attempt to lift the image.

Zing!!

I have developed a decided love/hate relationship with it!

I love my little birdie, I hate the composition!  It’s messy and crowded and the bird is in the wrong place …………  I really need to develop a plan of action before I start drawing and painting and gluing random bits down ……. so much to learn!! 🙂

And it’s an awful photo – there is so much sparkle and texture that it seems to be impossible for the camera to get its act together.  That shadow in the lower left corner is I believe my head.  The floor of the conservatory is the best place to take photos – the sun was shining and it was close to midday……… Sigh!

I’m sounding decidedly grumpy to my own ears –  but I’m not really – maybe the combination of red, yellow and green doesn’t agree with me – though it is decidedly summery 🙂

I shall get it scanned and see what I think about it then – maybe it might make a nice card….. or it may just end up in the art archives folder

Bird2

Click on the image to get a bigger view, click again for detailed viewing.

Mixed media collage on  A4 300gsm art paper.

Acrylic paint, papers, stamps, paint pen, gel pens, charcoal, pitt pens, gold metallic pen and Inca Gold paint.  Heart punch by Sullivans and butterfly punch by Martha Stewart.

The original layer is two shades of red and some white acrylic paint.  When dry I stamped with three different stamps and applied gesso through a template randomly.  A third coat of thinned white paint was applied and wiped away while still wet to grunge it up a bit.

The bird was drawn freehand on lunch-wrap paper [deli paper to some of you], painted and then fussy cut and glued down to the substrate using gel medium.  I stuck her down too far to the left.

The tree branches were also made originally on deli paper and attached to the substrate.

The flowers and leaves were all made from  200gsm paper which was painted and then dry embossed and punched out in two sizes using heart punches. When they were assembled and attached to the substrate I went in with pens and pencils and paints and gussied them up some.

When everything was in place I used charcoal and pitt pens to define edges and bring it all together.

What do you think?

When you look at it do you feel joy?  Or do you, like me, sigh and think  – oh, that could have been so nice!  🙂

Onwards ans upwards!!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂

Christmas Giveaway

Hello there, my Bloggie Friends!

Because the Christmas season is upon us, the lights are up and just because I can – there is another giveaway on offer.  This time there will be two winners.  …Happy, happy dances and big smiley faces!!  🙂

  • A signed print of your choice from one of these:

I'mtheOne

Listen1

BeAButterflyCopyrightSmallest Things1a

Didyouremember4best

A Gardener [c]

  • A 5 pack of cards of your choice from my Etsy shop

Go to my shop to view the full range and make your choice, this is just one example.

Chair @11

[and yes, you can choose 5 different cards if you want]

Of course, you have to do something to enter – well, two things actually, here are ‘The Rules’:

1]    ‘Like’ The Contented Crafter Page on Facebook.*

2]    Leave a comment on this post.

*If you have already ‘Liked’ on Facebook, just mention that fact in your comment here.

If you don’t participate in or on Facebook, please let me know that too.

This giveaway is open to all followers old and new – please don’t be shy, make it fun and interesting and exciting for us all – tell me what you think  🙂

The Giveaway Closes on 8th December 2013 at 8pm [my time]

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did and I hope you will take part!  🙂

A Gardener…. Another Mixed Media Painting

In conversation recently it was noted that I’ve been using blue greens quite a lot as that appears to be my latest colour crush.

Totally, I agreed, any colour associated with the sea seems to be my thing at the moment.

The conversation took an unexpected turn when it was mentioned that orange is a colour never seen in my work.  On quick reflection I had to agree, it is never seen…..  I didn’t even have an orange paint tube, though I do own a Distress Ink that is orange and it mostly sits unused at the bottom of the pile.

It was wondered if I use much of any of the hues from that portion of the colour wheel – the yellows through reds.

I use yellow quite often I said.  A quick hunt through current work and then photos of past work proved the point, I use yellow with blue very often and make lovely greens with them.

I use red I said.  By golly yes I do, a little is to be found in most paintings.  Whew!!

So I set out to do a painting that didn’t feature any sea type colours and did feature yellow and orange.  I even purchased a tube of orange paint!

As I worked I found the colour palette quite heavy [surprisingly – orange should be light and refreshing like it’s name] so I started to add in white which made a huge difference and when I had another of my genius ideas and used the edge of a rectangular paper doily as a frill on the bottom of her dress then things began to pop.

I had no idea what I was going to do when I started and was over halfway through before I could see where we were going – and this is what emerged:

A Gardener [c]

Half successful only, I couldn’t help myself the background just had to be what it is 🙂

I wish I’d chosen a longer canvas to work on so she could have been full length instead of cut off, but that’s what happens when you don’t have a plan!

As I was making the flowers, I  found I was thinking of my blogging friend Alys over at Gardening Nirvana and the words just popped into my head.

So what is your opinion of my attempt to use orange?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂