Happy New Year and A Give-Away To Start Us Off!

January 1st 2014.

This cannot be – I think 1994 was just a couple of years back – who turned up the speed?

I finished yesterday with quiet introspection.

On a day to day basis it seems as if nothing much happens or changes and life just ticks along. If I want to get maudlin I could say none of my wishes have come to pass.  But when I took a moment to step out of the forest in order to see the trees I saw a quite different vista.

I see that all my daily needs are easily met.  I see that I have all I need and even some of what I want.  I see I can meet my expenses every month.  I see my friends and family. I see my neighbours.  I see I started blogging.  I see a community that has grown from that first unremembered step.  I see I started painting again.  I see I opened an Etsy Shop.  I see I wrote 100 posts.  I see I had a lot of fun.  I see new laughter lines.  I see that I love.  I see that I am loved.  

I see a vast landscape of serendipitous meetings, events and inspirations.  And I remember to trust that no matter what I think I want, my life is happening even – as John Lennon said – while I am busy making other plans.

I  see and I remember that I am a most fortunate person!

Look what I got in the mail yesterday

DSCF1635

125 10.5 x 14 cm super shiny postcard sized prints from the good guys over at Vistaprint.

I ordered sticky back labels and business cards from them early in December and they arrived the day before we went off on our jaunt through Central Otago to Queenstown.  [Click here for that post]  I was really happy with the quality and the price.  These postcards were an add on at a hugely reduced price and with free postage as a thank you for my order.  At the time I thought why not – may as well give it a go – and it is absolutely a WOW!

The postcard size cuts off a bit of the original painting, which was purchased by the sweet Alys over at Gardening Nirvana on the day I opened my Etsy Store – which kind of made my year really – but I think she still looks kind of neat  🙂

I’ll be sending some of these out as freebies with every order I think.  And I’ll get the others made up this way too – who knew my paintings could look so great?  Tra-lu, Tra-lay, Oh happy day!  🙂

[NB:- It appears I’m giving up modesty for 2014]

Now lets get on with the business at hand.

The first Give Away for 2014

is a signed print of your choice from my Etsy Shop.

Now should you be a person who ticks one or any or all of the following:

  1. A person who likes whimsical art
  2. A person in need of something to put on their wall
  3. A person who forgot to buy a gift for a female friend/relative recently
  4. A person with a gift needed for a female friend/relative soon
  5. A person who likes free stuff
  6. A person who supports my attempts to become an artist
  7. A person who has previously won a give-away before
  8. A bloke

………..then please feel free to enter into this New Year Giveaway – entirely sponsored by an anonymous, generous, kind, loving, thoughtful, patron of a would-be artist and

  • Hit the ‘Like’ button on the Contented Crafter Page on FaceBook
  • Hit the ‘Follow’ button on the Contented Crafter Blog
  • Hit the ‘Leave A Comment’ on this post and leave a comment

If you already ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ I know – and I love you for it, just leave a comment.

If you don’t ‘do’ FaceBook, I absolutely understand, just mention that fact in your comment.

If you have stumbled onto this post through my cunning ploy of naming and tagging ‘Give Away’ and ‘Free Stuff’ go check out my Etsy Shop The Contented Crafter for a full list of the prints you could choose from should your name be drawn.

That’s it folks.  You have until midnight on Twelfth Night – 6th January – and the draw will be made the following morning.  We shall continue the age old tradition of my coffee mug, having emptied it’s early morning contents of delicious hot coffee into my eager being, becoming the receptacle for your various names.  I’m hoping the coffee cup will be full and the ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ will therefore be quadrupled………..Ah well , we must have a dream for it to come true 🙂

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

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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!  🙂

……And The Winner Is …….

It’s the 14th – well, for we who dwell in the land that sees the first rays of the sun on any new day, it is  – and today is the day!

The Contented Crafter Etsy Store is open and the draw has been drawn!

There was one slight glitch in my plan and that was YD’s going out of town for the week – she was to be the guest drawer.  So it was down to me as Orlando is no use in that department at all and everybody else was at work.

Every person who commented had their name written in my lovely scrawl on a piece of cut up paper from my notebook – thirteen in all:

Draw1

If you can’t see your name, it’s because it is underneath somebody else’s – it is there I promise – I just didn’t think to lay them all out side by side.  Sometimes it’s your blog name and sometimes it’s your actual name – just depending on which one fell out of my head as I started writing………

Here is the chosen receptacle, my favourite ‘shabby chic’ style coffee mug:

Draw2

Here are the names in the receptacle

Draw3

They don’t take up much room!

I put my hand over the top of the mug and shook it energetically, then, without looking, rummaged around and pulled out a strip of paper

Draw4

Congratulations to Elaine over at fingerprintwriting.

Elaine, you will need to email me your address so I can get your numbered and signed limited edition print of ‘Be a Butterfly’ away to you

BeAButterfly1

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment, I so appreciate all your good wishes, advice and cheering on!  Hugs to you all!

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

The Old Chair

While preparing items for my Etsy shop I happened upon a selection of photographs of an old chair, tucked away in a folder resting on my ‘Might Be Useful One Day’ shelf.

Chair @11

Isn’t it great?

Now before you get all excited and think to yourself ‘My, that girl sure can take a good photo – what has she been wittering on about?’ – or words to that effect …… I must give you the full story.

[And if you are a new reader, the back story is that I do not take good photographs, either side of the camera.]

Once upon a time, in a previous life, I spent a portion of my week in a beautiful Botanic Garden, where I oversaw the training of some young people who were learning how to be successfully employed.  One of my programmes employed them as trainee groundsmen where they learned gardening skills as well as employment skills..

The kids took their ‘smoko’ breaks outside an old tractor shed and one or the other could be found often perched on an elegant old chair that had once been beautiful, but was now tired and battered, neglected and forlorn.

Waiting for my young charges and their supervisor to appear for their weekly debriefing, I used to look at that chair and wish I had found it earlier, before it was past saving.  I imagined it reupholstered and painted in a shabby chic style – I imagined it sitting proudly in a corner of my room – and then my hurly-burly loud and grubby gardeners would hurtle around the corner.

“‘Sup, Pauline” they would greet me and one or the other would flop into the old chair and my attention would shift.

One sunny morning I was waiting for my boys.  It was quiet, the sun was making patterns on the concrete retaining wall and in the light the chair was looking determinedly colourful and cheerful. Someone had left a bucket filled with  geranium cuttings on a potting bench beside the shed door and the looped hose was dripping water onto the gravel beside the table.

I lifted the bucket of cuttings down to the ground, beside the old chair and stood back, looking at.  I moved the chair straighter against the wall and tidied up the hose.

I made a phone call to my friend and colleague up in her office, high above the old shed.

I moved the bucket again, turning it until I had the best of the geraniums showing.

As I finished my friend arrived huffing and puffing around the corner, camera in hand.

She was, and is, an enthusiastic and naturally talented photographer who always had her camera by her side.  I waved my hand at the chair and the bucket.

“Really?” she said

Then she looked again “Oh” she said and put the camera to her eye and clicked a few shots in rapid succession, just as the boys came hurtling round the corner.

“‘Sup Pauline” they chorused. “‘Sup Barbara” and the chair and the bucket of geraniums disappeared behind their large and energetic frames.

Later that day my email bore a couple of shots of the old chair.

At the time I was doing a course in Photoshop and spent a happy hour with my instructor playing with the photos to get different effects.  He did most of the work, and I couldn’t tell you where to start now, it has all been forgotten.

But I still have the Old Chair saved in my photograph file and the existing printed copies have now been made into cards for my Etsy shop.

From an original photograph, styled by the Contented Crafter   🙂

Chair@BG 2

Chair @ BG3crpped

There are more versions, but you’ll have to visit the shop.

It opens on Thursday, I hope to see you there!

Don’t forget the giveaway, leave a comment on the previous post if you want to enter, it closes on the 14th.

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

Be A Butterfly

Hello my lovelies!

I have been quite busy this past week – I took a leap of faith and decided to go for the Etsy shop thing – sooner than I had originally thought I might.  This decision was in no small way brought about due to the ongoing encouragement and support from my blogging pals – none of whom I personally know, but all of whom I feel I really know!

I cannot say enough about those of you who consistently visit and leave comments and words of encouragement.  I work mostly in isolation and your feedback has been pivotal in keeping me on task and determined to grow as an artist [chuckle – it still makes me smile…]

So to those loving, caring, loyal, helpful, beautiful gals – big, big hugs, tons of love and an unspeakable amount of gratitude zipping out from here to you!!

To celebrate the opening of said shop ‘The Contented Crafter’ – of course, what else – I painted a small mixed media canvas featuring a faery girl and butterflies.  She will be the first original mixed media canvas in the shop:

BeAButterfly1

This is a smallish exhibition canvas – just under 20 cm square x 3.5 cm deep [8 x 8 x 11/2″]  Worked in acrylics with water and ink pens, stamps and glitter. [You’ve gotta have some bling!]

There will also be larger limited edition prints and blank all purpose greeting cards of this faery girl in my Etsy shop.

To celebrate the opening of my new creative venture I am giving away the first numbered and signed limited edition print of this canvas to a randomly chosen commentor on this post.  You have until the 13th to comment.

The draw will take place on the 14th November, which is also the same day The Contented Crafter Etsy shop will go live   🙂   [Ooooh, exciting!]

All commenters names will be written on slips of paper and placed in a randomly selected kitchen container and the winner’s name will then be selected by someone who is not me.

So dear readers, I hope you like her and want to take a punt.  🙂