The Mystery on the Easel Phase II

Hello my friends!  Just for Kerry who became a bit concerned by his prolonged absence, the header features my lovely Orlando who has been usurped from his position of star of this blog by the cute, bouncy and camera ready Siddy.  Orlando doesn’t like cameras very much, he believes they are out to steal his soul and acts accordingly.  He is however in good health and spirits and spends a lot of time curled up by Siddy or stealing Siddy’s favourite spot (my knee) or Siddy’s second favourite spot (beside me in my big chair) and generally causing Siddy reasons for consternation.  All is well in Orlando’s world.  ❤

So, on with the business at hand.  We are looking at the progress of a painting – who knows what will happen!

Just to refresh your memory, in the last post you saw this

Phase1

Now here is Phase II

Phase 2

Where is this going?  Any thoughts?

Phase III is maybe a couple of days away, see you then.

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

 

Summertime Christmas

 

Season’s Greetings Y’all!

Happy Christmas; Mid-Summer; Mid-Winter; Ramadan; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa ~ 

Whatever you celebrate may your days be blessed with your loved ones around you

**************

The Christmas Light Catchers were all finally sent off on Monday 7th December.  The nice lady at the post office assured me I was far too late in my posting habits to make the Christmas delivery deadline for those of you across the oceans, but I believe in miracles and it turns out there has been  a number of them – were you one of them?

I feel like my Celebration season got off to an excellent start this year with that communal giveaway and it has caused me to become quite ‘merry and bright’ about the whole thing – which is not something I have utterly given myself up to in the past few years.

I’ve been fortunate to experience Christmas in both hemispheres and have found pleasure and pain in both seasons.  As a child I had a feeling of deep disconnection between the presented pictures and the reality of our global situation – which simply added to my general discombobulation with the family dysfunction which was the reality of my young life.

In the blinding heat of mid summer we were all treated to displays of fake snow scattered about shop window settings and cards featuring pretty women in long gowns trimmed with fur, their hands buried in muffs and snow brushing their pink cheeks; or robins on bare branches white with more snow….  Carols and popular songs tinkled along merrily in the background and we all sang along with them – we were dreaming of a white Christmas, hearing sleigh bells jingling, and decking the halls with boughs of holly.  We lit the lights on the Christmas trees but never got to see their glow because it was always light while we were up.  There was no waiting for the return of the sun because it was always here and always bright.  [Years later my own children, excited out of their trees by the coming event, would wake us up at three o’clock in the morning to tell us Santa had been and the birds were singing.  Stockings were introduced to the end of their beds with enough goodies to keep them quiet for at least another half hour…….]

A heavy, roasted Christmas dinner was often cooked amid faces red and sweating and eaten in the same manner while we kids just wanted to escape the heat and dive back into the ocean or river.

We had few local traditions, everything had been imported from the Northern Hemisphere by the settlers who came to make new and better lives yet continued to adhere faithfully to the way things were done ‘Back Home’ despite all  seasonal disadvantages.

As a young mother I set about making sure my children did not experience the same sense of disconnection with the festival and over the years built up a new set of traditions and displays that met our seasonal and cultural mores and addressed my growing connection with a spiritual reality that had nothing to do with religion or culture and everything to do with the need for me to unleash the ability to understand what unconditional love is and to be able to live in it on a daily and practical basis.

Christmas became the festival where I practised best.

We had wonderful Christmases and in their own lives, my girls have carried on the traditions that were begun in their childhoods.

This year we get to have one of our special Christmases.  Just the three of us make up our small immediate family and we get to spend a week together this year.  We are tight.  We are devoted and adoring and just a little awed by each other.  Not being of a religious bent, but bearing strong spiritual connections with the message of the season we will celebrate our ability to love, to share, to give and to shine.  The summer sun is bright and warm and we let it be our inspiration.

Somewhere the decision was made to make this a Christmas to remember.

So for the first time in this tiny house, a tree arrived.  It got itself decorated with baubles, bells, flowers, birds and butterflies – in our favourite colours of course.

Xmas Tree 2015

And placed stage centre especially for Orlando’s enjoyment and contentment

O under tree Dec 15

I crocheted that tree skirt in one frantic 14 hour period, as big as I could get it in the time allowed and in between my doing of ordinary daily activities ……  After it is finished with this year I shall double it in size in a leisurely fashion.

The tiny courtyard is full of flowers and little bits of bling.  The chairs have comfy cushions and there are places for wine glasses and plates of food

Tiny Courtyard pizap

The front entrance welcomes with bells and bling, cats and a green nodding doggie and even more flowers

front2 dec15

Dec Front pizap

The hand made gifts are [finally] finished and being wrapped – this is the last of them

presents pizap

The Secret Recipe Cold Christmas Pudding is made and maturing

xmaspud1 2015

And Siddy is ready for GO! (His favourite aunty Jo arrives in two more sleeps and our Christmas begins!)

Xmas6

And I have my Christmas hair on

Pink Hair Dec 15

[I’m transitioning people, from coloured hair to cheveux au-naturale – the time has come – as the Walrus once so famously said.  And why not have a little fun along the way?]

This is my last post for the year, thanks for being with me through this fabulous and eventful twelve months.  Thanks for your encouragement and support and friendship.  And thank you for coming by again today, I love that you did!

 

 

 

Getting Creative in the Craft Room

I’ve been busy making light catchers for the first wonderful customers who wandered into my shop and decided to start their Christmas shopping right there and then.  Thank you all so very much!

They are all finished now and on their way to new homes around the world, and as my friend Bruce says ready to ‘catch the light’ wherever they land.

Here is a bit of a glimpse of some of them

Bianca's pizap

I was issued a challenge – to create something using oranges and shades of green for a beloved mother

Lisa pizap

and hot on the heels of that, another using fiery oranges, amber and blue

Cynthia pizap

Aren’t these brights just wonderful!

Then I returned to a softer palette and made one for a friend – it should be with her by now ……..

K pizap

And another one for a swap – this one destined to hang in a limery ………… which is a lime version of an orangerie.

Jan pizap

I’ve made some that can’t be shown just yet and I have one more to make – for a Christmas Giveaway.  Stay tuned.

Somewhere in the middle of this playing with beads and sparkly things, Siddy had his hair cut.

Later that day he saw there was some cheese being eaten ……  Siddy is very fond of cheese!

Siddy&Cheese gif

Siddy had some cheese.

Orlando was not allowed cheese and was therefore not amused

S&Cheese &O

And the garden makeover is continuing slowly ………. So slowly there is nothing to show you yet – except chaos……….. Soon you know order has to emerge, right?

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

Starry Nights Light Catcher

This is a recent photo, taken one evening on the sofa  – Orlando is being cuddled with  – not sure if he is enjoying it …….. but he stayed.  Siddy was exhausted after a busy day and his mumma wasn’t sitting still, so the kitty had to do.

S&O cuddling1 5 9 15

Mumma was busy.  Making light catchers for my customers, another one for a friend, another [really special one] for a Christmas gift.  I’ll show you most of them in another post, right now I want to show you what I’ve just finished.

If you have been popping into my store in recent weeks you may have noticed that most of the light catchers have ‘SOLD’ printed across them in big letters.  Which is not a good look for any store is it?  So I’m off to clean up my shop as soon as this post is up!

Any way, having woken with a bit of an inspiration yesterday morning, I set to and made another one.

For this one I had two colours in  mind that I wanted to play with.  Blue and purple.

I chose the beads.  I chose the bead caps and the little extras – and started to thread.

Almost immediately Don McLean began singing in my head.  ‘Starry, starry night, paint your palette blue and grey …………’ and then I began musing on starry nights and dreams and wishes.  the beads grew and the strands multiplied beneath my fingers as my mind wandered through wishes and dreams and the magic of the night that grants those wishes and dreams……………..charms began to appear dangling from the charm strands – a unicorn, a fairy, an angel sitting in the moon.  Harbingers of dreams coming true were placed, a bell, a crow, the word ‘miracles’, a heart, young lovers………….

And I found I had made a light catcher for a dreamer, one to make wishes come true.

Starry Nights 2

Starry Nights 3

Starry Nights 4

Starry Nights 1

It’s not quite as deep a blue as the photos are showing – it is a softer hue of lilac, pinky purpley blue ……..  unfortunately seemingly impossible to photograph with my skill level.

I think it’s really pretty!

What do you think?

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

 

September Update

Well, I’ve managed to let another twenty odd days slip by without a post.  So much for good intentions!

We’ve said ‘Farewell’ to YD’s beloved Stanley

Stan

No longer the beautiful chap pictured above just 18 months ago, time had taken it’s toll quickly as it does with our pets.  In such a short time Stan became aged and worn out and emaciated – it was time to let him go.  It was a hard decision for YD to make and I am so proud of her that she was able to hold him and tend him in his final moments.

Two days later I celebrated my birthday with a five day pyjama party with my daughters.  We don’t often get to spend time altogether, just us and this five day hiatus seems to have become an annual event.  I love it!

Every winter I go through the same old routine of wishing for something I don’t have.  It’s all got to do with independence and stability and even while I know what causes it, it is difficult and challenging to endure the dissatisfaction that rises up with the results of the choices I have made in my life.   While in the throes of these unresolved emotions from the past I forget that I am taken care of and have a perfectly habitable home to live in and that I am loved and cared for far more than I have any right to expect.

Then September arrives and the fog lifts as mysteriously as it arrives.  When I was young I used to struggle with depression over this time, now I just get somewhat vaguely dissatisfied with what is.  It dissipates really quickly.  My birthday marks the return of contentment and I can settle into another nine months of perfect happiness.  Isn’t life strange!

Any how, once we get to September the urge to nest where I am becomes strong again and I usually have a big move around and clean up and refocus.

Yes, that is the rear end of Siddy lying in his new favourite position where he can keep an eye on the street and growl softly at all passers by.  Orlando’s cushion is unoccupied as he is currently sitting in the tiny courtyard garden getting some vitamin D.

Lounge1 Sept 15

As part of my resurrection this year I made the double wall art you see here

Lounge2 Sept 15

I painted the edges of some old unsuccessful canvases, pasted a panel of wallpaper down the centre of them and collaged cut out parts of the wallpaper to one side.  The other side is taped with some fancy tape and stippled randomly with a  leaf template and some matching paint.  It’s quite effective and hides to a great degree the tired interior of this rented flat.

Orlando, who thought the canvas was a splendid new seat, has left his mark permanently beneath one hanging…….   After this photo was taken the cat was evicted and another thick coat of white paint was applied and left to dry ……………

Orlando paints 3 Aug 15

I returned some time later to find this

O's footprints 1

………….. footprints marked his progress over the canvas and the kitchen counter tops and the cooker top and the window sill …………….

So as you can see I have not been entirely idle – it does want to be Spring after all, even though old Father Winter keeps doubling back for a last roar.  I’ve started planting my flower garden at the front door.

For those of you who know us well, you know we live in a tiny house with an even tinier out-door space.   Last year the tiny courtyard garden had all the press – the even tinier front door garden has never existed before and this is the start of it

sept garden 2

As you can see there is not a drop of soil to be seen so everything will be growing in tubs, planters and pots.  Most of what is laid out here ready for planting comes from the local garden centre including the planted up and ‘trellised’ jasmine.  I love jasmine – I think you can never have enough of the beautifully scented stuff.  I am proud to say the ‘trellis’ is entirely the result of my ingenuity fiddling about with a $10 assortment of plasticised tomato stakes.  Hopefully it will stay stable as the Jasmine winds her way up it!

Yesterday the temperature was 21 C we went for our morning walk and Siddy checked out the daffodils that now cover the bank between the park and the petanque club.

daffodils4 13 9 15

daffodils5 13 9 15

And I’m so thrilled  – I’ve had some orders for light catchers.  The next few days are going to be focused on bead creations.

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

A Postal Woopsie & A Winner

Thank you all so very much for the many and most helpful comments on the new shop window – I spent the ensuing days making changes as fast as I could and I think the perusing and information gathering is much better as a result.    There are still a few additions and changes to be made, but nothing major.

I even made a sale which thrilled me no end – even though there ensued a most embarrassing postal misadventure as a result……  Do you want the whole story?

I was super busy and trapped at home waiting for the super-fast broadband installation scoping man to arrive – and surprise, surprise he didn’t…… [that’s a whole other post!]

I had a pile of mittens still waiting to get to the post office, the raspberry and yellow light catchers to get off to their new homes and a mounting sense of frustration that I was going to miss the post again……

Enter Stage R the most amenable and helpful Youngest Daughter, Official Photographer and newbie blogger, Danella Joy.  Already stressed to the max with the health of her aged and ailing cat, an upcoming week away and what to do if dear cat’s demise and week away collide and needing to get to her night shift on time after a vet consultation, she still volunteered to visit the post office along the way and get my parcels sent off.

All but one of the packages were wrapped and addressed.  One, a set of three mittens and a card from the last giveaway, needed it’s own postal envelope and the address to be written on said envelope.

Hastily I tore off the small pad page that had some addresses written on it,  ripped off the unneeded address, threw everything into a handy tote bag and off she raced.

I didn’t realise that the small pad page had an address written both sides, both perfectly framed within the torn off seam.

You know what happened don’t you

after siddy

Two days later DJ remembered to give me the pile of postal receipts and the card she had not seen in the bag that needed to go with the mittens until it was too late and as she handed over the torn pad page with the address on she froze, turned it over and asked “Where were the mittens going?”

Yes indeedy!  Two beautifully written addresses – take your pick.  There was a 50/50 chance I guess that the wrong one would be right side up when she scrabbled in the bag to find it and send the mittens away across the ocean.   At least they ended up in the right country!

Now I have to get poor Jem to readdress and resend a package she should never have gotten and reimburse that as an added, extra postal cost….. sigh!   And Jenny, dear, patient Jenny, you will get your mittens sometime soon  🙂

***************

But now, to happier times.

And what could be happier than a giveaway I hear you cry……….

The names were all  written out on strips of carefully cut paper

giveaway1

Piled into my favourite drink dispenser

giveaway2

shaken

giveaway5

stirred

giveaway6

scattered

giveaway8

‘Can we go yet?’

giveaway9

and – chosen!

giveaway13 paw on

I’m exhausted says Orlando – these are all winners!

giveaway14 all winners

Congratulations Kerry from Love Those ‘Hands At Home’

Which one do you want?

The pink or the blue?

Pink Giveaway Blue Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who took part – we love giveaways here in Contented Land

and there is sure to be another soon.

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

Creating a Light Catcher

When I showed off some of my latest light catchers in the last post there was a small amount of interest in seeing how I made them.  Not having a video camera capable of recording the process I did my best with my point and shoot and, with a bit of help from our Official Photographer when I ran out of hands, there now exists an as-good-as-it can-get photographic record of the process.

So, here we go:

First I rifle through my stash and gather together a pile of beads in my chosen colour. I was feeling ‘green’

Tutorial1a

I look for interesting shapes, a variety of shades and include glass, semi-precious gemstones, crystal, acrylic and facets wherever possible.  I like using gemstones for their power and meaning, facets for their bling factor, shapes for interest and texture and crystals of course are the major source of light refraction.  Acrylic beads are also very handy for keeping the weight down – these things can get heavy!  I may, or may not, use all of my selection.  It just depends.

I choose the hanging chain, recently I have discovered a particularly nice one which I am hoping to use in all future catchers.  You can see it lying across the top left of the first photo.  You can click on the photos twice to biggify – get the close up view for real!

Tools:

Tutorial Tools

These four pliers are my go to essentials.  The most recently added in is the one on the right, a split ring opener.  Prior to that I used the pokey tool [official designation] seen at the top right and my finger nails.  My left forefinger is covered with scars from puncture wounds – a proper tool was sought and finally found.  My life has changed 🙂

Tutorial tools2

Beading wire [I prefer ‘Tiger’s Tail] and quick dry adhesive to help secure the wire ends.  Excuse the blurry photos – I find it a real challenge to snap photos while in the creative process – it is often an afterthought and is done on the fly ……….

Here we have the first length begun, I chose a pretty gold speckled green glass twist interspersed with small polished agate rounds

Tutorial1

Tutorial2

And the second string started, these beads are all acrylic and used for shape and texture. The wire is threaded through the crystal ball and up through the beads.  It is pulled through a split ring, wrapped around itself two or three times and then threaded back down through as many beads as possible.  These are tiny beads, so it can’t go too far down.  Where the wire is poking out and at the top, fast drying adhesive is added to help secure wire and beads together.  When the glue is dry I snip off the excess wire and attach the length of chain.  If the glue doesn’t catch, or is peeled off, the wire can slip out and the whole thing will eventually collapse – it has happened and I try hard to ensure it won’t happen again!

Tutorial3a

Next I set about making half a dozen or so tiny little dangly bits.  This is a selection of faceted glass or crystal beads for bling factor.  I use long eye pins and snip them down as necessary. I make two different sets, three in each.

Tutorial4a

Split rings are added to both ends

Tutorial5b

Tutorial5d

Tutorial5e

Tutorial5c

I chose glass pearl balls and faceted hearts to hang at the bottom of three of the mini-danglers The hearts, due to their thickness, have to be hung using chandelier bow ties.  These things are the bane of my light-catcher-creative life!  They slip out of place whenever the catcher is moved and while I know where and how to put them back in place, the new owner may not.  The only alternative I have is to use a large connecting split ring which looks ungainly – so I prefer not to go that route.  If you have an alternate suggestion please, I would be so grateful should you care to share it.

Tutorial6a

Tutorial6b

Tiny crystal hearts are are attached onto the other mini-danglers and then the two strands are attached to a heavy brass ring.

Tutorial7

I thought I had finished and left the catcher hanging above my work table for the night.

Early the next morning I wandered into the room and started to play some more.  Before I knew it, there was another strand, a new hanging option and a few baubles added – and never a camera to hand!  Here’s what I ended up with:

Tutorial8

I found the three ring gold acrylic hanger on-line somewhere and bought ten of them, not realising they were so very – um, gold – I need to spray paint them silver but need warmer weather to do that.  It’s hard to see in the photo but there are now two faceted crystal balls and one large faceted crystal pear hanging from the bottom of three strands of beads and chain and assorted baubles.  The pear especially doesn’t photograph willingly, but is a beautiful thrower of rainbows!   Also no charms have been added yet – I add them especially for the person who will own the catcher.

Tutorial8c

Tutorial9 detaila

Trying to show some of the magic with the aid of a cushion and the afternoon sun

Tutorial10a

Of course, there’s no magic without Siddy

Tutorial10b

And just for a change, let’s finish this week with the lovely Orlando who would like to offer a teaser – there’s a giveaway coming up………. stay tuned!

1 July 8  2015

Any questions, please ask them.  Any suggestions, please do make them.

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