Falling Out of Love

It's not you ..... it's me.

I think we need to talk...

...talk about this blogging business. It's just not what it use to be. I don't feel the passion or the pull to write here much anymore. I will, no doubt, still return here to make the odd post but the reasons and the passion I had for this space are no longer there. 

The old guard has abandoned ship or monetised their spaces. The comments are waning and the inspiration is no longer original or relevant to my head space.

It's not just blogging, I am also abandoning many social media platforms. I will still be there but they don't captivate me like they use to. The place I am spending more time is Instagram - it is less needy and a lot less spammy... and even that I am checking less.

I haven't lost my passion for arts and the need to record it but I feel a direction change is coming. I'm not sure what it will be yet but the lull before the passion storm is here.

This space has been my online home for so many years. I have been blessed to be exposed to such wonderful people but I also feel the soul has left this blogging business and I've never been in it for the fame or profit. It's just not me.

This has been building for a while and this morning I made the call. I feel at peace with this decision. I'm not upset and as I said before I am sure I will still hang around with the odd post. Perhaps one day it will pull me back in but I feel there will need to be a shift in how I am currently feeling about the www's.

I'm sure we can still be friends, I know people usually say that after a break up but I mean it. I'll ring you soon...ok? x

Art Making for TMAG

There are certain moments that are essential in the art making process. You hope that things will come together naturally but you never know if that lightening moment will actually strike.

First there is the idea, followed by the explorations and the hopefully, just hopefully, you can imagine the final project and what it will look like.

We are on week 5 of our Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery digital media project. I was hoping for some inspiration from my students, something to blow my mind and direct the project. It didn't come as I expected.

We have been gathering a gallery of images in Instagram. Go and have a look at these hash tags: #TMAGwynyard #TMAGwyncity and #Respectthestory

It occurred to me that these young people have a great eye. This will lead our story. It will be a story of empathy. To listen to other peoples stories. To better understand who someone is and why they act in a certain way is to know their story. Everyone has battles, issues and words flying about in their head. These things create their 'cage', their view of the world and their reactions.

This is our direction. We have an end point of what it will look like. It is so settling to know your path... we are good to go!

Chambray Love

You know that feeling when you walk into that huge fabric store and there is a 40% off store wide sale?..... yeah that feeling.

Suddenly all those delicious fabrics you have been salivating over seem a possibility. I have been dreaming of these garments made out of beautiful chambray for literally months. I bought four meters and, after these projects, I still have a good meter left. If only I could have stretched the sale to that linen I desperately want as well. I guess I will just have to be satisfied to use fabric from my most ridiculous stash next sewing session.

Firstly I made a wrap dress for me - designed a pocket for the front rather than hidden ones in the seams. I used an embroidered cross pattern to hold up the cuffs rather than go though the pain of creating another crappy button hole... plus I really like what it adds to the dress. This dress has now really moved on from the original Simplicity pattern I first used. I love its evolution.

Secondly I made this pinny dress for the 7 year old. I drafted it from scratch, added a front pocket and made the hem with a draw string for a bit of puff and scrunch. It fit her perfectly, my dress on the other hand feels a bit big.

Next on my list is a reversible blanket vest for the baby. Sewing literally never ends.

Tasmanian Forest

Have you ever been a tourist in your own town? It is something we like to do.

I have lived in the north-west Tasmanian region for most of my life and I have never been quite this far 'up the back' before.

A place called Muenna. It was once a thriving country area. We saw markers of old halls and dedications of communities now lost in time. Small gravel roads wind the way through this part of the Tarkine and some of it is littered with plantation forests.

Forestry Tasmania bought a lot of the traditional farming lands in the area and controversially planted them with their trees. Now they want to log the area and again it becomes controversial.

We visited in late afternoon and we saw still frozen over puddles and frost in the shadows. The harshness of the environment and the rocky nature of the ground induces images of how tough life 'out back' must have been for those in the past. A trip into town must have been a rare event. Clearing the land for production a huge feat, building a roads a mammoth effort. The red soils of Table Cape don't occur here.

I have heard tales of the communities and the amount of people that lived here. It is amazing that such a sense of people were bonded here. Sad in a way that it no longer exists there nor does it translate to our modern community existance.

Often the nostalgia is far brighter than the reality.

Book Binding and Zines

As I begin my project for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery I have been experimenting with many projects to use with the young people involved.

As any artist knows, it is important to record, experiment and learn when developing a project. I guess thats why I always place so much importance on a visual diary when teaching.

I have been a little obsessed with hand made books for a while and it has been re-triggered by the recent involvement in making a Zine for another project

I love the many ways of binding a book, the way you can make so many little books from one A4 sheet of paper, the recycling of magazines and other thown away items to make something really individual. The binding, the folding and the stitching is so soothing.

I have made so many little books as experiments and I will use them as examples of end results for future projects.

I feel like I wont invest in commercial visual diaries anymore. I feel like the attachment to arts work begins with an individual record of results. I hope my TMAG young people agree.

Badges - Old School

I told my little girl about how I was once cool. In primary school I had an acid wash denim jacket in which I sewed and clipped on any badge I could lay my hands on, which was roughly around five pieces of bling. Yeah ... I was that cool.

For her birthday I bought her (ME!) an old school badge maker and enough supplies to make 100 badges. She opened her large and heavy present and was suitably unimpressed by the machine and the endless badge making possibilities.

A couple of days later I got out some paper supplies and proceeded to induce excitement.... and it worked. Badge making took over the dining table for well over a fortnight and we made badges for ourselves and our friends. I had to google instructions for my Badge-a-minnit machine and there were defiantly some hits and misses in their construction.

After we had made a few badges I told her my acid wash story and got her (ME!) excited about recreating my moment. We raided the house for anything else to pin on  the vest and grows in its personality.

Isn't it funny how something like a badge can induce such memories. I bet you did one at your school fair. Can you remember how cool it was to draw something then have it turned into a badge? That was pretty cool.

Zine - We Mind, Be Kind

Recently I have been working for The Smith Family and the Wynyard School Community Partnerships program on an anti bullying campaign We Mind - Be Kind.

My role was to bring together a Zine from the young peoples work. I love Zines. I feel like I am introducing an entirely new concept to their eager minds. An act of revolutionary self publishing. I have also been making loads of little handmade books, but more on that later.

My personal program consisted of 5 after school sessions, one full day forum in house at a local school, an exhibition to organise at ArtsCape and the final Zine to put together over many days and nights. It was quite a job.

I taught the youngsters how to make the basic A4 folded zine and then we used the same fold on a huge sheet of paper. These became the main working Zines and scanned images from these contributed to the final copy. On the forum day I had the kids writing words on sticky notes and a secret box for bullying confessions or stories. The following are some of the inside pages made from the forum and the after school program:

Currently I have taken on the role of secretary at ArtsCape and so I also contributed a lot of behind the scene work to the final exhibition. There were many other workshops that happened on the forum day and through after schools programs that lead to the greater end result. These objects created as a whole will be come part of a larger package to take to other schools in the future.
 It was a great opening supported by many of the community and schools. Unfortunately time got away from me and I did not get a chance to post on this while the exhibition was still showing. 

I forgot to take my big camera so an instagram impression of the final outcomes will have to do.

 Pledge banners for the students to sign.

Picasso Inspired Paintings Workshop lead by Jan Suter

Paper cranes workshop lead by Jenny Turner
My final Zines

Where The Wild Things Are - Cake - Tutorial

I'm not much of a fan of making fancy cakes. I get that it a very creative business but it doesn't appeal to me becasue of the time it take to make the damn things.

However - never fear - this tutorial for making a Where The Wild Things Are cake is super easy... I promise. 

Firstly, you must make the base cakes the day before you want to ice them. To me, this means three days before the party as I don't want to ice it on the day of the party. I use a small shallow tin, sorry I have no idea of the size, all I know is one batch fills two tins.

I made two chocolate cakes (one batch) and one (1/2 a batch) vanilla. I layered them chocolate, vanilla, chocolate and used vanilla icing in between the layers. Obviously you could cut them in half and create more layers if you choose and add whipped cream instead of the icing layer filling. My kid hates cream so icing it was.

With the vanilla icing I made a round (but organic shaped) circle on the top. I then coated the rest of the cake in chocolate icing, putting a lip over the top to create the illusion of a bark edge. I dipped a skewer into the chocolate icing and drew on some age rings to make the top of the cake look more log like.

For the outside chocolate bark I found this pin:

The chocolate bark on the outside of my cake I used this baking paper and melted chocolate rolled up idea. It gave the melted chocolate a lovely curl. However I did exclude the re-coating of the bark in more chocolate, or icing, whatever they used here.  Lastly I found some little lady bugs and added them as details upon the birthdays girls request.

See ...not too hard - right?

Table extras : I used hessian for the tablecloth, wooden forks and spoons for cutlery, a lovely wooden copping board made by a local man for under the cake and other foodie bits. For the rest of the bowls/serving dishes I used blue and white vintage enamel wear.

If you follow the pin link above you will find loads more ideas for creating your very own Where the Wild Things Are party. Some of my favorites are the masks and the Pin the Tail on Max game. None of which we needed.

For some free Where the Wild Things Are invitation printables I made you can follow this link.

Enjoy x

Where The Wild Things Are - Free party invitation - Download - Printable

The birthday is over for another year. I have vowed there will be no party next year. Where The Wild Things Are party theme was a great success. It was a true rumpus especially as the party was at our Gymnastics group, it seemed fitting. I loved how unisex the party was, I also loved how natural and un-plastic it allowed for party favors and decorations.

In future posts I will share with you a wrap up of the actual party and also one on the making of the cake. 
In this post I wanted to give you some free printables for your very own Wild Things party.
I have removed all names/dates/personal info and you are welcome to use the file to print. Please do not sell them and if you use them on your site it would be nice to back link here.

To fill in your own invitations you can match up the font by downloading the free version of Skinny from DaFont Here.

You can save the following images onto your computer and print them out as you need.

I bought some blank cards and after printing out the following pictures let the party girl glue them on. Also, not featured in the photo, we glued a feather on the front cover below the main image.This was a spare card and I completely forgot to pop one on to show you.

The front cover of the invitation:

Here is the inside of the invitation:
Use the orange ribbon to write the child's name in.

Inside the card we accordian folded a strip of paper and glued it to the following Max picture so that it would  'pop' out as you opened the card. I laid a few on one page to print and then just cut them out individually.

For the party bags I made this print out. Once again you can use the Skinny font to add your child's name to the space provided. We painted on a gold crown and used a black marker to outline it.

Enjoy x

Where The Wild Things Are - Wild Rumpus Party

It was decided that there would be a birthday party for the nearly 7 year old this year. It was decided that the party would be gender neutral as she wanted to invite her boy friends (not boyfriends) and thought that princess dress ups aren't probably everyone's thing.

Where The Wild Things Are is one of our most favourite books and seemed appropriate for my little untamed monster.

There was lots of Pinteresting on the subject.

I made up some printables to go in some cards (above). The little girl wanted to make them herself but the control freak in me made these up and then let her paste them into some blank cards with a little Max that popped out when you opened it. I also generously let her write each kids name on the cards and envelopes.

There were party bags filled with handmade things and no plastic. I would have loved to add one of those beautiful (yet often just for looks) Twig pencils however the cost to get them to Tasmania was enormous. We also made some gold crown party hats to wear on the day.

Today the cake was started. I plan to make it look like a log with chocolate bark.

....and it's not your birthday week if you don't get to lick the beaters....

How did she get so big? 

I'll post on the party after the event for a final look at our theme.

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