Friday, 23 December 2011

Tested Yet Blessed...Wishing you all a Happy Christmas

So sorry I've abandoned blogland for so long. I've come back to wish you all:
Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays 
A Happy New Year 2012!

Also I wanted to share the little pre-Christmas creativity I've managed with my children (the above snowman decoration was made by my two babes). And to share a story with a positive ending....

I am used to having health problems but I've just got the other side of a particularly testing couple of months which pushed my limits. Yet I did get the other side of it, am doing quite well now (albeit a little more fragile) and have been repeatedly blessed by kindness & friendship. The help, patience & generosity we've been shown by amazing friends and even strangers proves how loving the human spirit is. We've received unfailing support and care from our amazing friends, listening ears, practical help, gifts and treats from much.  And I feel humbled, grateful and blessed.  I just wanted to share with you the good that came from bad so that if you're having a really bad time you may know that its worth holding on and keeping hope because so much love and light does exist even in or following the darkest times.

My health has reduced my creative energy but as I started to feel better the past fortnight I've primarily focused on creating with my children (who, at just eight and ten years,  have been amazing through all the bad times). Below is a glimpse of making cards for grandparents with stamps, ink, embossing powder and peel-offs:

Last weekend was my good friend's 50th Birthday and below is the card I made her using wood, glitter peel-offs, card & ribbon:

And in the past few days I've been working alongside mine and my friend's children, painting canvases to adorn their bedroom walls. My friend's children had both just had their bedrooms decorated and needed pictures for their walls. We've been working together on large canvas paintings using acrylic. For her November Birthday my daughter changed the colour scheme in her room with new soft furnishings and so she is painting a large canvas to match. Then my son, who has not altered his bedroom at all, still wanted to paint with us and produced this lovely piece:

I feel my creative self beginning to gain inspiration, slowly unfurling after hibernation and rest. I very much hope that not too far into the New Year I will be recovered enough to be an active blogger and be busy creating again. Meanwhile, thinking of you all and wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Creative with my limitations and focusing on the can-dos (AEDM2011)

To create every day you need to be able to adapt to and creatively use what each day brings.

I've wanted to create & post daily for Art Everyday Month like I managed last year. I've also yearned to visit other aedm participants and become an active part of the community like before. But this year I've been physically unable to do this. I've had to accept rest and healing time. Instead I've tried to find ways to be creative within these limitations.

For instance: It was important to put my energy into my daughter's Birthday a few days ago. I used my creative time to come up with new imaginative party games and activities and was happy that they were well received by the group of grinning girls. It wouldn't be appropriate to share the photos without parental permission but imagine giggles and plenty of creative activity. Oh and of course the prizes were an assortment of craft kits :-)

Also, whilst resting I've tried to work on projects that can be done at my own pace and from my armchair like the embroidered mandala that I did last week. (Thank you to everyone who left such supportive kind comments). And above you can see the result of me sitting down with material cuts and old buttons. I gradually matched, layered and assembled them into flower type corsages. I've used felt between layers to add dimension and was pleased to find a couple of buttons from my pre-loved collection to provide matching centres.  I'm hoping to eventually embellish these with some embroidery and attach to bags/purses.

Finding ways to create during challenging times and despite limitations keeps me positive. It gives me a positive focus on what I can-do rather than dwell on what I'm not able to do.

So I am participating in AEDM2011 in the ways I'm able to. I really hope I feel up to visiting you all soon but meanwhile thank you so so much for visiting my last few posts and leaving such lovely comments. They are a huge support.

  • Today and every day try to focus on what you 'can' do.
  • What can-dos are you celebrating? 

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Finished Embroidered Mandala (IA challenge/ AEDM days 9-11)

Its been a difficult week BUT I'm proud to say that I created a little every day and therefore finished my embroidered mandala design. For a first attempt I am happy with this and feel I've learnt a lot through the trials and errors involved in completing it. I am entering this into days 9 - 11 of Art Everyday Month and also into this week's Inspiration Avenue needlework themed challenge hosted by the lovely Hettienne.

  • When did you last try something new in your creative work? How did you find the experience?

Thank you all for your recent lovely comments & messages. I'm sorry I'm not getting much chance to visit you all but I promise to visit as and when I'm able. Therefore bit by bit I shall get to you all and enjoy seeing your creations.

Happy Weekend to you all!
My weekend will all about celebrating my daughter's Birthday.

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Important Changes, TIC TOCC 23 & AEDM days 7 and 8...

AEDM days 7 & 8
Above you'll see my embroidered mandala has been taking shape over days 7 and 8 of Art Every Day Month. And I was very happy when last night I discovered that this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge is based on needlework! If I can just get it finished in time I hope to enter this.

Now this week's Wright Story Extra Newsletter & TIC TOCC is really important to me because it marks important changes, I'm proud of the challenge I've set and I'm really happy to have interviewed talented photographer Shelly Simpson.

Here's a snippet of the intro to the newsletter:
"I believe in the importance of stopping to listen to our body and intuition. Often life moves at such a fast pace it is easy to forgo this quiet contemplation. Anyhow, my inner self has been screaming out at me to settle down and write a particular book that has been growing gradually in my mind. It has also been urging me to spend a little time on my arty creations and develop my focus on creativity and wellbeing. I have recently bought new supplies in readiness for my my art ideas, I've been designing a logo to go with a new website domain I've reserved. And the book keeps begging to be written and I think now's the time. My health hasn't been too great of late and I've been struggling to do much at all. I think it is a sign for me to slow down and focus on where my intuition is trying to lead me in this moment. For this reason, for now, these newsletters and weekly TIC TOCCs are stopping for a break. If all works out I should be back with more exciting things to offer you eventually. I will still be blogging at Wright Story so please do continue to stop by my blog otherwise I'd miss you dearly. Plus I shall need your company and support even more with all the challenges ahead."

Please do go and take a look at this newsletter issue 23 and I hope you're tempted to join in with this week's TIC TOCC.

Thank you to all of you for the get well wishes. I'm making slow but steady progress. I'm just relying on a daily dash of creativity to keep me going (along with a bag full of medication obviously ;-) )

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Experiments in mandala embroidery confirming my belief in the healing power of creativity - aedm days 4,5 and 6

Still struggling health wise but trying to do a little bit every day for Art Every Day Month. I wanted to try embroidering a mandala design using some metallic threads. Here are my attempts over days 4, 5 and 6:
AEDM day 4

aedm days 5 & 6
close up of aedm days 5 & 6
What I learnt is that these very fine metallic embroidery threads require many layers of stitches to effectively show the lines of the design. I've experimented with some invented stitches and have gained experience from my mistakes. I think this project may be a long term one ;-)

What I have definitely affirmed is that even when feeling bad a little bit of creativity can help my mood immensely. It is a fact that I feel in my very being but that through times like now is reaffirmed and my beliefs strengthened.

Creativity and a bit of chocolate is definitely good for my soul and recovery ;-)

I hope to get to visit other aedm2011 participants as and when I can as it is always a pleasure to visit others and share in their inspirational journeys and art.

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Art Every Day Month: Days 2 & 3

I didn't feel well enough to post yesterday but I made a start threading seed beads onto wire from my bed.  And then today I finished my beading creating it into a hanging ornament. Or I could transfer into into a bag charm or fancy key chain. Threading these tiny seed beads is hard work but I do like the sparkly charm of the glass beads. It was also my son's 8th Birthday today: Happy Birthday to my little man!

  • What did you create for AEDM2011 today/yesterday?
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Art Every Day Month: Day 1

Firstly, apologies for my lack of TIC TOCC & newsletter this week. It has been a particularly hard few days health wise & I was unable to manage it. But on the upside it is day one of Art Every Day Month 2011! I couldn't bear to miss day One  and so reached for my stack of magazines and bits and bobs box. I sat in my comfy chair and got cutting up some pages that appealed to me and using wire and old buttons created these two abstract flowers. They cheered me right up. And it felt good to be able to manage to join in with my admired blogging friend Leah's arty challenge. Why not join in and/or visit other participants here? There's inspiration, friendship  & fun to be found.

  • What creative activity do you do when your energy and abilities are limited?

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Life's Constant "re" Definition & a Juxtaposition ACEO (TIC TOCC 22)

For TIC TOCC 22 I decided to create an ACEO in my 20 minute allocated time. I tried to combine opposite concepts by making one half colour with smooth round shapes in the pattern and the other half angular lines in monochrome.

I feel as though I'm always undergoing some sort of 're' organisation. Anyone else feel like that? At the moment I am, yet again, re-discovering, re-assessing, re-defining and re-organising.

Life seems to offer constant prods (some more painful than others) that prompt constant learning & consequent change. For me, health issues seem to provide a huge portion of these catalysts. At the minute I know in my heart that a writing and art project needs my attention.  I realise I need to strip back my commitments and other projects in order to focus on this, be good to my family, safeguard my health, be true to my intuition and dreams.  So change is underway.

Am I scared?

Yes; mainly of upsetting or letting people down. But it would be more frightening if I stopped listening to my intuition and ended up more ill. So in time and at my own pace I hope to make changes some of which will be exciting and I hope will help others. I think you'll like them. I hope you will enjoy, keep me company on my journey and forgive me if I'm not visiting you in blogland as often as usual.
More details will follow....

  • Is life trying to prod you into action? Are you being shoved or gently led into a period of 're' organisation? Or perhaps you've been through a time like this and are now happily walking your 're' directed life path. 
As always, please do share your TIC TOCC experiences in the comments section.

Wishing you all a happy & creative week!

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fire Flash Fiction for TIC TOCC 21

For TIC TOCC 21 I wrote the following piece of fire flash fiction in a 20 minute session. Trouble is I got interrupted three times so my timer had to be adjusted. This is the unedited result of my (approximately) twenty minutes of writing:

"The reflected fire light flickered across Fran's delicate pale features in an ever moving pattern of shadow and light. It reflected off the rings she wore on the hands she constantly fiddled with; fingers entwining, unwinding, rubbing and wringing. Would he recognise her? 
      Five years ago Fran had been a different woman; inside and out. Her deep auburn curls had been kept short because of the heat and practical reasons. Now posted in this cold part of the world she relied on her thick hair like she would a scarf. Five years ago she'd been eager to help people with her newly attained nursing degree but niaeve of the cruelty and suffering the world held. Five years ago she'd fallen in love with an injured aid worker named Henry. In the four weeks she nursed him, before he flew back home to France, she'd had to remain professional whilst her feelings were anything but.
           It had been coincidence she'd found Henry again. She'd been sitting in a busy cafe warming her hands around a large cup of mocha when a man in uniform had entered the cafe shouting out "Henry? Anyone seen Henry?" A group of heads had turned recognising the uniformed man. "Which one?" a small blonde girl had asked in a heavily accented Spanish accent. "Bordeaux," he'd answered.
            The second name added to the first had surely stopped Fran's heart for a moment and she choked on half swallowed mocha. One of the uniformed man's acquaintances had come over to pat her on the back and check she was okay.
             The small blonde, Maria, had let her into the shared lodge that evening. Henry had been due back an hour previous and Fran couldn't help her overactive imagination wondering if some harm had befallen him. Maybe they were not meant to be.
              The creak of the heavy door and the blast of cold air caused Fran's heart to race. She couldn't look around. She couldn't seem to breathe. She heard Maria intercept him, "Henry, you've someone here to see you." 
"Who?" his deep french accented voice melted her into a quivering wreck.
              Maria didn't have chance to answer because at that point Fran found her last reserves of strength to turn his way. Henry croaked: "Francesca?"

  • Please share your TIC TOCC experience or/and results in the comments section. I always love to learn how the weekly prompt has been interpreted by you.
In other news I have set this week's challenge prompt over at Inspiration Avenue. All this week's submissions to the Inspiration Avenue challenge get entered into a multi-prize blog party giveaway; you're invited to take a look and play along here.

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

"On the Wings Of Inspiration" giveaway #5....

giveaway no. 5

To celebrate 500+ followers we at the  Inspiration Avenue etsy team are holding a blog party and if you submit a piece of art on the Party challenge theme (details posted early on 17th or late 16th) by midday (EST) on the 23rd October 2011 you have the chance of winning some lovely prizes. All details on blog party page. Check out the giveaways and freebies page. 

And if you've never played along with the Inspiration Avenue weekly challenge all the info on how to enter the weekly challenge is on the Inspiration Avenue blog page. We would love for you to join us!

So this winged themed art & craft pack is what I'm offering as giveaway number 5:

It includes:

  1. Two A4 sheets of excellent quality Tuscan Rose winged themed collage papers.
  2. Two new Tuscan Rose unmounted rubber photo stamps (bottom right hand corner of image above). One shows a lady with cherubs at her shoulders. The second a praying little girl angel. Both have a vintage feel.
  3. One metallic cherub charm.
  4. One metallic hummingbird charm.
  5. Delicate paper butterfly that comes in two parts for decoupage type decoration.
This giveaway holds hours of fun & endless creative possibilities and is open to participants worldwide.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Fan-doodle-tastic: 20 minute doodle for TIC TOCC no. 20

You can view TIC TOCC no. 20 in this week's Wright Story Extra newsletter. As you can probably guess from this: TIC TOCC no. 20 had a doodling theme. As I've undoubtedly mentioned many times before: I love to doodle. It is one of the easiest ways for me to get creative, relax, work out ideas & feel inspired. The other fail safe creative soothers for me are journaling, free writing and photography. It is important to me to have easy, portable, no skill or expensive materials required creative tools available to help balance my wellbeing.  Doodling is great for waiting in doctors/hospital waiting rooms and can be done in bed whilst resting/recovering. I rarely know at the beginning of a doodle where I'm going with it. The timed doodle above started with the word 'believe' and I just worked out from there.

  • What creative tool/activity do you use frequently to help balance your wellbeing?
  • How did you get on with this week's TIC TOCC?
  • Do you enjoy doodling?

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Creating with the kids using TIC TOCC 19 & an Inspiration Avenue blog party with prizes/freebies...

Using TIC TOCC 19 I used a broken planter in my garden to inspire a piece of flash fiction. Here it is in its unedited form strictly written in 20 minutes [okay it was 21 mins if I'm honest ;-)]:

"The broken pieces were all that were left of the planter that had once symbolised so much. A wedding present given on a perfect sunny day, opened in a honeymoon suite that overlooked golden sand & turquoise sea. It had been a present from Molly's best friend Harriet and had contained a Rose bush that represented their love. 
        But when Molly came home from work early one day she had walked in the kitchen to find David embracing Molly; rubbing her back tenderly as they tightly caressed. Harriet was the most beautiful woman Molly had ever met. Harriet who turned every man's head. Hadn't she always suspected that David found her attractive? Wasn't it true David had been a little distant lately? And why was David home early from work? And why wasn't Harriet half way across the city in her office where she belonged?
         Without a word Molly pushed past the surprised pair and out into the garden. On the patio was the planter with the year old blooming red rose bush. Heavy as it was she picked it up and turning to face the treacherous two, now stood open mouthed in the back doorway, she threw the planter in their direction.
         Unfortunately, or fortunately, it didn't reach the shocked pair but to Molly's pleasure it made a satisfying smashing & cracking noise as it collided with the patio stone.
         It was some time later and after much shouting & accusation that Molly discovered that Harriet's Mother had died suddenly in an automobile accident that morning. Harriet had called Molly's work to discover she'd left work early. With Molly's phone off Harriet had rushed to their house with the hope of seeking comfort from her best friend. It just so happened that David had finished work early and had sneaked home with the intention of making dinner to surprise an overworked Molly. Instead he'd been faced with a crying distraught Harriet.
          The broken pieces still remained at the edge of the patio to remind Molly daily that she must keep her jealousy in check. Luckily she was forgiven by both husband & friend. And she learnt her lesson. Well....only occasionally did the green eyed monster escape......."

I was especially pleased to actually complete a mini story rather than just an extract this week.
Whilst I did this my 7 & 9 year old, having raided the recycling & garbage, created the following:

Above: my son made a hanging decoration using the back of a cereal packet, broken wood skewers and some used knotted string. And below: my daughter used another cereal packet to create pages of a book with pictures one side & story the other. She used the objects shown at the top of the photo (used bottle, old remote, discarded dirty felt parrot puppet, rusty horseshoe, cork & old book) as inspiration for her story.

 If you click on the photo below it will enlarge and give you a chance to read the story:

They had great fun going on a junk hunt to prepare and sat happily at the table with me creating for the 20 minutes. I think they did great.

And in other news: the Inspiration Avenue team, which I'm a proud member of, are holding a blog party this month with freebies and prizes. You are all invited! Click on the badges below for full details. Please do invite your friends by displaying these badges on your blog and/or mention in your upcoming blog posts.

                                                      16 - 23 OCTOBER 2011

I do hope you'll join us celebrate our 500+ fab followers!!

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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Inspired by Spain WIP (IA)....

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge, set by the lovely Lisa Wright Stuff, was to create something inspired by Spain. As you can see this is far from finished but I wanted to share because I've already put a few hours work into its creation. It is done in watercolour & ink on Bristol Board. I was inspired by images of Spanish tiles which struck me as having a similar style to my own work. Thanks Lisa for the inspiration!

I may have got a little further with this had I not been home alone with a few hours to myself, been feeling in better health than I have in a fortnight and seduced by the sunny weather and the chance to read outside on the patio. It was one of those peaceful times when all seems good.

Please do visit all the other participants of this week's challenge by visiting the Inspiration Avenue results post on Sunday evening.

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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Creatively Re-purposing a Hospital Letter....(TIC TOCC 18)

These are my results for TIC TOCC 18 which can be viewed in my Wright Story Extra newsletter here.

I've got to admit I've never felt less like doing a TIC TOCC than this week. After a few days of feeling really poorly I was struggling to do much at all. However, I figured that as this week's prompt was based around being creative with a negative, I really needed to try. Therefore this morning, albeit a little later than my usual TIC TOCC posts are created, I gathered these materials together:

Then taking a recent hospital letter (just visible in the photo) I spent twenty minutes re-purposing it. First I covered it in paint and then dried it using a heat gun. This took my first ten minutes and left me with this:

I spent a few minutes cutting out freehand shapes before sticking them into a page of my art journal. The result was this whimsical picture that feels much happier and positive than the original hospital letter.

I still feel a bit icky, so it wasn't a magical cure, but it did make me happier to create a little. And as the heat gun dried the acrylic paint the smell reminded me of children's school paintings drying on racks over heaters in an effort to prepare them for presentation to proud parents at school pick-up. That poster paint drying was pleasantly nostalgic.

  • What have you creatively re-purposed recently?
  • If you've had a chance to try TIC TOCC 18 please do share your experience/results in the comments below.
***Psst! By the way - readers of this week's Wright Story Extra with TIC TOCC 18 can discover a 10% discount coupon offered in this issue for using when shopping in my etsy shop.***

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Doors, fiction writing & TIC TOCC 17

TIC TOCC 17 can be viewed here. Sitting down to do this TIC TOCC prompt I thought of a photo I'd recently taken at Lanhydrock house and knew this image would feature in my story. So I spent ten minutes searching for & editing the photo and then sat down to do ten minutes writing. Here is my unedited writing results:

"Surprisingly the door opened inwards and only after a great deal of pushing and swearing did I fall into the dimly lit room. And then only my quick reflexes  along with some fancy 'River Dance' type footwork stopped me from falling onto the hearth and breaking the terracotta pot that sat in its center. The door opened virtually straight onto the marble fire place and only a few feet depth of wooden panelled walls surrounded me. It was like walking into an obscure closet. A quick check revealed that the room's only door was the one I'd entered through. So what was the purpose of having a massive ornate fireplace dwarfing a wardrobe sized room?
          I blinked a couple of times as my brain registered the failing light. Seems my reflexes and reactions weren't that fast after all because I barely had time to turn on my heel to see the door close heavily in my face.........."

That bit of writing fitted perfectly into a ten minute slot. Surprisingly this story wasn't the one that I'd imagined when taking the photo I used in this week's TIC TOCC 17; that is reserved for a longer piece of fiction I'm working on. Instead this bit of writing & this post's fireplace photo all came to me this evening when sitting down to do the TIC TOCC. I love it when story ideas spring into my imagination; it's such fun to think that a new world and character has suddenly been given a tiny bit of life.

This September I'm trying to find a way of balancing my creative time so that I can give time to the different mediums I like to express myself through. Over the majority of this year so far I've not spent as much time as I'd like on my fiction writing; I plan to rectify this by carving out some time this season for the fun of storytelling. With this in mind, I've recently booked to attend a day creative writing workshop in October which I'm very much looking forward to :-)
  • What creative medium/form have you not tried for a while and/or would like to give more time to this season? 
  • If you did this week's TIC TOCC please do share your experience in this post's comments and/or a link to your results. I love to see the varied directions our imaginations can take us from the same prompt.
Wishing you all a happy and creative week!

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Patterns found in the art we create & the life choices we make...

Maggie and I must have shared a psychic connection when she set this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge as 'patterns' because over a few days I'd been trying out new patterns through creating this doodle. I finished it late Sunday/early Monday and then on Tuesday when I checked to see this week's challenge I decided it was meant to be my entry:-)

It struck me that this week's theme of patterns could also be linked to the patterns we form through our everyday choices, approaches and routines. Apologies for being AWOL from blogland & the internet of late; a mixture of things have kept me away but uncharacteristically I decided not to worry about it and instead return in good spirits. With my children starting a new school term yesterday I've had the opportunity to think about the pattern of my days and how I may like to approach the autumn. I've been looking at health, relationships, being a mum, my art, my writing, working with other people and lots more. I'd like to aim to create patterns that are kind and nurturing to me and those around me. It would be nice to weave patterns that can bring good and help further growth.  What's also interesting is that some of these thoughts have been internally debated whilst doodling patterns. The links between different sorts of patterns has amused and interested me these past couple of days.

  • What kind of patterns would you like to create this Autumn/Fall in your creative and personal life?    

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

And the winner is.....

Congratulations to Missy (Melissa Liban) for winning my first ever blog giveaway click here to see the prizes she won. I used a website called to choose a number from the 30 entries that were in the virtual hat. Thank you to everyone who participated and spread the word.

A little about our winner Missy:
Melissa is a writer and illustrator and you can learn more about her wonderful work by visiting blog. Missy regularly participates in my weekly TIC TOCC challenges which will resume mid September.  She has just written a young adult book called 'Actuality' which I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed. I downloaded my copy from Smashwords but it is also available from other places including Amazon: details on her blog.

We are just back from a few days visiting family and friends and I'm only just beginning to catch up. Just before we left it was my husband's Birthday. The picture above is of the chocolate cake my daughter & I made. It was chocolate sponge with a butter cream icing middle, covered in chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. It was rich and very yummy :-)

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Sunday, 21 August 2011

IA Icy & A BIG blog GIVEAWAY!!!! Chance to win super art & craft goodies...

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge theme, set by the lovely Lisa Wright Stuff, was "Icy".  My entry started with a rather bad sketch of an ice-cream cone that I then matted on lots of layers of gorgeous K&co. scrapbook papers, handmade paper and little of my own hand coloured paper for the words. I then created the wording, added some brads and doodles. I think at a later date I may find some photos of my children eating ice-cream and add this onto a scrap book page. It is approximately 17 x 24cm in total size. If you visit the Inspiration Avenue blog late Sunday afternoon you'll be able to view lots of wonderful interpretations of this week's theme.

Now to the exciting bit of today's post.....
Last week this blog reached a total of 100 followers and I mentioned that as a celebration and thank you to you lovely readers I would host a giveaway. Here is a snapshot of the goodies available to win:

Now for more detail...
Below shows the assortment of handmade papers which includes 4 mulberry papers intertwined with metallic thread, thick purple handmade paper with a heart print and a large sheet of soft fine handmade paper with a fan type pattern interwoven through it. The following photo doesn't do the the papers justice but trust me that they're nice :-))

Two sheets of peel-off stickers. On the left the white sheet contains transparent shaped peel offs which are great because you can encase art, dried flowers etc underneath. The silver right hand sheet offers some pretty elaborate corner embellishments.
 Below shows a large sheet of 'Pebbles' funky self adhesive card letters that are great for scrapbooking, card making, collage and much more.
 Here are a few 3D embellishment: material hearts, lovely mother of pearl effect buttons and three pairs of mini pegs in silver, gold and natural wood.
 The next photo shows you 1 to 4 of the eight 'Tuscan Rose' collage papers included. These are high quality collage papers printed on decent weight paper and will come to you in a thick plastic wallet suitable for loading into a ring binder folder.
 And here are sheets 5-8:

I hope you like the selection of art & craft materials I've chosen. I really got excited choosing them for you.

Entry details:
To be entered into the draw for a chance to win these lovely goodies all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Midnight (GMT) on 31st August 2011 and be a follower of this blog (see right hand column or top tool bar to follow if you don't already). In your comment confirm that you would like to be entered into this draw and that you follow my blog. (Please note: If you're unable to follow using google connect/friends but subscribe to my blog posts via email or a reader then this makes you eligible too). I will then assign you a consecutively allocated entry number.

For extra chances to win:

 You can be given extra entry numbers and therefore extra chances to win if you:
  • 'Like' my Wright Story facebook page (= 1 extra entry number)
  • Follow Wright Story on Twitter (= 1 extra entry number)
  • Subscribe to my blog posts via email which can be done via link in the right hand column of this blog (= 1 extra entry number)
  • Subscribe to my Wright Story Extra Newsletter (= 1 extra entry number)
  • Mention & link to this giveaway post on Twitter (=1 extra entry number)
  • Mention & link to this giveaway post on Facebook (= 1 extra entry number)
  • Mention and link to this giveaway post on your own blog (= 2 extra entry numbers)
Which means you can have up to 9 entry numbers in this draw. All you have to do is tell me in the comment section which, if any, of these extra entry makers you're eligible for. For example: "Hi Katina, yes please enter me into your draw, I am a follower of your blog and I also follow you on Twitter & facebook. I've also mentioned & linked to this giveaway on my blog at" This would entitle you to 5 entry numbers.

Confused? Any questions? Just tweet, facebook me or send me an email at contactwrightstory (at) gmail (dot) com. 

If you just want to simply leave a comment and follow this blog that is fine too. I just wanted an extra chance to thank those of you who meet up with me in all different areas of this virtual world.  Thank you for keeping me company, offering me such amazing support & kindness - it means a lot to me.

Oh and the prize draw is open to followers worldwide.

I will fairly pick a number out of a hat (or use an online random number generator) on the morning of the 1st September 2011 and announce the winner in a post that day!

Good Luck!! :-)

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Friday, 19 August 2011

PPF Tales of the unexpected...

I am very happy, after a long break, to join in with Paint Party Friday today. Here is the painting I worked on this week between school holiday childcare and visitors.  It's part of a series of sisal and acrylic mixed media paintings I've created. I showed my previous sisal tree in this blog post and I've just listed these two on my etsy shop today.
Here's a side view:

So why the title 'Tales of the Unexpected'?

Because: I've been musing this week on how things rarely turn out as expected. For instance three consecutive rainy days would normally ensure the kids were going loopy and starting to drive me insane. But instead they've been in fine moods and we've enjoyed each others company doing activities like baking, art, games and home cinema. Another recent example: my seven year old son was convinced that a trip to a historic house and estate would be 'sooo boring'. Yet he enthusiastically explored, chatted and  questioned with a grin on his face the entire trip.

How many times do we really not want to do something only to have a fantastic time, meet someone or learn something that alters the course of our life?

This also applies to our creative work. Sometimes I sit down facing the blank page or canvas thinking there is no way I can possibly conjure up anything worth reading or seeing. Alternatively I may enthusiastically start a painting or piece of writing that begins to morph into a messy jumble. Yet frequently, in both cases, when I work through these situations and the associated fear something beautiful materialises. It may be something small: a perfectly formed sentence, vague  character idea or accidently discovered paint effect.  But small things can lead to big projects or a life lesson worth learning. Equally, there are days when we just need a rest and that rest time can unexpectedly bring us inspiration itself.

  • What unexpected result have you experienced recently?
  • Do you allow yourself to work past the blocks & fear to discover something the other side?
  • Do you allow yourself creative rest days? What unexpected inspiration have you discovered on a rest day?
In other news:
To celebrate this blog recently achieving 100 followers I will be announcing a fun and creative prize draw this weekend. Be sure to return for a chance to enter.... 

Right, I'm off to visit other Paint Party Friday participants - why don't you join me? There is sure to be lots of gorgeous painting to discover!

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Monday, 15 August 2011

Historical Inspiration. How does the past influence our creative work?

I missed out on entering this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge because we went to visit nearby Lanhydrock House.  The house and surrounding estate are beautiful. Inside the rooms are set up as they were during the Victorian period and the glorious attention to detail allows visitors to be transported into the past in vivid detail. The history  and story of the last family to live there was told through the rooms, artifacts & literature. Even my seven year old, who originally hadn't been keen on going, thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up in the stories and splendour. Unfortunately, with no flash photography allowed inside, I was unable to get clear pictures indoors. However here are a few outdoor shots.
The manicured gardens closest to the house were a contrast to the woodland and surrounding farmland.

Following a very long woodland drive you arrive at this gatehouse. 
Grand frontage with circular drive for carriages.

Story book architecture.

These are just a few photos but I took plenty more that I shall be using as fiction inspiration and are liable to appear in future Wright Story Extra editions as part of my TIC TOCC prompts.  I came home wanting to write a story that had developed in my imagination during our visit. I also found myself longing to lose myself in some historical fiction and films.  I was lost to my daydreams of being Lady of Lanhydrock!

History and the past, recent or distant, can provide a wealth of inspiration and learning.

  • How has your creative work been influenced by the past? 
  • Is there a period of History that particularly inspires you?
  • How has your own past had a direct bearing on what you create?
If you're visiting Cornwall I highly recommend a visit to Lanhydrock House.  I also recommend a visit to any local place of historical interest. The stories you uncover may fuel new creative ventures.

Okay I'm off to go and daydream further about being Lady Wright....

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