social spark Aisling Beatha: January 2012


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dream Board

Hello to any other Life bookers out there in blog land.  Yes, I know, I am behind on doing my dream board, but I think it was worth waiting for because of how I ended up doing it.

What is a Dream Board?
Generally a dream board is a piece of collage art work that represents your dreams in a particular situation.  For me this is my dream board for the next 12 months.  

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Normally you start by just scribbling down on your page some of the words that represent those dreams.  
In this case I skipped that part, but here's why, and also the reason I'm glad I didn't do my dream board back in the 2nd week of January.  
It was my birthday last week, and one of the things a friend gave me was a blank Christmas card which had Christmas Wishes on the front.  She said it was because she thought I needed to write my wishes, dreams, hopes for the coming year down for myself.  
Ta-Da the perfect push to complete my dream board and the perfect thing to centre my board around.  

So, in this case I wrote all my dreams on the inside of the card and made it a part of the page.  You could choose to do either way, or find some other way of incorporating the words or not include words at all, it's all up to you.

The next thing you need to do is find some pictures to go with your dreams.  You can cut them out of magazines or find them on the internet and print them out.  I did the latter but used proper photo paper to get good quality images.

Play around with a layout of the pictures on the page until you find one you like.

I think that allows me to see everything I need to see and still be able to open the card.

I carefully removed the card so as to leave the layout undisturbed, because I didn't want to attach the card until the adding the colour was complete.

Carefully glue the pictures down using whatever method suits you best.  Most of the time I don't use glue sticks when doing art journaling projects but this time I have to admit to doing so.  It was to hand and easy to use.

Next you want to start adding some colour.  First of all I used some spray inks through stencils, but I didn't get  photo of that stage, I was so into the process, I forgot.  After the stencil work, I added some acrylic paints.  I chose the colours based on the mug of hot chocolate in the top right, purple!  I chose two shades of purple and used the same brush, mixing them together on the page as seemed to go well at the time.

Next you want to make it YOU in some way.  If you are into fancy lettering, add some of that.  If you are into scrapbook embellishments, use those, if you like glitter, grab some of that.  I chose to use just a little gold paint.  Some onto the page, and then some dry brushed around the very edges of the page.

Finally I added the card back into the middle of the page.  This time I did use gel medium as a glue rather than the glue stick,. because I want to be sure it won't come up at a later date.

And there you have it, my dream board for the next 12 months, including the card, which does still open so that I can read what is inside if I choose to.

You can find the sites that i link up to over in the side bar.  Come back soon to see more of the work I produce in Life book or my other crafty adventures.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Re purposing Chocolate Boxes

At Christmas I was given a box of these

I don't like that particular drink but did enjoy these chocolates.  When they were finished I wondered what to do with the box.

I remembered that a friend has posted about covering boxes with paper.

So I pulled out some paper I had stashed away quite a while ago.  Gorgeous, hand made papers from PaperChase from when they had them on offer with 5 for less that the normal price of 1.  Heck, as a crafter when you see a deal like that you have to take advantage right.  So the paper had been stored for a while and this was the time to bring it out.

The photo doesn't do it justice, red paper with gold threads and gold paper with copper threads, gorgeous stuff.  I tore the paper into pieces.

Then I grabbed some PVA glue and diluted it with water.  You can go 2 parts water to 1 part glue, but in this case I probably went thicker than that, with less water.

Because I didn't want to lose the effect of the threads I didn't soak the paper with the glue mixture, I brushed it onto the back of each piece.

Place each piece of paper onto the box, covering the whole surface, right to the edges, turning under at the edges, to the inside of the box.

Use more glue at the edges of each piece on top to secure it well.  You could glue the whole surface but I found that meant the threads in the paper didn't show as well, so I just worked the edges in this way.

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I used the gold paper for the bottom of the box and the red paper for the lid.  I don't know what I am going to do with this box yet, but it appears to be just the right size for crayons.

At the bottom right of the lid, you can see what I mean about the gold threads on the red paper losing definition when too much glue was applied.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in the side bar.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Enjoy the Adventure

That's my theme for 2012, Enjoy the Adventure.  There are lots of things coming up that I already know will be  classified as Adventure.

Leadership Course - Seriously, why would someone who struggles with criticism as much as I do take part in a course where basically no one teaches you anything, you just all take turns in doing the stuff and being critiqued by the rest of the people on the course.  Seriously why?  Because God said 2012 was the year to Enjoy the Adventure, and what is adventure if not a little scary, right?

Then there's another opportunity that is only a possible at this stage and I can't really share here.  A team I am involved in, was asked to consider this IF it does come up, and after talking it through with the team, I put myself forward.  I won't know until March now if I will go forward to do that, so I have to wait.  But if I do, it is going to mean a lot of work and a lot of responsibility.  Again scary and out of comfort zone.

Last week the church I am part of had a week of prayer.  Meetings every evening.   I had been to all so far, when on Thursday I was asked if I was going to be around on Friday.  When I said yes I was asked to lead the Friday evening.  Scary?  Oh yes!  But actually I wasn't as wound up as I had expected to be.  A little, yes, but not as much.  There was a time when even something like leading a small prayer meeting would have had me in the bathroom throwing up!  It's still scary, it's still stretching, it's not something I would want to tackle without God, BUT I did it and it went OK, and I came out the other side stronger.

Are you beginning to see a theme here?  Adventure, scary, stretching, hard, difficult, etc.  What happened to the Enjoy?  I actually asked God that last week in my Journal.  Yes, I know, OUCH!  But I was being real.

I know that there will be times in both those things coming up that will be enjoyable.  There are things, already happening that will continue through the year that are both stretching, scary AND enjoyable.  I am taking part in a year long online art class that has already had me doing my first 3/4 portrait, my first colour portrait, and my first profile portrait since discovering art as an adult.  They're not perfect, but I am having a blast while being stretched at the same time.  I also know that there is an element to this theme of finding the enjoyable within things that would normally seem hard to me.

However, God did not disappoint!  You see, when I first got my theme, and you can read about it here, the word Enjoy came first, on its own, and God had intended all along for that sometimes to be the case.  Monday was my birthday and in amongst the wonderful birthday greetings on facebook there were two that were so personal and so blessing that they brought me to tears.   One of them spoke of being thankful my mother gave birth to me, being sad for me that she is no longer around and knowing that she would be proud of me if she were.  Oh that made me cry, good tears.  I sat and thought of all I have been doing in my craft room lately, thought of the creative woman my mother was and KNEW, probably for the first time in a long time, that my friend was right.  My mom would be proud of me.

Then my dad phoned to sing happy birthday.  He said he'd been looking at some of the pictures I'd shared on facebook of my recent art work and asked me "Where did you learn to draw like that?" and was asking all about it.  That's a big deal to me, a seriously big deal and I am in awe that God would choose to bless me with that from both my mom who is no longer with us and my dad who is in less than 2 days!  Enjoy?  Oh YES!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bible Assembly Props

The latest in the line of props I have had to make for our bible assemblies is a Spear for the story of David and Goliath.

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I had a spare garden cane, that I used for the handle.  Then, I took some thick card, well it was 2mm pulp board, really quite thick, and cut out the shape of the spear head.

I covered the length of the garden cane with black duct tape and the cardboard spear head with the normal silver duct tape.  

The top of the garden cane already had a split on one side, so I took my craft knife and matched the split with a notch on the other side.  I slipped the base of the spear head into that notch.  You might be able to see here that it sits IN the cane at the top.

Then I attached the spear head to the cane using more silver duct tape in various different directions to keep it secure.

I'm pleased with how it turned out.

The only problem with all these props for these assemblies, is where to store them.  This one is 6feet long!  Oh and I have to walk up to school today carrying a bag of costumes and this, and it's raining!  Ho hum!

You can check out other costumes and props I have made by clicking on the creativity tab at the top of the page.  You will also find my other art and craft projects there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Life Book Lesson 2

 Just a quick shout out to any of my readers who are doing Life Book over on Willowing.ning

If you are struggling with this lesson, don't panic.  If you are struggling with the whole idea of representing yourself as a goddess because your own beliefs differ from that, don't panic.  I too find myself in that position.  I am still going to go ahead and complete the page.  I picked up on one phrase bonnie used in the video, she was still talking about Goddesses, but ones to represent different parts of your character and she said "Feelings and logic".  I can represent the part of me that is more feelings orientated and the part of me that works well with logic, without my page having a single thing to do with goddesses. And yes, I am still going to focus on the fact that there is good in both parts of my personality, because there are good and bad in both, just like Bonnie said.

I am sure you can find two aspects of your personality that while they appear to be opposing can both have a positive influence on your life, when used right.  Focus on those, and keep going, you CAN DO THIS and you can learn more about yourself through it without ever compromising your own beliefs.

Now, onto the other part that is stretching me with this class.  FIGURES!  Oh Lord, I did my first 3/4 portrait for the 1st class, my first ever canvas mixed media piece this week apart from Life Book and now I am doing my first ever figure since rediscovering my artistic side.

I decided to look online for pictures that might represent those two aspects of my personality and work from those.  Here is my practice at copying a figure for Feelings.

Of course this particular image is also going to mean my ever face in profile, arrgghhhh!

Maybe you can find an image, look at the instructions in the pdf and draw over that image, with the stick figure that bonnie shows us in the pdf, so you can see where each part is on the photo you have in front of you.  Whatever you do, don't give up!  I know I won't!

First Canvas

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After a childhood and teen years believing I was useless at Art, I finally got into art journalling a couple of years ago.  But everything I have done art wise since has been in my journal, or on paper, I had not dared to commit anything to canvas.  Last week that changed.  I saw some small chunky canvases in Home Bargains (a budget store), for just 99p.  So I picked one up.  I think it is either 6 or 8 inches square on a deep frame.

I started with collaging some scrapboook papers using gel medium.  I did some stamping, stencilling and used paint on bubble wrap to create more texture.  Then I looked for some shapes, the way Mystele does in her videos.  I sketched the outline of the head and the clothes then worked on the background.  I tried to do a crackle paint finish on the bottom, but that didn't work and I got bubble paint instead.  Still, I like the extra texture it gives.

Then I grabbed some paints and pencils and worked on the face.  It's certainly not the best face I've ever done, but overall I like it.

Finally, I painted the sides of the chunky canvas and ran that colour along the edges of the front with my finger.

Take a closer look:

Overall I am pleased with her.  I am not sure however if it needs something more.  Maybe a 3d embellishment? Maybe some words.  It's interesting that for someone whose primary art is writing, I find it difficult to combine words with my drawn and painted art.

Any thoughts?

You can find the sites that I link up to over in my sidebar.  Check a few of them out and come back soon to see what else I am doing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Week in the Craft Room

Quick update on what is happening in the craft room this week:

Painting - I'm working on my first canvas, a chunky canvas I picked up for less than £1, which I collaged with some scrapbook papers, and then painted over with various layers.  She's not finished yet.  I need to do the face and finish the clothes. I'm thinking about doing a crackle paint finish over the background at the bottom.

Art journaling - Worked a couple of pages this week.  One that recorded the words a friend spoke over me during prayer time at church and one that I started intending it to be that other one, but that morphed into something else as I worked.  Ho hum, that's the thing with art journaling, sometimes you discover as you work that this page wants to be something else.

Writing - I am currently working through "The Creative Call" by Janice Elsheimer, a Christian response to "The Artists Way".  Reading, writing, etc.  The current creative writing piece that I am working on is "Jochobed's Story".  The story of Moses birth and early years seen from his mothers point of view.  I'm working on it a little at a time and struggling with some of the background details.  I know Moses was 80 at the time of the Exodus, but how old would he have been when he left Midian and returned to Egypt?  Would that have been just months before the Exodus, or could it have been a few years.    It makes a difference to where and when I set the telling of the story.

I think it is reasonable to expect Jochobed MAY have had her first child as young as 14 or 15, women were married and mothers much younger back then.  If we assume that that first child was Miriam, and that Miriam was around 7 or so when Moses was hidden in the bulrushes along the river, then Jochobed could have been as young as her early to mid twenties when she had Moses.  80 years later would make her over 100.  Is it reasonable to assume she would still be alive at the time of the Exodus?  I know in the early parts of the Bible people lived much much much longer, but Moses himself lived to be 120, so????  In my mind it probably would be stretching it TOO far to have her still alive and telling the story then, which is why I am wondering how much earlier Moses came home.  If it was a few years, even just 3 or 4, then it would be feasible to set the telling of the story as one of the final things she does, telling the story to other relatives after Moses return.  Ho hum, thinks thinks thinks.

Other Crafty Pursuits - Hubby and I have just started a leadership course at church.  We were given the notes for the course as loose sheets, with the suggesting of putting them into a folder.  We don't have desks to lean on during this course, just have our notes in our laps, and I don't know about you, but I can't be doing with a whole folder open on my lap and a bible and a pen!

So I decided to get my Bind it All out and put something together with that.  I have some 2mm thick board, that I could use as the back, which would make it plenty sturdy enough to write on.  That way I could fold the pages I have already done around to the back and still be able to access the pages I needed, with just one A4 space on my lap.  I wanted to use some patterned thin card for the front but I discovered the patterned card wasn't quite A4, which all the papers are, oh dear!

Can you see that strip of pink at the top, yes, the patterned card is 5mm too short.  I grabbed some plain card, and trimmed the patterned card down so that it was 5mm too short on all 4 sides, and stuck it down using my ATG gun.

Once that was done I headed to my Bind it All.  Oooops, not concentrating and this happened:

It's supposed to look like this:

Don't panic, I found a way to still use this card.  We'll come back to that later.

I added in a couple of blank sheets of paper after each weeks notes since we are also supposed to journal our experiences on the course and this means I can keep those notes in there. Then I punched all the pages and the backing board then pushed the O wires through the holes and squished it up in the Bind it All.  For some reason I can't get my O wires to squish to circles, they always seem to go like this, with a kind of point in the middle, I wonder what I am doing wrong.

Now back to that badly punched bit.  I was so glad I decided not to decorate the front until after I bound it, because I was able to switch that round to the upper right corner, and cover it up like this:

Girly enough to be me, but not SO girly and pink that all the guys on the course (over twice as many guys as ladies), give me weird looks.

Oh and BTW, does anyone think it has been far too long since I emptied out the chamber on my Bind it All?

You can find the sites I link up to, over in the sidebar.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Life Book 2012

Hellooooo to any other Life Bookers out there, reading this.  

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain.  Life Book is a 12 month, online art class put together by the awesome Tamara Laporte.  

12 months, with 2 full video lessons each month, plus extra activities on the in between weeks.  I treated myself to this by paying for it with what I earn from the sponsored blog posts that I make.  Then I made a Christmas list with some of the supplies I would need, and was blessed to receive a lot of them.

Class opened as the year turned into 2012, and over 600 people are now arting away!

As a Christian some of the "healing exercises" that come along with the lessons, do not sit right with what I believe and the way I think.  BUT that's Ok, truly it is.  If you've been thinking about lifebook but concerned about that part of it, don't be.  Take a risk and give it a go, I am sure you will find it's OK.

For instance, this very first lesson is all about identifying and celebrating our positive qualities.  In the lesson they are described as "goddess superpowers" but that doesn't mean you have to consider them so and I would say that only about half of the completed pages I have seen so far have described them as such.  

So, if the spiritual aspect of any of the lessons concerns you, you can do what I and others have done and put that little change to it, or you could just skip that part altogether and focus only on the art aspect of them, it would still be well worth the money in my opinion (and this is NOT a sponsored post BTW).

I didn't quite have the right supplies for the first lesson, not having the colours of watercolour crayons that Tam suggests, and not being able to find my brayer for the background.  I know I have one, I have looked all over the craft room but I cannot find it.  I wonder if I took it down to church for a craft project with the children, hmmmmmm.

So I improvised, I used the colours that I did have and I did some stencilled ink for the background instead.  

Making the list of positive qualities is not necessarily easy, most of us are more used to thinking on the things we need to change, the things we need to do better at and so on, particularly at this time of year. Even if you don't do art or are not part of Life Book, why don't you sit down with a notepad and pen and make that list of positive qualities that you have and make celebrating them in some little way a part of your new year. 
I started with a list of whole phrases, but was able to narrow each of those phrases down into just one or two words.

If you have been following my art journal adventures on my blog you will know that I have been learning to draw faces, something I could NEVER do when I was at school, and until less than a year ago still believed I could not do.  This page is both the first face I have done in 3/4 profile since starting to learn properly AND the first colour face I have done in that time.  I am over the moon with how it turned out.

You can check out the linky parties I link up to in the side bar and please come back soon to see more of what Life Book brings.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 - The Year to ENJOY

I really was NOT going to go seeking a theme for 2012, honestly, truly, I wasn't going to stress about it and make a big deal of it.  It wasn't so much that I was determined not to have one, just that I wasn't going to actively seek one out.

It seems God had other plans. One day at the end of November I thought I got an inkling of something, just one word but it seemed ridiculous, so I pushed it out of my head. 

The following morning that one word got more flesh on it and made more sense. Then that afternoon I was at a lunch with the team of a local anti trafficking group, where we met with the young ladies who put on the play about trafficking at the big fund raiser/awareness event we attended last year. We're going to put on a big event which all the other agencies working on trafficking will be invited to, at which the ladies will perform their updated version of the play, which we will then invite school staff, youth workers, local politicians, etc to, in order to build awareness but also build credibility for he organisation by hosting an event which all the other established agencies come to. Oh and we're also going to be planning a masked ball for October next year as well. Well after that I kind of knew I was right. 

The word was ENJOY. I mean, seriously, like God is going to tell someone to take a whole year to just ENJOY? D'you know what that's not actually an accurate representation of what went through my head. If I'm being more honest it was "Sure, God might tell someone else to do that, (I have a close friend who had a year of Delight) but he'd never say that to me". There, I've said it!  I figured it was something God could quite possibly say to others but never to me.  

I did say that that one word got more flesh on it the morning before the meeting mentioned above.  It did indeed, it became ENJOY THE ADVENTURE So there you have it. 2012, the year to enjoy the adventure.

 . . .

What will that mean? What will it bring?  I certainly don't think it's going to be a year of sitting back and doing nothing and just enjoying life like that, at all.  I have an inkling of a slight possibility of something that MIGHT be coming up, that would certainly fulfil the adventure part for me.  But it isn't even a definite possibility yet, so news of that will have to wait.

One thing I know I am going to be enjoying is the year long online art class I have signed up for over at Willowing.ning, which you can find a link to in my sidebar.  In fact, as I write it is 5 minutes to midnight on New Years Eve and I am waiting for the stroke of midnight when I think the first class (or at least something) will go live.

 . . . 

Do you have a theme for 2012?  If not, maybe it's something you could think about.

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