June 30, 2016

Musings on The Art Process

I'm going to talk about an aspect of the art/ painting process again today after a blog post I saw yesterday sparked some thought on it.
In my studio: Works in progress

It was this post by Pam Garrison, where she's showing the work process of some paintings. (Beautiful colours!)

A gorgeous little loose painting of a bird appeared, and then she said that for better or worse during the painting process, it had disappeared under another layer.
how beautiful is it..!?

This happens to me so much, and was it was interesting to read this process from another artist. I've been working on a painting recently, only quite small, about 8 x 10", and the layers it's had are plentiful! There's been flowers, birds, shapes... but I never stop until I've reached a point where I'm happy. I do love the texture and history that builds up in the process, which is a positive that comes out of this process.

And sometimes that means loosing something that you quite liked along the way.

And you can never look at a painting and guess how long it took to do. Sometimes they come out quickly, and others are a struggle. A lot of hidden hours can be layered under one piece.

Here's some images I lost in the painting process. (These were a painting challenge I did which you can read about here.)
I still haven't got over the fact that I didn't leave these paintings as they were!

And these are under paintings completely made to be painted over. I quite liked the second one as it was, but it's gone now.
And who knows where it will end up.
My sketchbook where I repeatedly cover images over and add layers
This is the one that has lots of layers, there are birds and flowers and fronds all hidden away in there :)
A close- up so you can see some of the built- up texture

So I hesitate to put a good or bad label on this aspect of the painting process, as I think it's sometimes an integral part of the process, depending on your painting style. Sometimes it's sad when you loose a certain aspect, but painting is not a linear process. Art is not created in that way. The rules are elusive, it's formula is hazy. Something that worked before may not work again. You can apply the same rules and come out with something fantastic, or something mediocre (as subjective as that may all be, anyway.) The universe takes your previously successful methods, churns them up and spurts them back out at you just to keep you on your toes. Because I think if we ever end up truly understanding the art process it wouldn't be Art anymore. 

Don't you think?

Jules :)

June 24, 2016

Sewing Tutorial: Scrappy Happy Doll


I have a sewing tutorial for you today. A scrappy happy doll :)

Download your pattern to print here. Make sure you print your file at 100%.

Skill level: intermediate

You will need:

-Some plain calico fabric
-A few small pieces of pretty/ colourful fabrics
-Sewing thread/ cotton
-Sewing needle, scissors, pencil, pins, small safety pin, sewing machine
-Embroidery thread in various colours
-Wool for hair
-Felt in similar colour to chosen hair colour

Now, we made three dolls at the one time, as Miss 5 and Miss 7 saw what I was doing and had to join in. So photos may not always show the same fabric/ colours! Even though this is intermediate sewing level; I always find the kids can help out with cutting and sewing straight lines. Mummy takes over for the tricky parts, but having them choose their own fabrics and help me with parts here and there, they are still proud of their finished creation and feel that they have made it themselves :)


Print your pattern out at 100%.

Cut your paper pattern templates out along the lines. The lines will be where you sew, so the fabric will be cut larger than the shape you draw. You will use the templates to trace around your pieces onto your fabric.

You only need to draw the body outline once. Cut the fabric around it like shown, and then cut a second piece of calico the same size as the first one. When tracing, mark your hairline, leg guides and opening as well. Your markings are on the wrong side of the fabric. Turn this same piece of fabric over and carefully trace the facial features onto the right side of the fabric.

Using the hairline guide, place your piece of felt on the plain fabric piece lining up as shown.

Sew it on in matching thread close to the edge in matching colour, as shown in the second photo. (So messy! No matter.)
Use your pattern to draw a faint line on the felt. This will act as a guide for when we sew on our hair. 
Next, just below our hair, we are going to sew on some patterned fabric. Fold the raw edge over and sew it close to the folded edge. Do the same for both pieces, making sure they are lined up to each other. Note that the sewing outline is on the other side of the fabric here. Our sewing outline needs to be on the wrong side of our fabric.
Trace around your arm and leg shapes two times and then cut out adding seam allowance. Add a second piece of fabric to each piece and sew them together like shown, back stitching at the ends. Trim shape about .7cm (1/4") from the stitching. I like to use a small stitch length when sewing toys for extra security.
Turn legs and arms inside out. I used a chopstick to poke the ends in. (A tip is to lick your fingers to grab hold of the fabric above the chopstick to grip it and start pulling it down over the chopstick.)
Stuff arms and legs using your chopstick or similar leaving 1cm (3/8") empty at the ends. Turn the ends of the ARMS ONLY in, making sure both arms end up the same length.
Take some wool and lay it across the centre of your felt as shown. I drew a little line at the top so I could see where the middle was for sewing. I cut lengths that were 25cm (10") long and lined them up and sewed them down. (I went over them twice to make sure they were all nicely secured in.)
Now you need to move the sewn hair out of the way and sew pieces of hair around the edge of the hairline. Loop pieces over measuring to match the length of the hair already sewn.You do not want to sew the hair on the hairline but a fraction outside of the hairline you drew earlier. It may help you to have your wool lengths ready to go and place and sew them gradually at the sewing machine.
Embroider your face using coloured embroidery thread in your chosen colours.
Now we are going to pin everything together. 

Place your two body pieces right sides together, positioning all the hair as best you can into the centre of the shapes. Matching up the sides of your patterned fabric as best you can and use your hand to flatten everything down and then pin everything into place. The pattern is very forgiving, so just do your best :) It feels very awkward. Your legs need to be placed inside of the shape with about 1cm poking out past the bottom sewing line. You can feel inside of your body shape to check if they are at the same length. You don't want one leg longer than the other. You may need to adjust if not. (Ignore my sewing lines on my pinned doll, they are slightly different to the final pattern.)
Carefully sew around the shape, making sure you don't catch any loose pieces of hair/ wool in the sides. You will, of course, be sewing over the loops of hair at the top of your doll (just inside where you sewed the loops of wool down). Leave the side open, backstitching at the start and end. Trim your fabric around the edges, snipping close to the stitching at the corners to reduce bulk. Once again, I have used quite a small stitch length for this, around 2.6- 2.8.
Now for the fun part! The big reveal! Turn her in the right way, add some stuffing, and hand stitch up the opening you left folding the raw edges in as you go.
Hand stitch the opening of the arm holes together using small neat stitches, then hand stitch them to the sides of her body.
Then you get to play hairdresser! Give her a hairstyle and trim. 

You can make a scarf by cutting two pieces of fabric (use a stretchy type fabric like a knit or jersey (t-shirt type fabric) or felt so that it doesn't fray. I cut two pieces 37 x 2cm (14 1/2" x 3/4"), blanket stitched around them in contrasting embroidery thread and then hooked small pieces of colourful embroidery thread through the end stitches with a small crochet hook, and looped them through themselves.

Make a skirt by cutting two pieces of fabric 15cm x 10.5cm (6" x 4 1/8"). Place right sides together and sew side seams with a 1cm (3/8") allowance, zigzagging raw edges. Zigzag raw edges at the top and bottom, then fold top and bottom edges in 1cm (3/8") and sew down with straight stitch, leaving an opening at the top seam to add some elastic. I cut a 17cm (6 5/8") piece of elastic. Pop your elastic in using a small safety pin, sew the ends together overlapping 1cm (3/8") and finish sewing your top seam. You can get creative and add an extra different coloured hem like I did, or sew on a fancy ribbon around the bottom edge, or even add some contrasting pockets. The more you add, the more scrappy and unique she becomes :)

I also made some socks out of some stretchy material by tracing around her legs and hand stitching them on the wrong side of the fabric, then turning them out the right way.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and please show me a photo if you make one of your own! 
Happy sewing!

Jules :)

ps. Please let me know if there's anything unclear in this tutorial so I may rectify it, thank you!

June 16, 2016

Does Social Media Make You Feel Bad?

Preened rooms? Gorgeous designer furniture & rugs and people sipping their homemade superfood smoothies on their picturesque decks (with hair and make up looking professionally done)?

I just read this post from Design Sponge. They had a monthly challenge using the has tag #DSCandid which they made to get people to submit photos of real life without filters.

What a great idea. I'm sure that if they showed more of these photos they'd probably loose readers, as people do want to look at awesome pretty photos. But then again, there is so much talk about all the pretty pictures making people feel bad & like they haven't got their own lives together.

Here are some real-life facts about myself.

I often don't bother much with my hair or put make up on.
I am very messy. I go to clean or tidy but then get totally distracted and sidetracked by other shiny things, projects or my phone/ computer.
I get really stressed if the house is messy, but it usually always is because I like to do my artwork and creative stuff first, thinking I will get to it later, but then later never comes. I don't mind housework so much, it just seems like there's never a good time to actually do it! I often feel overwhelmed by it.

So I thought I'd join in the challenge and went through some photos of mine and found a few 'real-lifers'.

Enjoy :)
To be honest this one looks like it has a filter. But yeah, this is what my desk usually looks like.
Hmmmm. Glitter and kids. Obviously this was left here and they'd gotten sidetracked, just like their Mum does, and they were off onto the next thing.
And me! In a totally messy room with my hair totally not done. That is not a stain on my top by the way, it's an old mirror. I have to redeem some of my dignity!
Working on our paper mache tree

So what do you think of all the pretty Instagram/ Facebook/ Blogging photos? Do they make you feel inadequate or do you just enjoy looking? I love all the pretty photos but I do think it's important every now and then to check into reality and to remind ourselves that no one is perfect. Even if they look like sometimes they come really close.

Jules :)

June 07, 2016

New Art Print & The Inspiration

Making a fairy pot

It's not a new occurrence to me that I have fully indulged in the folksy fantasy world of fairies and mermaids and the like since having kids. Scrolling through my (thousands of) photos on my computer I can just see so much colour and creativeness. And toadstools. Which makes me happy. (What makes me not so happy is the thousand of photos that need sorting through. Sigh.)

I've picked a few fun ones out that may have already been shared on my social media, but show how we incorporate that fantasy folksy feel into our lives.
Terrariums are fun to make
I found these little keys on ebay. I bought them for crafting purposes though most of them have disappeared into the land of imaginative play thanks to curious little hands in my studio.

I've been working on a new print over the last couple of weeks. I found a little doodle I'd done in the corner of a sketch book that I thought would make a nice painting. Of course, it's a little fairy house.
The painting in progress

It's no wonder I'm in this world. I love it so much though, I will probably stay here even when my kids grow up. 
Princess playing mama to a praying mantis in the garden. Complete with scrunched hat :)
I have no idea what I was starting here..!
Toadstools are a big source of inspiration

So I have finished the new painting and have made it available as a print in my Etsy shop. It was so much fun to paint and I imagine little fairy folk inside there, nice and warm, straightening up their belongings and making dew drop tea.
I hope my painting or blog post inspires you in some way. And indulge in the fairy fantasy world if you want to; regardless of your age!

Jules :)

June 03, 2016

Creative Book & Magazines

Hello! How are we?

I'd like to share today two of my favourite creative magazines. Lucky me, my husband bought me the Uppercase Compendium of Craft & Creativity for my Birthday recently. Let's start with that.

Compiled and published in Canada by the enviously studious and amazing Janine Vangool from Uppercase Magazine. (How does she do it all?) This is a book of different artists & crafters talking and showcasing their work. Every few pages features a different artist and it's great to delve in and to read about their processes and thoughts surrounding their chosen craft. 

You also get this slip jacket where you can refold and choose your favourite cover. If you're a paper lover like me then you get a tad more excited than is normal over little things like that.
I chose this cover for my copy :)
Christina Roos page. So great to flick through and discover new artists that pique my interest.

Easily available online if you live in Australia, through Wordery. The postage was a bit too pricey coming directly from the Uppercase shop, but we ordered it through Wordery it was delivered quickly. 

Now for Flow magazine! Something else that I have an out-of-normal-range excitement level for when a new issue comes out. The magazine that originates in The Netherlands looks great, is beautifully designed, featuring artists, craft, stories and articles that to me, are just 'normal'. Not gossipy or trying to out- do anyone else, but down to Earth honest articles and quirky, creative pictures. It's colourful and makes you feel happy. This mag comes with lots of fun little bonuses such as tear out gift tags and the like. 

On their website they state; "Flow is a magazine that takes it's time. Celebrating creativity, imperfection, and life's little pleasures." I love that.

I order this one in to my local Newsagent.
Taproot magazine is a very 'Earth Mama' type of magazine, featuring a bit of craft, some stories, a feature cover artist and some cooking. Think spinning wool, preserving plums & free ranging chickens with kids in handmade clothes running after them getting grubby after their home schooling session :)

I order this one directly from the Taproot website. Australians can also source this magazine from my friends at Spiral Garden in Tasmania.
Thanks for stopping by.

Jules :)


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