As 2017 ends

As 2017 ends I can look back on a busy year with some unusual highs and lows even by our standards. Here are some of the things that stand out, from both sides of the ledger, in no particular order:

  • Losing my voice due to medical misadventure
  • Library conference, which was awesome
  • Getting down to goal weight, then 10kg below that!
  • Flying to Auckland for a shopping weekend with my sister, Ailsa
  • Spending time in ICU due to medical misadventure
  • Getting my voice back after about 7 months
  • Tony didn’t need surgery this year – fantastic!
  • Discovering I didn’t have a stroke but do have a spinal issue
  • Faith got settled on new heart & Cushing’s medication and is doing well

I don’t have major goals for 2018, in many way it’s just more of the same, but perhaps a bit more refined. So, my aims are:

  1. Painting more
  2. Doing art/craft regularly
  3. Stay at goal weight while eating a little more normally
  4. Drinking 1200 mls a day, every day
  5. Walking 4,000 steps minimum, every day
  6. Connecting with people who feed my soul, through snail mail and Twitter
  7. Making sure I am a positive influence in the world

That’s it – nothing too dramatic and no rocket science. Just a happy, balanced, quiet life. I wish you all peace, joy and a magical 2018.




Cleaning my stencils

I love my extensive collection of stencils but they’re just tools. I don’t fuss, wiping them with a baby wipe each time I use them, etc as some artists do. I use them, let the paint dry on them, and put them back into their ring binders. When I’m on a creative roll I couldn’t care less about cleaning up as I go.

Of course, there’s a but. Over time my favourite stencils get layers of paint built up on them, so they don’t achieve fine detail any more. They need to be cleaned. Ugh.

The easiest method I’ve found is one the lovely artist Pam Carriker recommends here. I buy the Eco band of dishwasher gel and soak then for 24 hours, then use a Scotchbrite to rub the paint off. You do have to be careful not to pull up any edges and damage the stencil. Some brands of stencil clean up easier than others; Tim Holtz stencils are *the* best, you can basically rinse the paint off under the tap without any scrubbing. Others are hard to clean or remain very stained. Either way, once they’ve been cleaned it’s a huge improvement.

So, I’m on my annual stencil-cleaning binge. Wish me luck… I’ve included before and after photos so you can see the difference it makes.

stencils 1stencils

One little word – enough

Every year I join #olw – One Little Word with Ali Edwards. In 2017 my word was ‘prepared’ and it was perfect for me; you can read about why I chose it here. In previous years I have had intention, mapping, balance, calm, and determined. My word lives on the wall by my desk, as a reminder of what I want to do and who (how) I want to be.

This year my word is ENOUGH.

On Twitter, and as part of my word with Kotuku and LIANZA conference etc, I sometimes talk with people about Imposter Syndrome. I tell them they are good enough, smart enough, prepared enough – they *are* enough.

I’ve been following The Aunties @whaeapower, mainly tweeted by Jackie Clark, for some time now. Recently Jackie has been in the media a lot, talking about giving what people they need, not what we want to give, about society’s desire for recipients to be seen to be ‘grateful’ for any old rubbish people hand out, and much more (very loose paraphrasing – please search for original articles if interested such as this one). Enough ties into this in a way I can’t yet articulate.

So what does enough mean for me? I means tackling my own occasional Imposter Syndome, but a lot more besides. It means trying to change how I think about people – about being accepting of who they are and where they are at, because they too are enough (as with kindness, that doesn’t mean there are no rules, no expectations, that I live in some wishy washy woolly existence). It means:

I am smart enough.

I am prepared enough.

I am good enough.

I am slim enough.

I am fit enough (but getting fitter).

I am loved enough.

I am loveable enough.

I *am* ENOUGH!


Playing in my art journals

A week or so back we brought all my art supplies into the house. I love having everything in the one room and, to my surprise, it has ramped up my desire to paint again.  I’m playing round with ideas in an old ledger book, and getting up early to paint.

I’ve also done a new 20×30″ canvas for our room. I wanted something with gold and red, so did a small test piece then the bigger canvas. Because the final canvas is much bigger the look isn’t quite the same, but I’m fine with that. It feels a bit like a scrap of mad Victorian wallpaper to me! My only disappointment is the canvas, a deep edge Winsor Newton, is warped so isn’t sitting flat to the wall on one side.

dream bigforsakengold leafnew painting

cmp weeks 46 and 47

What makes you different: Tim Holtz Distress Oxides, Dylusions paints, stencils, Simon Says Stamp inkpad.

Sparkly: Dylusions paints, Glossy Accents, Tim Holtz Distress Rocky Candy, gold glitter, stencils, Simon Says Stamp inkpad

week 46week 47

Like a Golden Anniversary

This week is the in-between point – Sandra Robinson and I are the same age for two weeks each year, then suddenly she’s older than me again 😉 This year the birthdays mark something more important than her seniority.

Sandra turning 50-mumble means we have been best friends for 50 years; this is a life-long friendship forged at kindergarten! If this was a marriage we’d be getting Golden Anniversary cards. A friendship this long *is* like a marriage – we’ve dealt with school, university, jobs, deaths, births, marriages, divorces, illness…

I could say our friendship is documented with a million photos over the decades. It isn’t. I have reality few photos of Sandra, becasue she is always there – in my mind, and in my heart. I don’t need photos…but this one speaks volumes to me for all kinds of reasons.


Abandoning my art room

Dad had a caravan shed attached to the garage and, years ago, we converted it to an office for the paper and my art room. It was freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer. Hopeless! I’ve never used it as much as I should and much of my craft stuff had moved to my inside office, but not my art supplies. I am almost ready to start to painting again so, last week, Tony and I moved everything inside. I’ve also given unused supplies away to someone semi-local who does great stuff.

Already I feel more inspired, and have started a page in an old ledger book that I haven’t touched for a year or two. It feels so good to have everything in one place and know that I only have the supplies I love. Here’s to a creative 2018!

And, yes, I did some more cardmaking – I had to make some for a friend and I needed some more cards for me.

card acard b

More Christmas cards

I’ve spent this afternoon making a bunch of fairly simple Christmas cards. I’ve used Tim Holtz crazy dog, cat & bird rubber stamps, Dylusions stamps, gel pens, Distress inks, coloured pencils, Glossy Accents (for noses etc), scrapbooking paper, and various dies. Most of these have either Glossy Accents or dimension using foam tape, or some gold ink for a little sparkle. Quick photos with my phone so the background colours look a bit creamy/weird!

xmas cards 0312