Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Into the Carnival of 2016

So far this year has been like the house of mirrors. Big promises, unexpected turns and some ugly distortion. 

I won't go into detail about it here but I've sent a very personal email to my subscribers. If you’re interested in receiving it please sign up here. I’m not sure what future ones will be like but let’s just see.

Thursday I’m going in for my long awaited hand surgery (35 years to be exact). Operation bump-be-gone. You may have read about it when I posted about it here last year. Surprisingly it’s been one of my most popular posts of 2015. 

The only nerves I have about the whole thing are only in regard to how long my right hand will be out of commission. I mean, I’m right handed. And to keep sane I paint and write or at least exercise. I can’t imagine not doing any of those things. Well I can imagine it..and it's not pretty. I'm one of those people who spirals downward without stimulation.

If all goes well, I will only have a few days of downtime. In a way I'm actually looking forward to being forced to rest. I should probably enjoy it and stop whinging. Cross my heart (with my left hand) I'll do my best…Netflix queue- I’m coming for YOU (suggestions welcome).

Anyway- apologies in advance if I'm off the radar for a minute or two.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Makers Monthly February 2016

Hey crafty, creative peeps! It's our favorite time of the month again- time to showcase our latest projects.

Read more about this monthly link up here.

To join with  your latest DIY, project or to share your store click on the blue link at the bottom of this post. I'll be paying to promote this post on Facebook- at least a few of you contacted me to say you had gotten a bit of traffic from it which rocks!
I feel incredibly grateful that I've been able to work on another special commission over the last few weeks. The brief is super interesting too! Want to hear about it?

A lovely friend I met (through another lovely mutual friend) recently changed careers so she could do something she felt was more meaningful with her time and talent. This woman is whipsmart and as wise as they come. I'm kind of forcing her to be my mentor because she inspires me.

Helen turned me onto Author and Speaker Brene Brown who, through her writing, is showing me how to be brave enough to let walls down in my artwork and in my life.

So, now Helen works at a local University and wanted a series for her new office. It's kind of a hub where she will be conducting interviews and doing research so it's a place in the uni where it will get more than average traffic and where people will sit for long periods of time.

Her idea was for me to create three pieces that tell a story. Something for people to stare at as they spoke. She liked my use of historical magazines in some of my work and enjoyed some of the softness and color in this piece.

After mulling it over I thought about telling the story of technology. It means something completely different to me than it does to students today (For example I was in the last class to graduate Uni before Facebook existed) but I think technological change is a universal subject across generations.

Above is the piece I was working on in January. It's been completed and sent off to it's new home!

January 2016

December 2015

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sexy, Slow-Cooker, Soy Chicken With Asian Slaw

Did you ever notice how words used to describe food often sound a little naughty? I mean, seriously- I dare you to watch Nigella and not think about sex once. It's all in the descriptions.

I was feelin' it while this chicken was in the slow-cooker! The smells wafting out of there were downright sassy. I could not WAIT for dinner.

The sweet, salty and sour flavors will tease your tastebuds into submission. There is nothing like a completely satisfying meal.

Bonus: This one is mid week quickie.

Wink, wink.

Slow Cooker Chicken With Asian Slaw

For the Chicken

  • 2 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Clove Garlic Grated
  • 1 (Thumb size) Chunk of Raw Ginger Grated
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine wet ingredients in slow cooker then add the grated ginger and garlic.
  2. Give it a quick stir.
  3. Add chicken making sure the breasts are at least halfway submerged. I like to cover the exposed breasts (giggle) with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and gently swirl to coat the chicken completely.
  4. Once cooked, remove the chicken and shred with tongs and a fork.
  5. Transfer juices to a pan and reduce to about halfway, then add shredded chicken to the sauce. (You can skip this step if you want but it's worth it).

For the Slaw

  • 2 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Carrot Shredded
  • 1 Stalk Broccoli (skinned)
  • 1 Red Apple
  • A few leaves Chopped Mint
  • 1 Tomato 
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • A Few Shakes Salt & Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Shred veggies and fruit with a grater or in a food processor. (I chopped the tomato with a knife so it didn't get mushy.
  2. Toss with lemon juice and sesame oil.
  3. Add mint.
  4. Season with S&P.

To Serve

Place chicken and slaw onto little slider buns and serve with some extra slaw on the side. If you are low carb try putting everything into a wrap or onto some spinach.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Years Funkalutions

I don’t do resolutions. 

Well, technically I resolve to improve all the time but not specifically because of a new year. Call it my stubborn Italian streak but I don't like doing things because I 'have to.' I have much more success in making changes when I genuinely 'want to.'

Lately I'm working on time management, completing projects when I start them, not getting stuck in the social media time warp. I have to say the biggest obstacle I'm resolving to remove is fear. I’m afraid to paint because it won’t be good enough, I’m afraid to write because my words will be mediocre, I'm afraid if I show my true self that no one will like me.

Fear is one of those things that gets in the way of vulnerability- a trait that I've learned to take on as a massive source of strength and power.

Here's to a 2016 with more vulnerabilty, honesty and less fear. I like how that sounds- much more realistic than setting a list of easily breakable resolutions.

Ok here goes *shudder*

This year I’m going to write a book. 

This book has been started, then discarded, over many years. I struggled with what I wanted to say and with how to write without a filter.

There. I said it. Now you can hold me accountable as I go and wash my granny panties (because I was scared shitless to tell you that).

I used to tell people about every grand idea I ever had. Starting such-and-such a website, project, degree. And I learned to stop telling people about my brainstorms until they were already complete or at least underway. If something didn't pan out I would suffer in silence. Now I think perhaps there is a better way.

Let me explain.

Putting it all out there on the line (along with embarrassing undergarments) can be terrifying if not bodily fluid inducing. If I'm honest I will tell you that in a way- I'm relieved I told you about the book. If I don't complete it we could look at it as a failure or we could look at it as: "Well shoot- I tried to accomplish this goal and now I'm disappointed." And I think the latter will promote a heck of a lot more support and empathy.

The point is to be more honest, vulnerable, real and you may just be surprised at the results. 

What's my book about? Sorry to disappoint but it's about me. It's not advice or a how to guide. Just the story of how I was able to rediscover my identity through creativity. At best, I hope it can inspire, at the least I hope you find it an interesting story.

Thanks for being there. Let's see where the the pen (keyboard) takes us.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm Not A Bowie Fan But I Get It

I'm not trying to jump on the Bowie bandwagon here. I just had a conversation Friday night about how I don't find him attractive (and now I feel a teeny-bit bad about it).

It's just that I think David Bowie has been only a subconscious part of my life's soundtrack. I am a self-researched music aficionado. I didn't have hippy parents or older siblings who introduced me to him. My first CD was The Bodyguard soundtrack followed by Mariah Carey's. I didn't discover the Beatles until my teen years and didn't listen to Queen until College.

When I heard the news of Bowie's death I could not help but recognize his invaluable contributions to music, pop culture and sexuality. He was a talented, influential artist who loved the crap outta his wife and family. By all accounts a really good dude and roll model.

And it's not that I don't like him or his music- it's just that I never latched onto him. I do realize that many of my beloved 90's rappers paid homage as they rhymed over his beats (Ice Ice Baby much?) Without Bowie- there would be no P Diddy.

Like most music lovers (aka everyone) I felt the collective sadness over his passing. Then this morning I learned that in his last few months of life he had been working on an album. I could not stop thinking about that. This song was released two days before he died:

Most people had no idea he was sick. He didn't announce it asking for prayers or attention. Money could not save him. So he did what any artist does. He created. Any background respect I had for David Bowie has turned to direct admiration. In his last moments he did what made him happy, without ever giving up.

I read somewhere that the new album is a goodbye to his fans but I would bet it's much more than that. It's immortality.

When we die all we leave behind is what we've created. When our time is up possessions will be scattered, donated or trashed. The only thing left is our performance.

If you want to live an authentic life, to be happy and to be fulfilled- just take a look at the legacy of Mr. David Bowie.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Makers Monthly: January

Cheers to a creative 2016!

Better late than never- I just wanted to kick off this month's makers Monday showcase before January blurs past us all. I will try and post one of these at the beginning of each month but I think I get a free pass after the soul-sucking holiday season (I think I drank my weight in Chardonnay).

Above are detail shots from a commission I'm working on for a lovely blog pal in the USA. She's recently separated from her husband, moved cross country, and started a new career. She wants her space to reflect the incredible (and I think brave) changes she is making in her life. Though she blogs about serious health issues I am constantly in giggle fits from Rachael's Facebook posts. She has even inspired me to write a healing and confronting post on my blog in response to one of hers.

I hope you like it girlfriend. More to come.

Click on the link below and share something original. It can be a link to your online store, a craft, a recipe, poem or DIY tutorial. Can't wait to see what everyone contributes.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mission ————-> Art

My biggest shock about becoming a mother was the (temporary) loss of identity. I’ve written plenty of posts about it (most of them don’t quite articulate my feelings as well as I would like). 

My life had been interesting but I felt like a drifter...I had a Masters degree and a 'useful' thesis on how the cult of celebrity influences trends. I had a passport proudly filled with stamps, a catalogue of interesting job titles and I moved my entire life to Australia for love. Sounds pretty cool right? Well, when I became a Mother the little patchwork of a life got obliterated.

I no longer had the time and freedom I once took for granted. How could I be a Mom and still be me?

Combine an identity crisis with lack of sleep, unstable hormones, loss of confidence and you have the perfect recipe for depression. Yup. And to make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) I decided to publicly journal my feelings in a blog. Hello I’m a vulnerable little flower *cower*

Luckily I received the opposite of boot-prints and rather instant support in the form of messages, calls, emails lots of people saying 'me too!' Even my husband received messages from his friends to see if we were okay. This was humbling and motivating. 

Writing was one of my neglected loves and resurrecting it proved to be more than a useful outlet. As soon as I was able to write honestly and let go of my crippling perfectionism I could process how I felt and let the healing process begin.

I continued down the dusty path of my dormant hobbies nurturing them them one by one. Once my love for art bloomed so did my interest in design, photography and crafting. I started taking a few online classes, reading books, watching tutorials (you can learn so much for free!)

I was desperate to make my free-time count. Investing in myself seemed selfish until I remembered that by doing this I would be giving my daughter the ultimate gift- an example.

Following my interests and rediscovering my passion turned into a business, a mission, something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
Art in all it’s forms is an expression of our identity and personality. It does not matter if we make it, hang it, or view it——> this is fuel for growth. I want to help others (re)discover their identity through art and creativity.
I'm working on a few projects that will help show others how I went from a confused, depressed, new mother to a person both my daughter and I can be proud of.

I don't intend to write a self-help book or a how-to manual. My hope is that by sharing my story and some of the tools I've used may spark some inspiration or show you the first signpost for your own authentic quest.

Help me help you- what would you like to hear about most?