Sunday, February 5, 2012

The french one


Todays challenge is called "the french one." A fellow matchbox-challenge-companion commented that I obviously hadn't struggled with this challenge (thank you!) but I actually did. At first I made a small fashion drawing based on haute couture - but I couldn't figure what to put inside the box to somehow complete the matchbox. I soaked with it for a long while as I liked the idea of haute couture - it somehow epitomises french! The suddenly the idea of Coco Chanel appeared - and pearls... lots of pearls!

I based my watercolor drawing on this photo of Coco Chanel. I guess you could say with a modern twist - minus the cigarette!!

I lined the inside of the box with black silk and added a selection of genuine vintage pearls...

- and added a finishing touch of a Chanel inspired handmade trimming in black and white (also a Coco Chanel trademark). And I guess a bit of french appeared after all!

Coco Chanel photo found via

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A little bit of lace


Todays matchbox challenge is the lace one. For this challenge I dived into a box of hand dyed lace, silk and silk tulle and a bit of gold trimming.

I wrapped the box in layers - a bit like draping the corset of a dress.

The inside of the box lined with silk and a little handmade lace rosette brooch tucked inside. You can't acutally see the entire brooch but it is made from lace, silk chiffon, silk tulle, a matching feather and an antique button decorated with gold seed beads.

Oh... and the lace and silks were hand dyed with tea and beetroot.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Growing beautiful


The name of the matchbox challenge for day 3 is "the birthday one."
I approached this box with an image of a flower in full bloom (in what a consider a happy color). A flower to signify growth - growing more beautiful with each year that passes. Then I stitched on a few strings for banners and added the letters + a few small festive feathers.

Then a little surprise element for the inside - a bit of confetti in matching colors...

- and some lovely wise words... to be appreciated especially as you grow older!

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that counts. It's the life in your years."

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Birdie and his hidden treasures


Day two of the matchbox challenge - this one is called the bird one. Mmm... where does one start? Well birdie was a given. I then came to think of these gorgeous yellow winter berries which I had to capture the other day - there was something about the yellow berries against the icy-blue sky that really captured me.

Anyhow... I remembered this yellow (do you have color memory?) and thought it had to be paired with birdies beak. Then a bit of red to add a bit of color and warmth (oh, and a bit of watercolor splashes under birdies feet to mimick him hopping around on the ground)...

- and then his hidden treasures... (diving into my box of trinkets) a gorgeous blue magpie feather and a real bird skull!!

And voila... there you have it - the bird one!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Multum in parvo


It's been a while... I've been very much caught up in my heart cause. 
But I cannot resist this fun little February challenge from Jeska at Lobster & Swan. To make a matchbox for each day of February. My favorite motto is MULTUM IN PARVO (much in little) so I had to go with this challenge. The list looks like this - and this image being my first challenge - the airmail one.
1 the airmail one
2 the bird one
3 the happy birthday one 
4 the lace one
5 the french one
6 the thank you one
7 the water one
8 the music one
9 the recipe one
10 the pretty one
11 the shabby chic one
12 the antique one
13 the gold one
14 the love one
15 the fancy one
16 the nature one
17 the sweet one
18 the gentleman’s one
19 the rose one
20 the country one
21 the garden one
22 the cute one
23 the travelling circus one
24 the forget me not one
25 the Japanese one
26 the sparkly on
27 the last days of winter one
28 the romantic one
29 the extra one!

This matchbox contains five vintage floral stamps and will be posted in my Etsy shop along some of the other matchboxes (or I'm wondering if I should auction the lot at the end of the month??). As always the procees goes toward my cause rescuing Greek cats. 

To join or read more about this fun challenge, check out the original post here.
And do pop over and check out Jeska's over the top gorgeously detailed first matchbox... love it and leaves me wishing I had more time to spend on each box - disappearing into a fairy world of tiny-ness as I loved as a child.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Behind black & abandon


So in an earlier post I mentioned my two new "gifts" - black and abandon. Here's a bit about the story behind. 

I needed some playful fun (and something not too serious) to ingnite my creative life after more than 1 1/2 year away from it. I'd heard many inspired words about Christy Tomlinson's workshops and I thought it sounded just perfect to get me going again. I had no idea how the workshop would affect and inspire me, but it did in a big way (as I mentioned in an earlier post - it affected me in a way that rocked my creative foundation). I guess there's different advantages to attending a real live workshop with other people reflecting your creative work and just doing an online class in the comfort of your own home where no-one is there to reflect or make comments. 

I can honestly say I had no expectations whatsoever  - maybe just one of having some childish fun. I believe that's exactly why I had the aha-moment I did - I was open and I had no expectations. 

So I'm sat there enjoying watching Christy's fun videos, completely unwitting of the "rocks" that are about to hit me. Well, the first rock that hit me was "abandon." At some point watching her work I notice that I'm beginning to get twitchy thinking she's adding too much stuff. I'm thinking; "It's perfect now... don't ruin it." And yet she continues to splash and dabble with the paints, inks, paper and what have you. But suddenly it all magically blends in to this gorgeous little piece of perfect mess (and I mean this in the most positive and sincere way!) - and I can feel some kind of inner boundary being pushed. There was something about the abandoned way she worked that made everything blend so magically - just what I needed, to not be too overly concerned about the result, but more believing it would turn out just perfect. When I studied fashion design (my artistic background) we were always told to strive for perfection (nothing less was good enough!) and that can be a little stifling to your creative process to put it mildly. 

Well, there was another "rock" in store for me...
 Christy likes her black doodle-pens. She doodles a lot! A smile is allowed as you ask; "So what's up with doodling?" Again I watched her doing all these random doodles - right across her creative pieces - and I was thinking; "Oh no, not again, don't spoil it" but the same magic happened - it just pefected the piece. So the next day I decide to try this for myself and I initially ended up with a neat little piece. A bit too neat and boring I thought, so I'm thinking let me have a go with some black accents and a black doodling pen. At first I could hardly get myself to put the black on the paper - it actually made me feel uneasy inside. So of course I was wondering; "What on earth is up with black?" And suddenly I get this flash-back to art school where I've been introduced to hard and soft pencils. I always used hard pencils because they were thinner and not quite as visible as the softer pencils. I suddenly realised how closely linked these two (black and abandon) were. Feeling the weight of must strive for perfection upon my shoulders I'm sure I developed some kind of inhibition where if I used something vague (like a hard pencil) then I wouldn't be noticed too much and therefore my imperfection wasn't as likely to be noticed. Yes I know - how much you can be unaware and ignorant of when you're in your early twenties!  So upon this realisation I'm thinking; "Holy cow!" (or something stronger than that!!) and decide there and then to give it a good old splash and doodle with some black. And suddenly magic appears - my little neat piece comes to life and I'm beginning to feel endeared to it and I'm realising that I've just been given two huge gifts. And in an instant the cost of this workshop has just redeemed itself.

I do believe these insights serendipitously coincided with joining The Great Big Card Swap where I did my first ever free motion stitching - and I fell in love in a way where I couldn't believe I hadn't done that before! Anyhow... I felt everything creatively falling into place and I could suddenly feel my own signature style as an artist appearing - something I've been struggling with for years. I knew my new friend black had to play a prominent part so the black button appeared, almost as the dot under an exclamation mark as if to say; "I'm here to stay." I also just loved the idea of wildly stitching a black frame (the loose threads being used to tie a bow) to make the entire piece pop. Abandon was included in the way of just tearing and ripping fabrics - using some natural dyes and going with the first attempts - randomly placing some contradicting fabrics (such as silk and burlap) and doing some completely abandoned stitching - I just let me hand go with the flow.

I don't think I've ever had more creative fun and I am just loving the results.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A word portrait...


- that's what I call my stitched hangers.
I'm fascinated by the power of words and how a well-chosen word or words can encapsulate the essence of a person - or indeed a quality of a person.

This is the one I posted with close up details - and here it is in its entirety. Another hanger is awaiting a photo shoot and then these are ready to be listed in my Etsy shop. On this hanger I've used a favorite wise quote (if you can't read the text click on image to enlarge) and I kind of let the words dictate the composition. I recently got very inspired by these words used in a post by a dear friend

From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
‘Yes, I knew of them.’
Isaiah 48:6-7

I love this idea of creating something that has not been created before - of something original fetched out of, well... a world unseen and unknown to us. As if a creative intelligence is just there awaiting translation.

These hangers will also be made available as custom order with a word or words to match the essence of the receiver.