Archives

Almost forgot!!

It’s 9.10pm and I was sitting here thinking I would like to make 9.30pm my cut-off time for computer from now on. That I would like to shut it all down and if I don’t go to bed then I can use that time to focus on reading a book, doing arts n crafts, writing to penpals, or some kind of study or organisation for what is happening next in my life. Then I remembered I am committed to posting a blog post every single day this month!

I don’t really have much to report today. Not a single photo taken though I did grab some footage of my baby girl riding her new two wheeler bike for the first time today like she’s been doing it forever! I was so impressed. My little girl isn’t usually known for being very brave, she lets herself miss out on so much because she is too scared to try – much to my dismay and I have no idea how to help her. Yet here she was, jumping straight on her bike and off she went! She was so proud of herself, and so was I! It left me wishing I had my own bike as well. I’d love to take the kids to long bike trails and go for rides with them. It’s about time TeenBoy learned how to ride a bike don’tcha think? 🙂

I’ve always loved bike riding. I still remember the very first day I got my bike. I don’t remember how old I was, 6 or 7 maybe? You can tell how old I am when you see what my first bike looked like…

 

 

note: this is not my actual bike, image sourced from google images.

note: this is not my actual bike, image sourced from google images.

Yeap, they don’t make them like that anymore. I loved my bike so much. See the loop of metal at the back of the banana seat (that’s what it’s called, a banana seat)? I got on my bike and my dad held that and pushed me and off I went. Like my daughter I just got the hang of it straight away and loved it ever since. As a teenager I would happily ride the 7kms to school and then 7kms back every single day, often beating the school bus to the stop I would get off at. The breeze in my hair, the speed, the feeling of the gliding, the breath pounding in and out of my lungs, having to stand up when the wind was going against you but the fun easy and fast ride when it was a tail wind. Thinking about it now I’m not sure why I ever stopped riding a bike. Possibly because they have always been too expensive for me to own. After seeing my baby girl on the bike though I’m seriously pondering buying myself one and getting one of those bike fittings on my car so we can find some good long bike trails. Do you have a bike? Do you go on family bike rides? I think I’d be able to drag myself out of bed at 6am again for a bike ride…. maybe 😛

 

LifeBook 2015 – Lesson One with Tam

I finally finished my art piece in response to Tamara Leporte’s first Life Book class for 2015. As usual the photo just doesn’t do it justice.

02LB15

I walked in to my studio this morning and she just glittered and sparkled up at me from the table I had left her on all night to dry properly and seeing her just filled me with so much joy! The photo doesn’t show the sparkle of glitter all down the left side where the white bubbles are, nor does it show the bit of glitter held within the pentagram staff or the glitter in each petal of hair. It also doesn’t show that the pearls upon her brow are raised and also have bits of very small cosmetic grade glitter in it too. Then of course is the heart. Yeap, all filled with glitter. Oh how I love glitter!!

I love to use Tam’s classes as a kick-board as such to help me along with my own piece. As a general rule I watch her entire class first then go out to the studio and do what I remember in my head with my own person touches and slight changes. I really enjoy that we can do that with each lesson in Life Book or if you’re just beginning and learning you can copy her piece to the absolute letter.

As I was starting out doing the face of my ‘Beacon of Light’ the phrase ‘Love like your life depends on it’ floated through my head and I literally wrote it down on my desk. Yeap. In pencil on my desk. I know it won’t stay there and at the end of the day, it’s my art desk so I really don’t care what ends up on it! So right then I knew it was the phrase I was going to use in the piece. I also have a message in my magical lettering up the staff.

I wanted to show my beacon of light to be VERY happy and full of light so that is why I chose to lift her cheeks up so they scrunched her eyes slightly and give her a big open mouthed, toothy smile. Tam’s piece is all in golds and yellows but I really wanted a slightly different colour blended in with the whole thing but I didn’t want it to just be out of nowhere. So I did the background with a soft magenta and then used the same colour in her headwrap (I just remembered I was totally going to give her a knot and have it trail away like a scarf.. d’oh! I knew there was going to be something to help feel that large space on the left there!!) and also put it in her sleeves.

Of course I had to outline everything in my favourite sakura black glaze pen cause I just adore nice black outlines, I think it’s the illustrator in me. It keeps everything neat and in place!

I really enjoy doing mixed media work, however it’s not the stuff that makes my soul sing. Not like illustration does and using copics.

If you’ve been reading my posts so far this year you’ll know that one of my words for the year is FOCUS. The reason that came about is because I really want to focus on figuring out exactly what it is Creative Alchemy brings to the world. What exactly am I offering? It keeps floating around in my head in a confused misbehaving ghost that I seem incapable of putting my finger on and holding down so I can get a good look and feel for what it is.

I listened to Tamara LePorte’s interview over here this afternoon: http://thrivingartistsummit.com/summit2015/ and there were a few things she said that really stuck with me and one of the more potent things was to do what makes you happiest, or something along those lines. (I have an amazing memory but it is not eidetic!) So I pondered on that a little. Getting out in to my shed makes me happy – well, when it’s not boiling hot and sticky out there anyway. Getting to play with ALL my different supplies makes me happy, however what is it that I am happiEST playing with?

It really shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to realise. For those who have known me for the past year at least, even you could have sat there, rolled your eyes at me, and told me what it is. Copics of course! My favourite medium is copics. I really do enjoy mixed media, and I would use my copics within the mixed media genre however they are SO precious to me and quite expensive that I don’t want to risk ruining a nib by using it on a medium that destroys the fibres or some such thing! I don’t want to use the inks in the refill bottles because they are expensive too, part of me wishes I had two full sets, one just for illustration and the other for mixed media. Or even a set of the cheaper mepxy brand.

So ok, got my favourite medium to work with, the one that I feel happiest using but I don’t want to sell them. What to do with them? I have a children’s book I’ve come up with but I’m really unhappy with the illustrations and I hate it when I have to do the same thing over and over and over again. I’m easily bored! That’s why I love having so many different projects going at a time with so many different mediums. Quilling, polyclay, painting, mixed media, illustration…. etc. So what then? OK, what do I love drawing? Dragons. Mandalas. Fairies. Mermaids. Yeah, but I don’t want to just sell prints. What is something else that stirs my passion? Again, listening to Tam mention how she never set out to be a teacher, people just said she would make a good one and eventually started asking her to teach them and a little bell went off in my head. I’ve heard a number of times from people how I would make a good teacher and I love teaching when I can push that fear aside. Ok, so teaching. Teaching copics? Well, as much as I know them inside and out and upside and all things in-between there’s only so many things you teach about copics before everyone is an expert.

So I don’t know. I still don’t have a clear focus on where I am going. But I feel a small step closer and that’s got to be good right? Teaching, copics, mythological creatures. I’d also love to add in my metaphysical healing, spirituality stuff as well. I do love teaching basics too because I think no matter how well you get in any particular field it is always good to go back to basics. *sigh* You know, I’m already on the path to what it is I want to do and offer with my business. You know what my issue is? I need to just do what needs to be done and at the moment I’m stuck having to edit videos and that is not something that makes me happy. It is tedious and mind numbing and a little daunting hearing myself. I just want to do the fun part of demonstrating to people then have it magically appear online, be marketed well enough that people want to pay me to learn from me and voila. Unfortunately that is not how a business is run when you are a solopreneur! When it’s just you, you have to do it all. You have to do the boring, tedious hard work, the nitty gritty minor details.

I should probably be doing some of that right now instead of sitting here blogging. Procrastinating yet again. I need to stop finding things to help me procrastinate. I want to get things done. The sooner I edit the last two videos of my beginner mandala course the sooner I get to start recording my beginner copic course! So shut up Samantha and FOCUS! Right?

Oh that’s right…

… I’m meant to be doing a post a day. Its 5pm already here in the lovely land of Oz and all I’ve done today is face paint for 2 hours at my regular gig, work a bit on the first lesson from Tamara in her LifeBook 2015 course, and daydream about what I would like to get done instead of actually doing it. Yeap, that’s me, Master Procrastinator.

 

WHAT I WANNA GET DONE

I want to finish editing the last of the beginner mandala course so I can start working on the intermediate one, or better yet the beginner copic e-course… which one of those would you prefer I did first? Oh, and I want to record a book binding video.

I want to put together some kind of pdf or such for my face painting and email it out to a bunch of taverns I think might possibly take me on as a regular. I would love to have at least 2 more regular gigs a week. I’d happily not do any other face painting if I could have 3 regular gigs a week!

 

For now, if I’m honest with myself, these are really the ONLY two things I need to get done to help both of my businesses along. If I could just focus on both of those things instead of getting side-tracked with polyclay, or mixed media projects, or telecasts, then perhaps I could stop feeling like I’m not getting anything done and feeling disappointed in myself. It’s a little frustrating. Like losing weight. I know what I need to do but I don’t. I think that needs to be the new definition of stupidity. I wonder what it is on a deeper level… the fear of succeeding? The fear of failing? Fear. Or is it fear as well as that deep-seated feeling of not being good enough, that lack of self-worth.

So what does the Master Procrastinator do? Takes on a blog-a-day challenge to further take time away from what she knows she really could be doing to better her businesses. I just know though, that if I wasn’t doing this, it’d be something else to procrastinate over. Like wondering randomly how much art supplies you’ve swallowed in your life because you didn’t bother to wash your hands before you ate. Unhygenic much? Pfft, just down-right laziness I reckon!

 

Well I think that’s enough rabbling for today. Time to ponder how or what to put together to email to these taverns. That part isn’t the hard part that makes me feel sick. It’s the follow up phone call a week later that does my head in. Why does that have to be so hard for me? WHY??!!!!!!!

Challenge Accepted!

I came across this blog via a friend of mine, who also blogs, and they have this challenge of doing a blog post a day each month with different themes. Well, I don’t know if I will continue it or not, but for this month I’m going to give it a go. I am going to do my best to write one blog post per month. Either with their theme/prompt in mind or keeping it more relevant to the artistic and spiritual nature of what Creative Alchemy is all about. If you’re interested check out the blog here:

http://www.nablopomo.com

The weekends are for free writing and today is a Saturday. So I thought I would use today’s blog post to let you know what I’m doing this month. The theme they have given is Habits. Again, not sure I’ll stick with the theme the entire month but if I run out of other things to talk about (me? Run out of things to talk about? hahahahahaha) then I will look to their prompts.

I am also doing LifeBook 2015. I started LifeBook last year which I believe was the 3rd year Tamara LePorte has facilitated the year long art journaling workshop and I learned so many techniques and about a multitude of mediums and how to use them. I met some amazing and inspirational art teachers from around the world and each offering was always so different from the last. Of course I absolutely ADORE Tam and her lessons are always some of my most favourite. Her style is always so up my alley! I really resonate with all of her offerings and love that she often adds a touch of personal development in there with it if you want to explore that kind of thing, yet it’s not compulsory so you can just take it as an art lesson and nothing more if you want. For anyone wanting to try out art journaling I highly recommend LifeBook. For a years worth of journaling learning it is so affordable and it’s never too late to sign up as you can download all the lessons and do them at your own pace in your own time. Go check it out here:

http://willowinglove.blogspot.co.uk/p/life-book-2015.html

Because I’ve just recently begun to blog, as opposed to last year when I wasn’t, I will likely blog about the pieces I create this year. I have done the warm up lesson with Tam that incorporates my words of the year which I blogged about yesterday.

Warm Up

Warm Up

The fun part about the warm up lesson with Tam is that you get to just sit there and make a mess! What isn’t fun about making a mess?!! OK, so I’m an illustrator at heart and I like my clean lines and precise application, but my Inner Child is definitely a painter and loves to just throw down colours and mediums and have fun colouring outside the lines. As I sat down and did this I actually realised it has been a few months since I last just sat and played with art. I have been so focused on learning techniques and thinking of ways to earn a living out of what I love that somewhere along the line I stopped doing it just for the love it. So I really enjoyed sitting there yesterday and just playing. “Oh I like this colour, let’s put it there”, “Ohhhh I could totally use my new stamps for this!! Let’s do that!” “Wouldn’t that look pretty with a bow?!!”

This piece has many layers and different mediums and was done for playfulness and to put down on paper my intentions for this year. The little bow keeps together a small square of paper within which I have written my intentions as they are relevant to my chosen words which, as I was creating, I came to realise fit really well together and if utelised the way I hope for them to be will give me much clarity so I put that into the piece as well. I have begun the actual first weeks offering and will post up the finished product of that when it is done.

For now I’ll finish today’s blog post as I am about to take the kidlets to Giggle and Hoot with one of my treasured soul sisters and her kids. I love that we are gifting our children an experience but if truth be told I loathe doing things like this. The crowds drive me insane and even worse, this particular crowd is likely going to have at least twice (or thrice or more) as many children as adults and will be loud and draining. I must remember to tie in my aura and surround myself with my magic cloak before I immerse myself in the massive energies amassing for some singing and dancing! Knowing that Mr Bee is quite empathic I will also guide my kidlets in a cloaking ritual before we get out of the car too. The repercussions of Mr Bee taking on other people’s energies is not fun to deal with so it is imperative I teach him from a very young age to protect himself… it’s just hard to do that when I’m still trying to teach myself!!

 

Wish me luck!

In Joy!

Word of the year!

It’s 2015 and already time is flying by fast and I’m wondering how I will ever fit everything I want to get done in to the year! What about you? Is time speeding up for you, or do you find that time drags on by?

This is my 2nd year of choosing a word or words for the year. What does that even mean? If you’ve never heard of having a word for the year before you might have a quizzical look on your face right now, but never fear I will explain! First I will tell you my word of the year… or in this years case word(s).

COMMUNICATION AND FOCUS

What these words signify is something I want to aspire to this year, something that perhaps has been lacking in my life so far, or something I want more of in my life. Being in a marriage with someone I believe to have Aspergers has made communication sometimes extremely difficult. Not just like trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language, but communicating with someone who thinks in completely different ways to you. So communication is key for me. Not just with my husband, but with my children, friends, and my growing tribe (that’s you!) I have always been good with words, especially writing them. However I’m not so good at communicating my needs and wants and that is huge for me. So this year I want to really use the word Communicate to focus (focus! my other word!) on communication my needs and wants more effectively and listen to others needs and wants and respond in the best way I can.

Communication was the first word I chose but as 2014 was coming to a close I was thinking about what I need as a Creative Alchemist and where I want to go with this brand I’m trying to create here. I came to realise I need more focus. I just love EVERYTHING arty and crafty. I find a new medium or new craft and I get caught up in it, enmeshed if you will, obsessed even and I end up practicing these new techniques or crafts until I get a handle on them but end up jack of all trades, master of none. I don’t feel a driving need to master anything, but I DO want to focus on just the few things I really love so that I may share my knowledge of them with you, my tribe. So I decided as well as Communication, I need to Focus.

Therefore I have 2 words this year that I will use to keep me heading in the direction I want to be headed in. I can use these words with my art, I can use them to contemplate or meditate on, I can, when feeling scattered or down, come back to my words and look at where I can move forward from where I am right now to where I want to be. Does that make sense? So if I find myself in a downward spiral I can use Focus to find out what my thoughts are and use Communication either with someone, or with myself, to change the flow of energy from any negativity coming up.

So that is my intention for the year. I’d love to know yours if you have one. I hope you have released all the amazing (good, bad, ugly, beautiful) lessons you learned in 2014 and energetically cleared yourself, your space, your world, in preparation for all the wonderful things coming your way in 2015. It’s going to be a great year!

 

In Joy!

I got bit by the Polyclay bug and now….

… I can’t stop!!

 

But that’s ok! Cause it’s fun and if I get good enough maybe I can start selling these little guys to you and that would be pretty awesome don’t you think? Of course, being me, and if you know me, I am so drawn to dragons that it has become the main thing I find myself sculpting! It is just so much fun… see…

DSC_0085

This one has my very first attempt at a dragon in the background and a few cute little birds that I discovered a tutorial for over here at http://polymerclaycentral.com/masterindex.html#lessonsprojects

DSC_0084

My next few dragons, they all had to be hand painted cause I didn’t have any coloured polyclay at that point, except the one in the background with the teeny tiny little fairy sitting on his leg, they are made from coloured polyclay. I have to say it is a LOT easier and less time consuming to work with coloured polyclay!

DSC_0087

Yet another dragon styled in a similar way to one of my most favourite dragons I’ve created ever who goes by the name of Boo. Perhaps this is one of his cousins!

DSC_0091

I really love the foldy ripply effect of the thin clay and after doing a bunch of cute dragons I decided I wanted to do a more vicious look one. This one hasn’t been baked yet but I’ll put him in the oven in the next day or two. What I am finding though is once baked the spikes, teeth, small protrusions are easily broken which I really don’t like. I’m not entirely sure what to do about that other than to keep them closer and pressed down together but that isn’t usually the kind of look I’m going for. So I’m not sure how to combat that. Am I baking them too long? And if so, what about the rest of the clay sculpture if it needs to be baked longer. Or am I not baking them long enough? Though I don’t see that as being an issue. I think what I need is an oven thermometer as I’m not entirely convinced my oven bakes at the same temperature I set it as.

DSC_0095

This is just a little cutie I tried to use up some of my left over polymer clay on. Not much detail, no armature, but I think she is small enough that it won’t matter.

DragonButt

This one is modeled off a dragon I already own and I absolutely adore him! The one I own doesn’t have any wings so technically it’s probably more a dinosaur than a dragon, so I had to turn this one in to a dragon. The one I own also has clothes on and is pulling it’s pants down. I think this one is much cuter without clothes on. I also gave this my own twist, not only with the wings but with the spikes going up the spine and the two little horns on the top of it’s head.  This one is just so cute!! He only stands about an inch high but his cheeky little attitude is sky high!!

So that’s been my obsession with polyclay lately. I’d like to get really good really quick and put some of these guys up on my etsy store or madeit store. What do you think? Would you buy one of these little critters?

I want to actually glaze them, only I’m unsure what kind of glaze to use. So I guess I can experiment on all these little new guys to see what ones work best. Thanks for reading and have a colourful day!

In Joy!

Artline Stix Review

Hello Tiddlipeeps!

So around a month ago I got this random email from Artline asking if I’d be interested in being part of some ‘artistic projects’. There was no mention of sharing the outcome of these so I figured I would blog about my experience. Of course I said YES!

I was told they wanted 3 images. One to be done just with the Artline markers, the second to be done with the Artline markers but in a different style to the first and to be recorded being done and third to be done with any Artline product and have a summery theme. I thought ok, I can do that. So they sent me a package *squee* who doesn’t love to receive packages of free products?!!

I was given the 3 different style of Artline Stix, there is the drawing pen, the bullet tips and the brush tips. If you don’t know what they are go here: http://artlinestix.com.au/ They have lego-type bumps and divets on two sides of their rectangular shape. They had also asked if I could come up with any cool designs to inspire the kids with… I tried. Oh did I try. Unfortunately I found it very frustrating, as did my 3 kids ranging from 4 to 15. The biggest issue was they came apart really easily. The next issue was the limit in size and shape of them. I did get some connector pieces and they were cool, and some toys that would cling to them, but no matter how hard we tried we just couldn’t come up with very much at all. So I kind of gave that up for a lost cause. Perhaps someone more spatially capable would be able to come up with something. I’m more of a 2D artist not a 3D artist. I was also given a bunch of their permanent markers and Artline 200 pens which I adore.

So then I decided to set to work. Seeing as I was doing my 100 mandalas in 100 days challenge I decided the first thing I would try would be a mandala.

Artline Stix Mandala

The first thing I really noticed was that the black pen tip was very weak. It looked really watery and not a dense dark tone like I prefer. I soldiered on though and got through it using each of the different tips to try them out. I decided they were probably not something I would ever use for a mandala again and that these would be better suited as something for my children to use. To go from the mandala below, to the one I did with the Artline Stix… well, you can see the difference for yourself and it is all in the products you use and how they can be used. Perhaps I need to do the exact same mandala design as the one above but with some of my other products to really show the difference in quality and feel, but I think you get the picture.

0008

After that experience it actually took me awhile to get myself back in to gear to get the other two images done. Then I was sitting there one day thinking, hang on, they are ‘water-based’ that means they should be water activated!! Now that excited me cause water activated products can be lots of fun for mixed media artists. So I thought, before I do the video which is meant to show a few techniques of how to use the markers, I would try them on the ‘Summer’ themed piece. It worked beautifully!! I laid down just a little bit of the ink and added water and the pigment actually went a long way! I was impressed. Now this was something I would definitely use these guys for. Because I could use any of the artline products I went over the top with some of the permanent markers for a little interest and voila!

ArtlineSummer

I don’t know if you can notice the beautiful subtle flow from deep pigment down to light watery pigment. I was really impressed with how far the pigment extended with water. With a bit more practice I could really get used to using them as a water-colour-type pigment.

After I had played with that and discovered it could be used in that manner I decided to go ahead and do the video. I’m not sure exactly what they wanted in the video. The details were very loose and lacking specifics, right down to whether I could share my experience or not. I would assume if they didn’t want me to then they would have very clearly stated so. Besides, while they may not be the best marker on the market, for something cheap that you can incorporate in to your mixed media pieces and not feel like you’re breaking the bank account, these are a good option. Plus, your kids will definitely love them, my younger two do. So this is the video I ended up doing. I fast forwarded a lot of it and stopped here and there to explain the different techniques I used.

I decided to do a cute little pussy cat xmas design because it is that time of year and… well I love cats! I really want a cat too. I want a Singapura to be exact, but because you can only really get them from breeders then it is a morally difficult decision to make. Anyway it was fun to make the video. I hope you like it. At the end of the day whether you decide to buy the Stix or not really depends on what you are after. They are not even in the same league as Copic or Mepxy but for a water activated marker they are ok. Especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Honestly, at the end of the day, the products you use really do make a difference though. I used to hear that saying about how a bad *insert profession* always blames his tools. However, since really diving in deep with art the past 2 years and trying out all these different products, cheap and expensive… I have to say, the tools really do matter. If you get cheap mediums, you will get childish and cheap results. I even heard someone say recently that no one is going to know the difference between if you hang a painting in a museum that is made with cheap student paint or the more expensive paint like Golden or Liquitex, etc… but I actually think they really would. They may not know or care how much you spent on the paint, but the difference between what the cheaper products can do compared to the amazing versatility and endurance of the more expensive products make a huge difference in this artists opinion.

I don’t know. Perhaps people out there can make the cheap stuff work for them, if so, more power to them! I’m happy for them. But I’m quite the lazy artist. I don’t like to work too hard for my outcomes. So I’d rather get the better quality and let it do a lot of the work for me so I can just enjoy the process and end up with a piece I’m happy with at the end of the day without having to spend a lot of time to get the same end piece. I don’t get anywhere near as much time to play as much as I’d love to, so when I do sit down to play, I want it to go quick, easy, smooth. That’s why I love my copics.

But like I said, these aren’t a bad product. My kids definitely love them. The lego-like style to them give them that added fun factor. The fact I can use them in mixed media work is a huge bonus. It really depends on what outcome you want.

 

In Joy!!

Something fun.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin’

 

Currently I am….
1. Thinking…… about how I can get more productivity in to my day and put my name out there for people to know who I am and what I have to offer.
2. Enjoying….  air conditioning on a humid day.
3. Feeling… frustrated and unfocused
4. Wearing… my new teal fitbit band and a dress.
5. Needing….. more emotional and financial support in my life.
6. Wanting…. to get out of the house more and spend time at the beach without feeling so tired I can barely lift a finger afterwards.
7. Listening…. to what people are really saying
8. Making…. some vision cards to help me stay focused on where I want to be this time next year
9. Eating…. as healthy as I possibly can with the constant struggle that goes on in my head.
10. Drinking…. more and more water all the time. I haven’t had any coke cola in so long I don’t remember the last time I had it, some days I really crave it.

 

What about you?

Only those who stop trying are failures.

This is not an art related post. This is actually related to my post a month ago about the new journey I have taken on to try and bring some better health in to my body. So if you are reading for the art, today is not your day and I suggest you just move on. IF, however, you want to read my rabble about my journey then pull up a comfy chair, grab yourself a drink and stay awhile. This might be a long one….

 

Only those who stop trying are failures. By that I mean, it’s only when you give up, when you stop getting back on that wagon, when you completely throw in the towel and stop trying anymore, that you truly fail. I often have this thought, am I scared of failing… or am I more scared of success? I honestly think I’m more scared of succeeding! It’s this great unknown really isn’t it. If you fail well, you’ve been there, it’s familiar, it’s like a well worn in comfy pair of shoes. If you succeed though, who are you then? What is life like then? What does the world look like then? What will you have to strive for and work toward then? I have no doubt there will always be something to work toward and I’m sure with success the world looks a little brighter, you are a little brighter, life is a little lighter. Yet still, the fear persists.

A month ago I began a new program in the hopes to have more energy, be healthier in my body and of course to lose weight. The goal is always to lose weight right? In my attempt to lose weight for the past almost 20 years I’ve managed to put on over 70kgs… how the hell does that work?!! I’ve tried SO MANY things. I went on Jenny Craig, and that was great, lost 20kgs while I was on it. Of course I put it all back on and MORE eventually. I tried HCG, that is NOT for the feint of heart. Looking back now I’m not quite sure how I managed it for a month. I don’t even think  lost that much weight on it but I can guarantee I put on at least twice as much as I lost afterwards. I did the whole gym 5 days a week thing and that was great for muscle tone and maintaining my weight and when I’m honest with myself I truly love to exercise. It feels good. I feel good. The only reason I stopped was because life decided I didn’t have the money for such things. I did the green smoothie thing, and I still have them occasionally now because they really are great and packed full of nutrients… at least as many nutrients as is possible in today’s age of over-farming and nutrient deficient soil. I definitely had more energy when I was drinking them. However come winter I’m not a huge fan of the lack of fruit variety, all my favourites go in to hibernation and I’m left with only apples, oranges and bananas. Summer though, you have mangoes, peaches, apricots, grapes, cherries, kiwi fruit, plums, nectarines… oh the flavour-gasms! Though as much as they gave me energy, I didn’t lose any weight from them.

Do you know why I don’t lose weight? Because I’m a glutton. There I said it. If I believed in that sort of thing, I would be going to hell for gluttony at the end of this lifetime. Or perhaps I am now in the hell of gluttony because of past life crimes regarding food… hmm, food for thought. I read a quote from someone just yesterday and part of it said ‘If you want a good body, feed the hungry’ as in, feed people who don’t have food of their own. I like that. It made me want to rush out and buy food and leave it on the doorstep of all the poor houses in the neighbourhood, boy wouldn’t hubby have a field day if I spent our money on something like that!! Anyway, off on a tangent there. My point is, I am a glutton. I love food. Not just that I love food (if I’m totally honest I have a love/hate relationship with food). I love chewing. I love swallowing. I love the feeling of food going down my throat. I love that “Ow I ate too much” feeling. I love stuffing my face. I love the taste. Oh how I love the taste. In fact, it’s often the taste that leaves me continuing to eat when I know I should stop.

I can go for awhile doing really well. I can be motivated and on track. Then something will come along and hit me like a mac truck and then it all gets thrown out of the window. The worse I feel the longer my fall off the wagon lasts. Of course it’s far easier to put ON weight than it is to lose it. So I can do really well for 3 months and in just 2 weeks end up back where I started. You have no idea how infuriating and frustrating and depressing and disheartening that is…. or maybe you do. I end up feeling so defeated, useless, worthless which, of course, just exacerbates the cycle. I think that is my number one pet peeve in this journey. I feel like I waste so much time doing my best and it takes so little time for it to all go down the drain, then it takes so long to get back on the wagon.

It really hurts me too when those super fit and healthy people say things like, ‘just make the right choices’, ‘just keep going’, ‘just stop eating crap’, ‘just exercise more’, just, just, just… like it is the easiest thing in the world. To make that choice. I wish it was. I wish it wasn’t such a fight in my head every time I feel low (which is far too often). I wish it wasn’t the epic battle it is every time I go to do the grocery shopping. I wish I didn’t want to scream every time someone near me ate something I would love to have, or every time I see anyone with a bottle of coke. I would love to just disappear from society and be free of all the temptations that exist everywhere. Really though, at the end of the day, if those multi-faceted Inner Children in my head would stop throwing their tantrums all the time… but that’s beside the point of this post.

As I said way back in that 3rd paragraph, I began a new program a month ago. I’ve tried shakes before and never found one I can handle. They taste disgusting and they are often so gritty that I end up half-choking on them cause the only way I can get them down is to skull it in one hit. So when I found out I had to have 2 shakes a day I was thinking ARE YOU CRAZY? There’s NO WAY I would last. I often get through maybe a week until I just can’t take it anymore no matter how much I try. I did a lot of research on the product and my amazing friend who finally convinced me brought around some of the shake for me to try. It was smooth, the taste wasn’t terrible. I thought maybe I could pull it off. Then hubby got in on the act and showed me all the negatives. You know something I’ve discovered since being married to my wonderful husband? There is a negative for EVERYTHING. He, himself, has tried to steer me toward doing juices. I’ve seen negatives related to doing that; or to green smoothies again, there are negatives associated with that too. It really depends on what school of thought you are coming from. At the end of the day it’s all about moderation and I’m pretty sure I mentioned up there somewhere that I’m just no good at that. I practice a lot, and I will keep practicing but I know me, I know there is always going to come moments in my life where moderation is not going to happen. That is just the way it is.

Hubby almost talked me out of it. Then I stopped for a moment and I thought about all the negatives he was pointing out to me. One was the business part, well… I’m not really interested in that part. I’m not in it to make money and you don’t have to be in it to make money. The other negatives were focused on one or two ingredients within the system such as fructose. There was not a single reliable source for negative information regarding the package as a whole. Now if you take anything and focus on just one little part here and there then everything is going to have something bad about it. That’s just life. Before I committed though I went and spoke to my doctor. I told her some of hubby’s concerns, I explained what kind of products were in the system and a couple times she even raised her eyebrows in that pleasantly surprised kind of way and agreed to monitor my progress, including keeping an eye on my liver in case that pesky fructose content did any damage, and keeping an eye on my blood sugar levels in case those bars with 3 tsps of sugar in them tipped me over the edge. With my doctors approval, I signed up.

Despite what my husband thinks, I’m quite skeptical. Enthusiastic, but skeptical. I’m weary of sharing results or how I’m getting them because I know what I am like. I know that I am great at first, all gung-ho, motivated, strong. I also know that eventually something will happen and I will falter, stutter, stall. Inevitably it’s emotion. I’ve discovered I’m a super emotional eater. If I’m sad, angry, frustrated, feeling unworthy, depressed, feeling unheard, feeling misused and under appreciated, feeling misunderstood and unsupported… I want to eat. Not because I’m hungry. I’m rarely actually hungry. That has been interesting to witness this year as I’m becoming more present and mindful with myself. I’m also a ‘tired’ eater. If I feel tired, I use food to keep me awake and give me that very small boost of energy to get through. That’s a new one I’ve learned this year since trying to stop feeling so tired all the time. I do, I feel SO tired, so you can imagine just how overweight I am if I’m eating all the time when I’m tired!

The package arrived! A big box full of promises and hope, dreams and good intentions. I couldn’t wait to get started and see the results. More than anything I would like to reach a healthy weight for my age and height. I have no doubt before I even get close to reaching it people are going to start telling me I’m getting ‘too’ skinny. We, as a society, have come to accept being overweight as normal so easily that when someone who is morbidly obese keeps going past overweight and in to healthy people don’t like it. They start thinking things like ‘anorexia!!’ It surprises me how warped our views are on body image… in either direction. I feel just as bad for those of slight frame as I do for those struggling with obesity.

I began. I had my breakfast smoothie. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was anticipating. I had the vanilla one. I could taste a cinnamon and banana type taste. Miss 8 screwed up her face but Mr Bee smacked his lips together and said, “mmmm tastes like ice cream!” After that I took the multitude of tablets, accelerant, flush, multi-vitamins, there were so many!! But that wasn’t all, after that I had a shot of this … it feels a little like medicine to me because I use my medicine cup to drink it. Holy crow but that stuff was disgusting!!! I’m not a big fan of ginger and I could certainly taste the ginger in it amongst other things. Miss 8 laughed so hard at the expression on my face. To be honest, it felt like such a huge ORDEAL by the time I was done! I thought to myself, that felt like such a mission I don’t know if I can do it every day! That day was a bit horrible too because I had to take my before photos. Well, I didn’t have to, but I thought if I can pull this off finally, if I can reach my goal, I want proof of how big I was. I want to have photos of where I got to so I will NEVER EVER go back there again. I want photos of the biggest I was so that when I’m half-way there and I’ve hit a plateau and I’m feeling hopeless and defeated I can look at those photos and see how far I have already come and use them as motivation and inspiration to keep going. So I did. I didn’t like it. But I did it. I avoid looking at myself as much as possible because no matter how many years I’ve been this big for, in my head I’m still how I was in my early 20’s!

By the end of day 2 I realised the process wasn’t such an ordeal anymore. I’d come to get used to it already. I realised I was actually enjoying it. I really love not having to think about what I’m going to eat every morning, not having to spend time preparing it, then sit there and eat possibly more than I need to simply because I’ve made more and I’m not a left-overs kind of person. Nor do I have to worry about one mouthful tasting wonderful and the next tasting horrible, or worry about things going soggy or cold. I realised that all of a sudden my breakfast and dinner were LESS of an ordeal than what they used to be!! It was a relief. It was bliss. It was ease. I wasn’t feeling hungry, I felt like I was doing something really good for my body and I was barely making any effort at all. I’d even stopped my morning walks at that stage but I was losing weight. Even in the first two days I’d begun to lose weight. I know, I know, you’re really not meant to weigh-in more than once a week but I am SO motivated by watching my weight that I weigh myself every. single. day. I just can’t help myself! Plus, when I see that weight go down, whether it’s just by 100 grams or more, it is so motivating for me. Even if the weight just stays the same, it’s encouraging. What I noticed too, is that there was always a little bit of a loss every day (or more). Then I went away for a week. All by myself, what bliss. The best part about that was with the program depending on what version you do, you have ‘fast’ days. I was going to do a deep cleanse which consists of 2 days of fasting. I am grateful I was not at home amongst all the foods my family eat. In the hotel I had nothing but my products and my coffee stuff. So I breezed through it. I have no idea how much I lost cause I didn’t have my scales with me. I was naughty the day after the deep cleanse though and went and pigged out on Hogs Breath for lunch. When I got home I saw I was actually 1oo grams heavier! SO worth it though LOL, I love Hogs Breath.

It was disappointing to see I was 100 grams heavier after 5 days away, however I did weigh myself in the afternoon and I’m always heavier in the afternoon. The next morning I was a whole 1kg down, that was better! I had a mini goal of getting under a certain weight that I’m not willing to share publicly right now but by the 3rd week I had reached it. I was down 4.7kgs! I lost 2kgs over my 2nd deep cleanse, unfortunately that is when shit hit the fan for me. It was such an emotionally intense time for me, full moon, pms, pent up feelings, feeling unheard, then finding out hubby wasn’t happy about how much the program was costing. So I felt like my wings had been clipped. I was started to feel so much better in myself. I was feeling happier (not necessarily because of the program, there’s no claims that it helps with moods), I was feeling more focused. I was losing weight even though I occasionally pigged out on food, or ate 2 meals instead of one a day, even though I continued to drink my one cup of coffee a day that you’re not meant to do during the initial detox month. I felt like I had finally found something that worked for me. I attribute it to the entire package. However, because of the inevitable brick wall I always seem to run in to, those 2kgs I lost during the deep cleanse went back on… but I happily stayed below my first goal. That’s never happened before!! Ever! So I was ecstatic and of course that renewed my motivation and determination. Because all the stuff was still there waiting for me and it is so easy to use, it was easy to just keep going. I never stopped doing it, I just overate, or had 2 meals on top of the shakes instead of 1, or it was the meals I ate… like McDonalds.

So I kept going and my weight has continued to go down. I have reached the end of my first 30 days. I didn’t stop drinking coffee, I stuffed up here and there and I still managed to lose 6kgs and 35cms from around my body. I can’t see it. I don’t notice it in my clothes or my face, however I have to trust that the scales and the measuring tape don’t lie. I managed to get in a 2nd months worth of the program before hubby said no more, $600 a month is too much and a stupid amount for my potential success in gaining better health and reaching my goal weight and having the energy I so deeply desire. So I get to do the entire program again for another month. After this I will go down to a lesser program and hope it works as well. This coming 30 days though I’m going to see if I can do even better than the first 30 days, now that I’m in the swing of things, in the practice of it all, in the habit of doing it. I’m going to see if I can reach my next mini-goal. So wish me luck. I will let you know if it works when I get there.

 

If you managed to reach this far in my rabbling, thank you for bearing witness to my journey 🙂 If you are interested in learning more about the product please email me at samm (at) creativealchemist (dot) com I’ll be happy to share more. Thank you for being here. In Joy!

Quilling!

I have recently taught myself all about quilling thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest *cough*time waster*cough* and thought I would share my new-found knowledge with you, my Constant Reader. However, before I get to that I just want to show you where I’m blogging from today!!!

blog10

This is the balcony of the cute little hotel room in Mooloolaba I’m currently staying at. If you look close enough you can see two little snippets of ocean! I am so close to the beach I can walk there in less than 5 minutes. The smell of the ocean is divine, the breeze coming in through the room is wonderful. The sound of the water falling across rocks in the pool below is soothing. The spa in the bathroom is relaxing.

blog02

I have even set up a beautiful little crystal grid altar on the breakfast bar of the kitchenette.

blog09

This is the beauty of where I type to you today! I just love it here. I grew up in Mooloolaba as a teenager, so a large chunk of my soul rests here. I often wish I’d never left. However, I’d never do my life any other way because I absolutely adore my husband and 3 children and even the slightest change in my past could alter that course. So I have come here for 5 days and am rejoicing in being here. It still feels like home to me. It is still my happy place. I love the beach, I love the sand (nature’s glitter and we all know I love glitter!!), I love the laid back pace of the Sunshine Coast where you can just casually cross the road without worrying someone will run a red light and run you over.

Anyway enough of the rabbling. I’m here today to show you a bit about this quilling that has a lot of my attention lately. I thought I would start off with showing you the tools of the trade. This first photo has a quill paper bundle – which you could do yourself if you were that way inclined, I’m just not. I’d rather spend the time making the art not preparing the materials! Also you can see the quilling tool, it has a slit in the end for you to feed the paper in to, so it will hold tight as you twist the paper in to a circle (mandala anyone?! No wonder quilling appeals to me)

blog08

blog07

This next photo has a pair of pointy ended tweezers, I’m sure there is a proper name for them but it just isn’t coming to me right now. The tweezers are very handy for placing the little fiddly bits in to place as well as dipping them in to some glue before placing them. Just above the tweezers is just a blunt metal spike. I generally use that to hold the paper in place while the glue dries. That way it stops my fingers getting too sticky – though they tend to anyway – and also the excess glue comes off the metal really easy, whereas I was using skewer sticks before I got this tool and it was just messy and gluggy. Above the metal spike is some cheap glue. The type that dries quick and clear. Any of the glue you used in primary school is perfect for this, or pvc glue. Lastly there is a comb. Yeap, a comb! It is a marvellous tool for creating shapes other than circles. What I particularly like about this comb is it has two different sets of teeth, a smaller set and a wider set, which makes it easy for me to do the same thing in different sizes.

blog06

Now we’ll get to some of the basics….

blog04

The very top circles are called ‘tight’ circles. You wrap those as tight as you possibly can and then glue them. The next set of circles are called ‘loose’ circles. As you can see, they can all be done in different sizes, it just depends on how much paper you use! Also you can do them in multiple colours, you just need to glue the different coloured papers together in a long line. This definitely makes for some extra interest in the designs. With this lot alone you can make just about any other shape you want, from a love heart, to a leaf, a teardrop to a triangle and more. The very last set of circles have an ‘off’ centre. These are really cute and I like them. I haven’t had a chance to experiment with these yet but you could also make things like teardrops and leaves out of these. The off-centre ones are also a way to add extra interest to a design.

blog05

This photo shows one of the many things you can do with a comb. You use the comb to help you with the loops and make them relatively even, then with a little creative thinking and your curling tool you can twist and turn those loops and pop them in to a large leaf shape to make yourself a pretty cool looking flower!

Here are some more cool shapes you can make.

blog03

Once you have those circles down, you can easily make some really pretty designs. The tight circles alone could make some interesting pieces if you think of those artworks where they use nothing but dots. I could see some amazing artwork coming out of something like that! I do find quilling takes a LONG time though. So you definitely need some patience. On the plus side though, it’s easy enough to just sit there and make the bare elements while you’re watching tv. Once you have all the elements you need you can just sit down and play with them until you come up with a design you love. Like this ATC I made for the atc b’day club I’m in. One of my lucky b’day girls will receive this from me before the year is out!

blog01

I’d love to do a mandala with this technique and I do plan to one day, however after doing the atc which is only 3.5 x 2.5 inches big, I realise just how long a quill mandala would take me! So I might have to do that one in bits and pieces, not during my 100 mandalas in 100 days challenge. Remember if you haven’t already you can sign up to that in the top right hand corner of this blog 🙂 It’s almost over, but I will continue to share my artwork via the newsletter and perhaps let people know when I’ve posted a new blog, tutorial or class! I’d love to see you on my list.

In Joy!