Friday, 31 December 2010

Recent Projects, Reviewing the Past Year, and Plans for the Coming Year

Just as a final tie-up to what I’ve been doing, here are a couple of photos of my 3 recent projects: the Beehive Explosion Box, the Stationery Box, and the Poinsettia Explosion Box.

Here are the three boxes, closed:

3 Boxes - Closed

and exploded/open:

3 Boxes - Open

Only one has got to its destination in time for Christmas – the Stationery Box for my mum. Her response was that she was “overwhelmed” by it!! – she said she was going to take it home and spend some time looking at it properly.

I decided not to risk the Beehive to the post – my friend lives in London, and her sister lives near us, so hopefully she will be able to take it up with her when she next visits. The Poinsettia box is for a local friend who I was hoping to see before Christmas, but it didn’t happen, probably because of the snow, so she will have it in the New Year. The friend we usually spend Christmas with was away this year, and I want to make another Poinsettia one for her, so once I’ve recovered from Christmas, that will be my next, most immediate project – probably a good idea to do it fairly soon, so that I remember the areas which needed improving upon on the first one! I am also still working on my Toilet Roll Mini-Album, of course – after I’ve done the second poinsettia box, that’s next on the list for completion.

Review of the Past Year

Looking back, it’s been quite a productive year for me in the creative department, despite health setbacks, and being the first year that I’ve really got obsessed serious about it (!) I can see how my technique and ability have progressed since I started properly in May. Since then I have made quite a few cards, 3 explosion boxes, some gift boxes, and lots of flowers. I have experimented with different materials and techniques, and collected quite a lot of equipment and materials and embarked on a steep learning curve, getting to grips with Jiminy Cricut, Inkscape, and Sure Cuts A Lot, which I have now largely abandoned in favour of Make The Cut. With the help of my hubby, I have created an ARTHaven that I now really enjoy working in.

This time last year, I had absolutely no idea that all this was going to take place, and I am very excited about this new direction my life has taken, and the opportunities that have opened for channelling my creativity.

I am most grateful to all those in the blogging community and on Youtube who really got me going on all this, from whom I have learnt so much in such a few short months, and I wonder where on earth it is going to take me in the future! It’s very, very exciting.

I am hoping for a productive and stimulating creative year ahead – always more ideas than time and energy to fulfil them!

Then there is my blog itself. Several years ago I toyed with the idea of starting a blog, but didn’t really understand what it was all about and didn’t think I’d really have anything to put on it!! When we went on holiday to Kent in the spring, I wrote up a daily journal of what we’d been doing and posted it on the Brainfog (M.E.) forum and it seemed to go down pretty well, so I decided to adapt what I’d written and put it on a blog, as it seemed a convenient way to save the account of one of the best holidays we’d ever had, complete with photos.

At the time I had no idea what fun blogging would turn out to be, and how many lovely new contacts I would make through it. I have found everyone to be very friendly, and so generous in sharing their ideas and inspirations.

On the health front, it has not had such a good year, but in view of everything else that’s happened, I really don’t mind. I have been so encouraged by the support I’ve had, mostly from my dear hubby who does such a lot to help me, and from the local health team who are always there should I need them – and who have recently supported me through the process of obtaining my new wheelchair.

I look back on a full and productive year with plenty of enjoyment, and many blessings through friendships both local and online.

Plans for Next Year

Plans for next year include making butterflies for the Butterfly Effect project, the usual birthday cards and occasional thank you cards etc. etc., and a special card project for Wonderwoman’s mother. Wonderwoman is my home help and her mum is going to have a special birthday in May, and she asked me if I could make a lovely card for her, and I’ve already got some ideas shifting around in my foggy brain!! I also want to explore the Explosion Box theme a bit further, and have a few ideas for making some on different themes – maybe for me this time, but they will probably get given away like most of my projects! Then there’s the experimental stuff – I am longing to try some more melting, fusing, work with gesso and acrylic gel medium, incorporating fabrics and fibres, and doing more 3-D work.

I’ve got collage on my mind a bit, and the first major project I want to embark on is some really posh spoke guards for my new wheelchair – mixed media, and incorporating some of the new techniques I’ve learnt, with a really 3-D effect and lots of flowers and bling! Should be an interesting project, and there’s nothing like using a wheelchair as a blank canvas for self-expression, and getting out and about, carrying your Art with you! I am also going to put rhinestone swirls down the front frame.

Now I’ve got Jiminy Cricut I’m keen to explore some more things that he will do – I want to do more pop-ups and “origamic architecture” – I downloaded some designs ages ago, which I couldn’t cut at the time because their complexity requires a machine. I would like to explore the possibility of making 3-D paper mobiles and sculptures but these ideas are embryonic at best at present.

As far as other equipment is concerned, I have just ordered a Cinch binding machine, as most of my Art friends seem to think this is the best one – I am sure this will be a very useful addition to my ARTHaven. It will be good to be able to give any album-type projects a really professional finish with this machine. I also have the Cri-Kits embossing kit on order, which will enable me to emboss on Jiminy. It is coming with some embossing metal, and having seen the gorgeous and rich results that others have got with this, I am keen to get going on it myself.

As far as my ARTHaven is concerned, I’ve got my metal pegboards waiting to go up as soon as my hubby’s friend is free to come and help in the New Year, and then I shall start collecting some bits and pieces for those – shelves, hooks, etc. – and get a lot of my equipment up on the wall and hopefully generate a much less cluttered working space.

I need to think about a better way to get my video camera set up – at the moment it’s a perfect pain, trying to get the tripod to do what I want, and trying to get the light right too.  This is an area I’d like to discuss with others who are doing it successfully.

Other plans for giving my creativity an outlet in the coming year include reviving my embroidery again – it’s been quite a while since I did any, and I’d like to make some more 3-D insects as well as the butterflies for the Butterfly Effect project. I’ve got a load of resources from when I belonged to an embroidery group where we used to live, and I am sure there will be people who will enjoy these too, and I hope to do some full tutorials with video and downloadable templates etc.

On the computer front, I’m thinking of formatting the hard drive on my small laptop (not the one I use for Art) because it’s running far too slowly and loads of stuff needs to be cleared off it – and I am considering installing Windows 7 instead of Vista while I’m at it. Purchasing yet another external hard drive? Perhaps… Why is it that one NEVER has enough space for storing/backing stuff up?? (Perhaps I need to take fewer photographs…)

I’m anticipating a fun and busy year ahead, health permitting, and barring disasters!

Wishing all my blog followers and visitors a happy, blessed and productive year ahead, and I look forward with anticipation to seeing what you get up to in the coming year!

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