Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart 2011 Giveaway

One World One Heart is a worldwide event for bloggers. It gives all those who blog a chance to meet and mingle and form connections with those they may not have otherwise met from all over the world. In the past 4 years this event has grown to over 1,000 participants with lasting friendships (and even one love connection) formed along the way.  Think of it as a GIGANTIC open house allowing you to travel without ever leaving your home........going from blog to blog (in various countries) seeing the wonder each one has created and meeting all the fabulous people behind those blogs. As a bonus each blogger participant will offer up a "door prize or prizes"....just for dropping by, saying hello and seeing their world. (from A Whimisical Bohemian : One World One Heart Event )

I participated in this event for the first time last year, and enjoyed it so much, I am here again - and I have also donated a prize with  Art Dolls Only . For those of you who are visitng my blog for the first time, my name is Wilma and I live in Newcastle, a city 159 km north of Sydney,  in New South Wales, Australia . I enjoy making dolls and soft sculptures, and  have a few obsessions - beads, felt, textiles and clay. I have retired from my full time job as a high school principal, and now spend my time creating , enjoying my family and volunteering with my Rotary Club, especially in Papua New Guinea.

This year's giveaway is a pair of needle felted bugs with polymer clay faces. I think they make a very cute duo- Master Amiable and Master Cheeky - so I hope someone will be willing to give them a happy home. All you need to do to win this pair  is leave your contact details in a comment at the end of this blog post before 17 February 2011. I will randomly select a winner on 17 February and contact the winner individually as well as post the lucky person's name in a blog post. Please remember to visit the other participating blogs too ( see them all at  A Whimsical Bohemian ) and enter in the fun, make new friendships and share the good will generated by this wonderful event.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day

Happy Australia Day… to celebrate, I made a koala plushie. I bought a fabric panel of an owl and a koala at the Wallsend Community markets last month, so thought today was the right day to make this Aussie icon.
Australia Day was a rather lazy day. . A morning walk and then we retreated quickly back inside to escape the heat. I put a small indoors thermometer outside to test it out – it gave up! Obviously over 40degrees! We only went outside because we had to. We celebrated Australia day tonight by cooking, taking and sharing a slow cooked lamb dinner with my friend and my sister-in-law, both patients in hospital. Much better we’re told than hospital food! Here's a special thought for Australia Day: "Close your eyes... and think of the land that gave you life and breath, and think of all the reasons you are glad to be there, with the people you know, with the people you love."  from The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith.

This week has been a slow creative week – I finished off a few things on the go. I am hoping to bring back into production my Feltfollies and Socksillies. Today I completed Feltfollie Feel Good and a sock pixie.

Please look out for my next blog on 30th January to celebrate the One World One Heart worldwide blog giveaway. I will have some goodies to giveaway from my blog, and I have also donated a little art doll which will be given away from the Art Dolls Only Blog.

And ... Happy Birthday to our grandson . May you always reach the goals you set for yourself.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Frogs and Floods Inspire Art Dolls

This week, when I was trying to think of what to create for this month’s Art Dolls Only Challenge – Animal Totems. I first thought of my owl woman doll, who now lives with my sister in her owl collection.
However, with the news of the devastating floods in Queensland, and now in Victoria and NSW in my thoughts, I couldn’t get the image of green frogs and the Aboriginal story of Tiddalik out of my mind. The tale of "Tiddalik the Frog" is a legend from the Dreamtime mythology of the Indigenous Australians. In the legend, Tiddalik awoke one morning with an unquenchable thirst, and began to drink until all the fresh water was greedily consumed. Creatures and plant life everywhere began to die due to lack of moisture. Other animals conspired against Tiddalik, and devised a plan for him to release all of the water he had consumed. This was successfully coordinated by a wise old Wombat, when Nabunum the eel made Tiddalik laugh when he tied himself in comical shapes. As Tiddalik laughed, the water rushed out of him to replenish the lakes, swamps and rivers. (from Wikipedia)

It all came together quickly – some green layered “pizza” fabric I made last week and a few drawings later these three little dolls came to life.
These little dolls were inspired by this North Western story … Yet another Frog legend says a village was starving because no one could catch any fish or game, so a warrior went out to try to find some food. No one had been successful for a long time. The warrior met a bird that instructed him to follow, so he could help him. The bird brought him to a Frog, who let the warrior wear his skin. With the Frog skin, the warrior was able to get enough food for the whole village but, as time passed, the warrior was fully transformed into a Frog, and he went to sea. There he could live and catch fish and other seafood. Until his days were no longer he provided these foods to his village. My frog totem art dolls have not yet fully transformed into frogs…

 Further research found these little snippets of information:
In China the Frog is an emblem of Yin energy and thought of as good luck. Feng Shui practices recommend putting an image of a Frog in the east window of your home to encourage child birth and/or happy family life. Frogs are also good luck symbols in Japan - especially for travellers. Images or charms were worn during long voyages to assure safety (particularly across water). As a Celtic symbol, the Frog was deemed lord over all the earth, and the Celts believed it represented curative or healing powers because of its connection with water and cleansing rains

One animal symbolism source   says "Call upon the energy of the frog when you need to easily swim through some tough life-transitions"... To all those affected in floods not only here in Australia but also in other countries, may the transition from disaster to happier times be easier than ever imaginable and anticipated.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fabric Fun Crafternoon Tea

One of the textile things I love doing is making fabric out of scraps... I think this is often called pizza fabric because all sorts of bits and pieces are thrown down onto a base. This was one of the activities at last Sunday's Crafternoon Tea. For those not familiar with a 'crafternoon tea', it is a lazy Summer Sunday afternoon  when a few like minded people get together and "create" and indulge in a scrumptious afternoon tea.  Prior to the Fabric Fun day, we've had a felting afternoon, and a clay play day , with another clay play day planned for next month. Last Sunday, we had demonstrations of felt embellishment with angelina fibres, glitter and organza and paper collaged fabric as well as some experimenting with the embellishing machine and making the "pizza" fabric with free form machine embroidery. The days are lots of fun as well as being inspirational, so when Autumn and Winter arrive, we will change to Souper Skills Sundays - learning new creative techniques in different media, with soup and sandwiches for lunch!
This is one of my little wall "message stick" dolls, made from a bit of the "pizza" fabric leftover from the  Christmas beetle doll.  I have made this in preparation for the "One World One Heart" worldwide blog giveaway. It will be a gift either from the Art Dolls Only blog or from this one, so look out for the big giveaway  from 30 January. I have added a message on a piece of Australian bush timber, which I think is appropriate for the event "Love is the harmony of two souls singing together"

After the day, I was also inspired to make another pair of "fairy" shoes with the organza covered angelina  felt , but these are really tiny - only 2 inches long from the tip of the toe to the heel. These are "genie" shoes - do you remember how Jeannie from the old TV show " I Dream of Jeannie" seeks refuge inside her bottle ? (The show is now rerunning on one of the digital channels).    

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Great Start to a Bright New Year

No, I wasn't here either - this photo is courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald,  but I was at the "Not the New Year's Eve Concert - Live the Music" at the Sydney Opera House  to celebrate the end of 2010.
It was a really fantastic concert with bright talented stars - soloist and orchestral musicians and opera singers. The venue was also magical . It doesn't matter how many times you visit the Opera House, each time is special . The architecture is amazing, the harbour sparkles and the concert hall is wondrous.

 What else have I done to herald the New Year?  I finally gave in and went to a SALE. I don't usually bother with the post-Christmas sales, but I just couldn't resist this skirt. It was still expensive even at half price, but it reminded me of a  wonderful boat ride down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo and it fitted me!
With the deadlines for the Art Dolls Only Challenges on New Year's Day, I have also been spending a lot of hours finishing off the two dolls for the Monthly and Quarterly Challenges. The December challenge was Jack Frost. It seemed a bit strange to be working on an icy themed doll when the temperature the other day was 39 degrees. I made "snowflakey" fabric with free form machine embroidery on water soluble fabric.

The doll I made for the other challenge "Copy the Masters" was inspired by the figure, Flora in  the masterpiece "Primavera" (Trumph of Spring) by Botticelli. She is a "stump" doll, with a cloth covered polymer clay head. I was rather fortunate finding a remnant voile, which was quite like the gown in the painting.

Hope you have enjoyed a great start to a bright new year, too.
PS Here is a link to a great youtube video of art dolls - mine is there too at the party. Just click....