Making diamonds from paper

l’m sure you’ve all seen book sculptures before and if you’d like to make one just do a search for “how to make a book sculpture” and you’ll find lots of different tutorials. I’m not going to do a tutorial here because I forgot to take photographs of steps as I went along.

Now I know that some of us feel terrible if we tear up, fold, cut or paint on old books. It’s because we were taught how carefully to turn the pages, how valuable they were and how much we could learn from them. All of this still applies to books and I would never just damage a book for the sake of it. There are many books I have at home that I hope to keep always; books that were given to me and inscribed by special people in my life. I still have my Enid Blyton books and my Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (which sadly has one book missing from the box).

I don’t feel guilty though, folding an old paperback into a lovely diamond shape. I did this with a group of disengaged teens and they really enjoyed it. Two boys raced to see who could finish first, but the rest of us, just carefully folded and folded. It felt meditative and we found it a lovely quiet soothing task.

Making diamonds from paper

Making diamonds from paper

The first day of the last month of winter

August 1st, the first day of the last month of winter in Australia, the promise of spring is in the air. Clear blue cold skies hang above the Michelia  doltsopa, growing outside the back door. It’s beautiful scent hangs teasingly in the air, exploding into a mass of flowers, it calls me outside to enjoy the chilly winter sunshine.

Michelia Doltsopa 1

Magnificent flowers larger than my hand

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Buds tightly clothed with bronze and green

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The bud throws off it’s cloak

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and flowers magnificently

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turning it’s fragrant face towards the sun.

A backyard sunset

From our back yard we can see other houses, neighbour’s trees, lights at night from the local football oval. Nothing exciting really. Sometimes I dream of seeing a sun dappled water vista, perhaps gently rolling waves or lovely country paddocks stretching on as far as the eye can see.

Last night however the view took my breath away. A lovely sunset, silhouetting mundane rooftops and chimney pots into things of beauty. Heralding the hot day that was to be today.

Summer sunset3

Not a beach

Summer sunset

Not a lake

Summer sunset 2

Still a thing of beauty

Peace and good wishes to all

Wishing for you all safe and happy holidays

Jen x

Bauble peace

Happy Holidays from WinterOwls.com

Spilt milk

My day had a less than desirable start. Opening the fridge and looking for jam, I noticed a strange white puddle on the bottom glass shelf. I raised my eyes to see milk had leaked from the new bottle I had placed on the top shelf. The milk had meandered its way through a bag of apples, over the block of chocolate and into a paper bag of mushrooms, from top to bottom shelf and then into the vegetable crisper. Sigh.

After cleaning up, I felt like looking at something nice. So I thought I’d show you what I’ve just started searching for, and sometimes finding at charity shops. Vintage sparkles have been catching my eye lately, and I found these gorgeous brooches in  the last two weeks. I especially love the bird which I think might be a Cockatoo, an Australian native. Well, that’s what he looks like to me. I can tell that all the brooches are old and not real stones(sadly)  but I wonder what era they might be from? If any one has any idea I would love to know.

I hope you enjoy looking at them more than spilt milk.

Vintage blue butterfly on vintage Levis jacket

Vintage blue

Who’s a pretty bird then?

Vintage Cockatoo

Vintage daisy

Vintage daisy on black velvet

Vintage starburst

Vintage bling anyone?

Owls in the Heart tree

Where does inspiration spring from? I sit and people watch in coffee shops, doodle in a sketchbook, or stare into my coffee, ideas start to form. Or perhaps, I might get inspired leafing through a magazine, or sifting through piles of vintage buttons and old aprons. Sometimes it strikes at inconvenient times, I often catch myself drawing in the steam from the shower…….

The inspiration for “Owls in the Heart tree” came from my beautiful Forest Pansy tree. In winter its branches are bare. Dark pink blossom blooms briefly in spring, followed by tiny, exquisite heart shaped burgundy leaves. In summer the leaves grow to the size of my hand, in autumn they turn yellow and softly fall.

I have been dithering about opening an Etsy (click here) shop since last year. But I have had a push from life. On December the 31st I am being given the boot, retrenched, made redundant, sacked, fired from work! No, don’t panic, I haven’t done anything wrong. Due to funding cuts from the government, the course I teach to young adults with mild intellectual disabilities is being discontinued. It’s a sad feeling, wondering where all my lovely students will go and I have been doing this job for ten years so it will feel quite strange not being there any more.

So, I have taken the plunge and opened a shop which you can visit by clicking on the Etsy Shop button on the sidebar. So far I have a few prints in there, but plan to add original paintings and soft owls too. I would love to know what you think of my shop. I know it is very difficult to make a living from art and craft but I really would like to try. Perhaps also having a part-time job somewhere else too will be needed, hmm but what kind of job? I’m tired of having a job where I bring home worries about my students, I’d really like to try something different. No ridiculous suggestions please, like the ones my husband has been giving me!

“Owls in the Heart tree”

Detail of “Owls in the Heart tree”

Forest Pansy in bloom

Bird brain

How clever birds are, to create something as beautiful and sustainable as this nest, found blown from its tree after a violent autumn storm. It makes me wonder who came up with the expression “bird brain”?

Clever bird creation

Speaking of birds, I want to share with you one of my favourite owls. He was(I think he looks like a he), a gift brought back from Italy by my parents. He seemed the perfect size to snuggle into this cosy nest.

The perfect home

He’s tiny enough to sit in the palm of my hand and is hollow with no base, perhaps he is a thimble? Far too beautiful to stick needles into though, I’d rather prick my finger.

Nestled in the palm of my hand