A New Year A New Start

 This year is a new start for me.  I am starting to feel more like myself, excited about the year and what it has in store for me and my family.    The last 2 years have been tough ones for me.  I lost a family member
to a long illness.  It took a long time to get back my creative flow
without feeling depressed.  I always thought I knew what depression was till I went through a period of grief. It has only been a month since I felt like I have my creative energy back.

  I decided to do a few online art courses to get me back into the creative flow again.  It is a course by Donna Downey, called Inspirational Wednesday (IW2017).  It is a weekly inspirational art journaling course.  Each week there are video’s showing you a new technique.  As Donna is in the USA, I don’t have all the supplies for each week, but I am sure I can substitute some of the supplies I have for the ones Donna uses.  My goal for the IW2017 course is to learn new techniques that I can use in my own art. 

  I started out the week before IW2017 making my own art journal.  The journal Donna uses is made of cloth.  I bought the online video that teaches you how to make your own.  I didn’t want to buy new fabric, as I have a lot of scrap pieces from when I use to do a lot of sewing.  So, I found an old skirt that was my favorite.  I decided to use the waist band and the zip of the skirt as inspiration for a skirt shaped journal cover.  I think it looks so cute!.  Not very square but the zip allowed me to create a pocket for my clips.  The back area of the journal I folded over for an internal pocket for pencils and brushes.   

I love the stencil I used.  It certainly fits in with a Uni course I am doing on “Creativity and Aging”.  I love the quote by Enstien, “Imagination is more important than Knowledge”.  (The stencil is a Donna Downey stencil I bought when I went to her studio in Statesville, NC. )  It is so true, that you need imagination more than knowledge.  Without imagination, I am not sure that Enstein would have been able to discover the theory of relativity. 

  Much of what I have done in my career and in my business has inspired my art.    This year, I hope to blog about all the places I have been, and how they inspire me in my art. 
Until next time, 
Happy Blogging
Tracy aka Warratahstree

Breaking the Writers Block

  I have to admit now that I have had a year long writers block!  When I started blogging, it was so much fun and the words flowed so easily.  Last year, 2014, I would start drafts of blogs and never finished them.  Today I came up with a theory on how to break that writers block.

  It all started when I was talking to a business acquaintance about an article he wrote about Ideas.(Have-you-got-great-idea By Matthew Farmer).  As I read Matthew’s comments about an “Ideas” book and how to use those “Ideas” in your business, I thought about how much I missed writing in my blog posts each week.  I spoke to Matthew about having a writers block and that when I was in University I use to have a special outfit I wore when I studied.  That got me thinking that maybe I should apply that same theory to my blog writing and painting.  Well, that started both of us talking about having a special outfit to help set the mood for writing.

  It was a very interesting conversation. My special outfit of tracksuit pants and a very large baggy shirt were only worn when I had to study for exams and writing assignments during my university days. It helped set the mood for focusing on my studies.  Matthew said he has a favourite hat to wear when he writes.
  All this talk of having a “writing” outfit to set the mood for writing got me feeling confident that I can start writing again.  Well at least it was a great subject for writing this blog post.   I have to find that special comfy outfit that only comes out at writing/creativity time.   It always set the creative mood in the past and I know it will again.   One problem, that outfit is LONG gone. I have to find new tracksuit pants and a big baggy shirt….or maybe a hat….maybe I’ll stick with the comfort of tracksuit pants and a baggy shirt.

   How about you?  Do you have something special that sets the mood for your blog writing or creative process?

My greatest Aspiration for 2015 – Using Art to Facilitate Team Building

   I am a Geologist and Computer Scientist by training. For 20 years I worked as a “Geoscientist” in Oil and Gas and Airborne survey companies. One of my main roles was to support users in using specialised software for Geological and Geophysical exploration companies. I also worked for an ISP and a major IT company.

   In both my professional life as a Scientist and my private life as an Artist, I loved showing people how to do things.  I always wanted, as a hobby, to teach art classes but never had the confidence in my art to teach.
  In Dec 2013, I started a canvas painting party business this year called Social Artworking.  It is a great way to get a few friends together and have a bit of fun creating a piece of ArtWork.   There is no experience needed to create your very own artwork. 
   Though I still do private computer consulting and teach computer classes at neighbourhood houses, my main goal this year is to take the Social ArtWorking business to the next step.  I want to do Corporate or Small Business Team Building workshops using the Social ArtWorking technique.
Why I want to do Corporate Team Building?

   I have worked professionally in both large and medium sized companies.  Each day many people go to work with their “work attitude”, but get them out of the office in a social atmosphere and they are more often than not very different.  They relax.  They spend time talking about other things besides work.  I personally found that was when you really bonded as a team.  I saw a different side of my work colleagues which gave me a different perspective on them as both a professional and a person.

How Art transformed my stress levels     I worked for most of my career in a high stress environment. I was expected to solve problems and get results on a day to day basis.   At the same time I was a mother of two teenagers. I needed an outlet to do something for me, and to relax. When I took up painting classes, I never thought of myself as an artist. It was my way of doing something completely different to my professional life.

 How out of office activities built work relationships
   I believe using Art as a Team Building excercise could be a great way to get people  out of the day to day of work related problem solving and allow them to do something completely different.  Team building and out of office activities are so vital both as a “debrief” from the pressures of work and a way to build a relationship with their work colleagues that can help bond them as a team. Let’s face it a team can work more effectively than individuals.
How does Art facilitate Team Building?

Art and Science are polar opposites! One is logical, step by step, problem solving.  The other is thinking, feeling, and very visual.
   Though I have always been a lateral thinker, art allowed me to look at the world in a completely different way. My goal is to take art to businesses as a way to facilitate team building by getting their employees to use the thinking, feeling, visual way to facilitate team solutions to their business.  Even if they are not scientists art is a way to facilitate creativity in a different environment to the daily work environment.

My Challenge….How to get a gig?
   My challenge and my goal is to look for companies that want to use art for team building or out of office activities.
 Happy Blogging

Cleaning my Pandora Bracelet after Tarnishing in a Spa

It’s Valentines Day and I am feeling sentimental. I am not a huge Valentine’s Day celebrator but I do like to spend special time with my husband.  Today reminded me of my favorite gift from my husband.  That is my Pandora Bracelet.  There are some really special charms on my bracelet that were given to me by my husband.  So, you can imagine my horror New Years Day when I saw that my Pandora bracelet and ALL my silver charms were all black.

Tarnished and Blackened Pandora Bracelet
Tarnished and Blackened Pandora Bracelet

 We were all having such a great time.  We went to visit my sister-in-law who was staying in a motel on Phillip Island in Victoria Australia.  The kids wanted to go for a swim and I thought I would join the adults in the spa.  I always remove my jewellery before going in the spa but this time I had just had my nails done and didn’t want to ruin them by removing my Pandora Bracelet. The clasp on the bracelet requires you to use your nail to open it.  So I forgo the hassle of removing my bracelet and went into the  spa with it on.  I was only in the spa for about 15 minutes when I looked up and noticed my bracelet and all the charms were black.
  I wasn’t sure I would be able to “fix” my bracelet.  So, I thought I would post it on Facebook and later google how to clean the black off.  One of my friends send me a link from Pandora on How To Care for Your Pandora Bracelet.  I did what the instructions said.  I washed my bracelet and all the charms in warm soapy water. I scrubbed each of the charms and bracelet with a toothbrush.  Then after drying with a towel, I used a polishing cloth to polish my bracelet.  I was able to remove all the tarnish! 
 I was so relieved as all my charms were gifts from my husband. My favorite ones are three charms my husband bought me while on a trip to Mexico in 2012.
Kangaroo Charm, http://ift.tt/1KVDGOG
Kangaroo Charm, http://ift.tt/1KVDGOG
Aeroplane Charm, http://ift.tt/1KVDH4U
Suitcase Charm, http://ift.tt/1F8PZXg

 Lesson learned is always remove jewellery before swimming or going into the spa even if you have to get someone to help remove your bracelet.

Happy Blogging;

ESAD 2014 Holiday Catalog Blog Hop

I am really excited about my second ESAD Blog Hop. I really love Stampin UP! during the holiday time and Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  

“What is ESAD? ESAD stands for “Extra Special Australasian Demonstrators” and is a facebook group just for Australian and New Zealand Independent Stampin’ Up! demonstrators. We love what we do & love to share with our customers, friends and blog visitors. We also share what we love in our ESAD Demonstrator community, through swaps, challenges, sharing knowledge, ideas& friendship and we’re always there to help and support each other. So if you are a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator located in Australia or New Zealand then please feel free to leave me a comment with your email address then I’ll contact you with information on how to join our group.” 

 I am really excited about doing Christmas Cards this year.    Each year in Oct I start making Christmas Cards for markets and sales to friends. I thought this year I would go with some non traditional coloured cards.   I am using the All is Calm Specialty Designer Series Paper . The mix with Soft Sky, and Lost Lagoon make an amazing combination. I used the stamp set Bright & Beautiful and the Stars Framelits for the embellishment and greeting.

The Stars Framelits are so versatile.  I have been using them for several cards I have made recently.

   Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I think we have neglected the personalised cards of times past. How exciting is it to get a card in the mail? I use to have a special garland hung in my lounge with all the cards I received. The last few years I have not sent as many to friends nor received many. This year I am planning to dig out my old Christmas Card list and send cards to as many of my friends as possible. I am really excited to send them to my family and friends. What better card to receive than a handmade one ?   Here is one of my cards.

 This year I thought I would make a few I hope you enjoyed the ESAD Blog Hop so far. You may have found arrived here from Rochelle’s Blog. If you started here at my blog you can hop over to the other blogs until you get back to my blog. Below is a full list of the hop.

 Have fun and Happy Blog Hopping; Tracy

 1. Keryn Campbell
 2. Narelle Hoggard
 3. Gail Kirby
 4. Libby Dyson
 5. Emily Campbell
 6. Debra Spijers
 7. Kelly Kent
 8. Monique Fielder
 9. Andrea Buckland
10. Debbie Lamb
 11. Sally Williams 
 12. Christie Kunkel
13. Paula Reid 
14. Amity Knight
15. Ria Kaire
16. Nerida Carter 
17. Rochelle Blok 
18. Tracy Speight  <<<<< That’s Me
19. Rachael Lewsley

Celebrating the Living Artist of South Australia

The SALA Fesitival is a festival celebrating the living artist of South Australia. In August, while visiting family in Glenelg, South Australia, I went for a walk around the Glenelg, Mosley Square.  While walking around Mosely Square I saw shipping containers being used to exhibit various artists work.  It was part of an exhibition of the SALA Festival.

 So,  I decided to take advantage of my weekend away and see a few of the exhibitions that were on offer in the Glenelg and Adelaide area.   Saturday we wandered around the Glenelg, SA SALA festival exhibitions.  
   Our first stop was to the old  Glenelg Fire Station. The exhibition there was featuring the work of An impressionist and contemporary exhibition by SA artist Neil Sheppard. Based on Kangaroo Island, Neil’s work is displayed in the old Glenelg Fire Station.  I was most impressed by Niel’s use of black as a base colour to many of his pieces.  This gave the base colour of the shade for Neil’s landscape paintings.  It made the images pop with colour and details. 
Niel Sheppard’s Hudson Bay, SALA Festival 2014
Old Glenelg Fire Station
   Moseley Square, Glenelg,  MSquare had a mixture of canvas pieces featuring  a representation of shells using mixed media, still life, and life drawings.   The featured artists that day were part of The Changing Canvas group that offer workshops, classes, commission work and much more. I think I will be to incorporating a workshop or class at The Changing Canvas into my next trip to Glenelg.
The Changin Canvas at SALA 2014

Our next stop was to visit the Discovery Centre on Moseley Square, Glenelg.  I must admit I have never been in the Discovery Centre, despite going to Glenelg nearly every year and having family living in Glenelg.  Having lived in South Australia for many years, I never thought of the Discovery Centre as more than just an information centre for tourists.  How wrong I was.  
   The discovery centre has a mini museum on the discovery and settlement of Glenelg.  For the SALA Festival, the Discovery Centre had an are exhibition on in the lobby area.  It was there that I and saw Sylvia Preston’s water colour’s.  Sylvia lives in the Glenelg area and is a resident in the same retirement complex as my father-in-law.  It goes to show that you never lose your desire to create and I hope in my retirement I am still able to create works of art.   
Studio 86 on Broadway had some really beautiful mixed media canvases.  One canvas is a clown montogue of paper and other media to form the clown’s neck fill and hat decoration.  The artist’s work showed how familiar she was with many media, ink, acrylic, paper and other mediums to create some really beautiful works of art.

 The highlight of my tour of the SALA events was a guided guided walk through the Botanical Garden in Adelaide. The walk took us on a tour of all the beautiful plants that were the inspiration of several botanical artists and their work.  The photos below do not do the work justice.  I plan to work through my notes for that day and write another blog post on botanical artists.  Stay tuned….

   I am planning to get to the next SALA Festival in 2015.  There were so many open studios and exhibitions. 
  Does your state or city have a special festival to celebrate living artists?

Happy Blogging,
Tracy @ HandmadeWarratahstree

ALS Ice Bucket Challenged, Raising Awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  I have been watching my family in the USA take the “Ice Bucket Challenge”.  My niece challenged me to take the Ice Bucket Challenge, I thought, why take the challenge, pour a bucket of Ice over your head to get out of donating to ALS?

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   The Ice Bucket Challenge is where you video buckets of ice being poured over yourself and challenge your friends and family to do the same. They have 24 hours to accept the challenge and post their video via Social Media or they must donate cash to ALS research.  The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by a Massachusetts resident who has lived with ALS since 2012 to raise awareness for ALS.
Source Time.com 

  The challenge has gone viral and even the President of the USA, Obama was challenged by Ethel Kennedy.

  My family have a very strong reason to support ALS awareness.  My sister’s late brother-in-law, Dr Mickey McGrath died of ALS in 2010. 

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Soooo, Have you taken the Ice Bucket Challenge?

#icebucketchallenge #projectals #alsassociation #alsicebucketchallenge

Blogging for awareness of ALS 
Project ALS