Friday, May 18, 2012

"Enjoy the Little Things..." - Canvas

Inspired by a canvas created by the amazingly talented Donna Downey, I decided to create my own version of this "bird's nest" canvas. I had no idea what I was going to do so I just started with a blank 12x12 canvas purchased from Michaels.
The only thing I was sure of was that the sky had to be blue and I had to use this cute little bird's nest that I found at the Dollar Store for $1.50. I sponge painted the canvas background in baby blue, then used some bubble wrap and white acrylic paint all-over. I dry-brushed it to soften the design a little bit.
I felt that it needed a splash of colour so I did a few brush strokes with Light Leaf Green acrylic paint.
Flying by the seat of my pants, I let my mind wander and decided to photocopy a photo of a tree branch. I used Gel Medium and transferred the photo onto the canvas. It turned out better than I expected.
I then mixed some molding paste with white acrylic paint and used a Crafter's Workshop Mini Chicken Wire mask to add a little dimension to the canvas. I added three strips of 7 Gypsies tape in the bottom left corner and I painted one of the butterflies on the tape baby blue.
The base of the canvas was complete! I painted three styrofoam eggs with white acrylic paint and glued them into the nest along with a few feathers and a chipboard bird that I stamped and cut out from a 7 Gypsies stamp set. I cut out some green leaves and added them to the branch for colour and drew and cut out three flying birds from black cardstock and popped them up on the canvas.
The quote is one of my favorites so I decided to use it on this canvas.
This was a fun project to work on and put me in the mood to create another one. I do have a few bird's nests left over so I need to get my creative juices flowing and do something completely different.


Friday, May 11, 2012

A Little ABBA & A lot of Laughs.....

Last week 6 of us spent 4 days at this beautiful scrapbooking retreat at Fawn Meadows in Delburne, AB. Just 2.5 hours from Calgary right on a golf course. It was amazing! Each of the guest rooms have a private ensuite and the entire lodge has beautiful views of the golf course. Thanks to Betty, we had a great variety of music - even though Deb thinks we played too much Abba.... . . "how can I resist you. [twist, shuffle, slide] Mama Mia . . . Here we go again [jump, twist, splits] . . . my, my" . . . (thanks Ashlyn)! Each day the breakfast buffet was more than enough, we skipped lunch and prepared our own meals for supper, using their on-site BBQ and ordering home-made pizza from the locals. We relaxed, scrapped, and laughed until our insides hurt! There is nothing like good belly laughs with great friends. I took several projects to work on and was happily suprised by how much I accomplished. Can't show much on here right now as a lot of it is for the wedding but I WILL share this cute little frame that I made as a gift for someone special.
I bought this inexpensive wood frame at Michaels and painted it with vanilla acrylic paint. After letting that dry I painted a thin layer of crackle paint over top of the vanilla and just when it was tacky, I painted the golden brown acrylic paint and let it sit to dry and crack. I then used a Crafters Workshop template mask and mixed Teddy Bear brown acrylic paint with fibre paste to get a nice thick mixture. I painted this over the mask to get the small square pattern along the bottom of the frame. This turned out better than I thought and it was hard for me to resist painting the entire frame in this manner. I routed through my scrap stash to find the perfect embellishments to decorate with.
And a couple of close-up shots of the embellies. Love the Graphic 45 door knob and the cute vintage wooden buttons. Easy Peesy and I love how it turned out!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Be Creative - Just What The Doctor Ordered

A friend gave me this angel of healing several years ago to help me through a difficult time and I have since paid it forward to my friends in need.

Since creating this blog two years ago, one of the things (and there are a few) that has brought me great pleasure are the people that I have met online, the wonderful comments and dedicated followers. Who could have imagined that cyberspace could lead to online lasting and meaningful friendships. I have received some very uplifting emails from people who love to see what I am up to. Total strangers who have since become my online friends and Melanie Bowen is a recent friend who contacted me just last week to get her message of "creativity - helping the body heal" out there.

I have always found my hobbies to be very therapeutic and over the last few years in dealing with losing family members to cancer I turn to scrapbooking as a way of holding on to their memories. Those who really know me know that I am all about creating memories, preserving memories and making people happy! My scrapbooking is MY way of preserving memories, whether it be giving something as a gift in memory of a lost loved one or preserving memories for my children to appreciate when they are my age.

Melanie currently blogs for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog and I am honored that she asked me to guest post and share her uplifting ideas with you.
Be Creative! It’s Just What the Doctor Ordered.
Studies indicate the correlation between mind and body wellness are growing stronger. How a person with any cancer prognosis, from breast cancer to a mesothelioma prognosis, thinks about their life truly affects how their body heals. This correlation has provided the impetus in the medical community to integrate creative activities into a patient’s healing process to help people refocus their thoughts, reduce stress levels and heal faster. The approach is highly effective.

How Creativity Helps the Body Heal
In the past, physicians have proven the efficacy of exercise in healing cancer, but further studies prove that reducing stress levels through creative outlets is also an effective component of healing. Physicians are now prescribing creativity to help reduce stress and calm the mind of racing thoughts. If it does not sound credulous to you, ask some of the top physicians at Duke’s Cancer Institute to explain why they have developed an entire program around creativity and humor. The response will amaze you. Through studies, physicians have found that fun and playful activities actually help cancer patients express their innermost thoughts in a creative and constructive manner. When the creative project is complete, cancer patients feel a sense of accomplishment at a time when other aspects of their lives are out of control. Creativity and humor are excellent diversion tools. When the mind is diverted from negative thoughts about life and pain from chemotherapy, cortisol levels remain in balance, and the body can use its natural mechanisms to heal. This is why physicians recommend support systems and talk therapy. Creative outlets are just a physical manifestation of any talk therapy that may occur in a patient’s life.

What Will My Physician Prescribe for Creativity?
Some of the best creative outlets include photographing and scrapbooking memories. Most cancer patients enjoy participating in these events, because it helps them remember their journey. As cancer patients travel to or participate in events they have dreamed of doing, they photograph the event and create a scrapbook of memories. This is highly effective and therapeutic. An entire magazine has been devoted to helping people learn to scrapbook for this purpose. Some artistic people may decide to photograph landscapes, flowers, people or other interesting subject matters. Most therapists provide a wide range of creative outlets to help cancer patients work through their emotions. As patients learn to channel their negative energy into an art form, they begin to heal faster, grow emotionally and become more spiritually grounded. Crafting is also effective. Many patients knit and find the repetition helps to divert attention from racing thoughts. It keeps the mind focused on a completing a task. When the finished product is complete, patients feel as if they have accomplished a goal. There is no limit on what type of creativity is effective for healing. Entire retreats have been devoted to help cancer patients and survivors develop their creative talents for faster recovery. Select a workshop or simply learn to be creative on your own. The experience is inspirational and an effective way to heal.
Check out a lot more information on wellness at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, so take a moment today to check out Melanie's other blog postings at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  My thanks and hugs go out to Melanie.