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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Hi all.

To those of you who don’t already know….. my art has been on hiatus (sort of) this year while I created a children’s picture book! I‘m hoping those of you with children or grandchildren might want to take a look. ;)

This year I utilised the lockdown to not only write and illustrate, but to self publish also. Adding to all of that, I learnt how to properly use Procreate on my iPad and I must say….it is amazing. It is a digital format but, if you want, it can look like watercolour or acrylic or any other media. You just need the correct digital brushes and a bit of know how and voila…two tools (iPad and Apple pencil) now replace a whole art room of supplies.

For my writing, I am using a pseudonym as there is already a writer with my name. I’ll be using Kairen- for how my family pronounces my name and Alaina- for my third name, which was given to me to honour my dad (Alan).

There will be also be a big surprise available on the pre-launch subscription page which will be coming very soon…

…okay, I can’t keep it a secret. A Scarlett rag doll pattern and colouring pages will be yours to download. How exciting!

I’m aiming for a release date of January 30th 2022 but am hoping to get it out a little earlier. I just need to get all this darn admin stuff wrapped up.

About the book:

‘I Can Do That’ is a story about a little girl who wakes up and finds out her day is going to be very unusual.

Her Mummy informs her she has a new game to play and it’s one that will last all day.

Read along as Scarlett tackles a day of fun and practical challenges that prove that, if she tries, she really CAN do that!

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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

For a while now, I've had the hankering to making a journal from brown paper bags....the larger type that you use for grocery shopping.

I have lots of journals laying around. A small portion are finished, many are mostly finished and a large percentage have only a handful of pages completed. What can I say....I'm easily distracted by the next best thing. Lol.

The point is... I just couldn't stop this journal until it was full. It was so satisfying, and it needed to be completed before I could bind it got record time!

It was a great place to include a lot of art that was laying around on loose pages (I have a stack of those, slipped into books and hidden away under piles of journals) and also the, new to me, large square format was inspiration for new ideas.

The whole idea for the paper bag book came from a workshop with Jeanne Oliver

"Storytellers and Mavericks" is the full workshop, but she has very generously listed the journal creation part of the lesson, Dye + Stitch Journal , for free.

I used Jeanne's ideas and ran with my own twist. I particularly liked the idea of including hand-dyed cheesecloth and parchment paper. I also made patchwok pages from parts of vintage books and different types of papers. Watercolour, pastel, sketch and mixed media papers, they are all in there.

I used the lead part of a pianola roll for my front cover and bound it all with a wooden ruler that I distressed with sandpaper and stained with brown shoe polish.

Pianola roll cover

Left:Found shapes from abstract painting. Right: "The Universe" Original poem

Left: Fabric, trims and paper graphics. Right: Bee Stamp graphics (My Porch Prints. Etsy) and base page created with Momigami.

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  • Writer's pictureKaren

It's something that I've wanted to do for so long.....and's done!

A fabric book is making me ridiculously happy in it's completion.

I discovered the beauty of sari fabrics a few months ago. From there I found a beautiful, inspirational Facebook site called Bohodaydreams where, from Sheila Gingerich the owner, I can purchase the most amazing fabrics and trims. I've never seen anything like it and they are certainly not available over here in Australia.

Sumptious fabrics adorned with sequins and motifs, hand dyed silks and velvets... all the colours of the rainbow. She really puts together the most gorgeous bundles of luciousness.

She has also renewed my love of beads. Putting together colourful dangles of beads is a quick and fun pastime. I just adore storing them in a glass jars...even the noise they make. is satisfying.. can you just hear it? Glass beads againt the glass jar ....clink, jiggle, clink ;)

The Bohodaydreams page is full of lovely supportive women, all with amazing talent and it's a great site for inspiration. Scrolling through the page gave me the push, and inspiration, to utilise some of the digital files that I had been creating. This first journal is the result of that.

From there, I gained the confidence to start my fabric journal. I've never made this type of journal before, so there was a lot of 'wingin it' and also some 'finagling'......but I did it!

This book is just so lovely to hold and, while not a journal as such, is comforting to flip through.

The construction of the pages is supported by thick felt....this has made them strong, easy to hand-sew through and gave them a sturdiness that a soft center just wouldn't have had.

The book contains fabrics from my old clothes, vintage laces, sari fabrics and motifs, vintage printouts and some beautiful glass beads.

I would do some things different if I ever attempt one again. Everything has a learning curve and that is what makes it even more interesting to us. It's probably why I flit from one type of art to the next...always seeking a new experience and to learn new skills.

It's so satisfying to get out of your comfort zone and pick up that inspirational, 'want to do' idea that's been floating around in amongst all our 'must do' thoughts.

Are you starting, or thinking of, a new idea/art project? Enjoy the process and stretch those creative muscles...but most of all....enjoy!

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