Monday, 30 April 2012

From blank paper to portrait!

I asked a local fellow crafter today whether she would mind me drawing a portrait of her and her daughter for a little practice, it was such a beautiful photo of them both and an absolute dream to draw! I'm not good enough to try and draw a portrait from life yet...maybe one day in the future but definately not anytime soon! I usually find working from photographs works best for me, I like to spend time studying it and getting a feel for the subjects...I think if I were to draw from life my subjects would get a little freaked out with me standing an inch away from them inspecting the curve of their face or the shape of their nose!

Working in the preliminary sketches and figuring out what needs to go where...I always find this the hardest part of any drawing! Especially faces!
Slowly beginning to add in areas of major shading and smaller details
Working in the facial features...I always leave the trickiest part til last, in this case the baby's face
At this stage I'd been at it for about an hour, nearly finished! Just a few more finishing touches to add.
And then suddenly everything comes together!
I always feel a strange mixture of things when beginning a drawing... first and foremost it's me worrying that the finished product won't work out, or that I will make some major unfixable mistake and end up ruining it. Logic says to put it aside and try again but my patience and expectations tell me 'not going to happen!'. I am by NO means a professional, nor am I particularly acurate with my portraits...I know when something hasn't been drawn right, I notice it only at the end and by that stage I'm just so glad it mostly worked out that I don't mind too much. I keep telling myself perfection will come with practice and practice, practice practice is what I intend to do! The other feelings usually consist of anticipation...not to see the end product, but anticipation of what will come out of the end of my pencil along the way, how I tackle each section; I ALWAYS feel nervous..I don't know why! Whether Im drawing for a commission or just for fun I always feel nerves! Like someone is watching me and ready to pounce on any mistake although that's probably just my paranoia getting to me. Then at the end I get confused as to whether I should feel relieved that it's over and it doesn't look like a stick figure, if I should feel accomplished and proud of my work or whether I should discard it and start over again. That is very contradictory of my previous comment, I never ACTUALLY discard my work and start again (even though sometimes I should) but that doesn't stop me feeling like I should. My oh my there goes my cup half empty attitude again! I can't just be happy about it can I? haha ohhh well... I guess that's why I blog! I've shown you the basic processes I go through to produce a drawing, perhaps you can appreciate it for me? :o)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

My poor drawing pencil was being neglected!

What happened to the days when I used to draw all the time??? Why have I suddenly stopped doing what I love most?! I guess my mojo went on holiday.....I don't know when the last time I drew a portrait was. I decided today was a good time to see just how rusty I'd become and look what happened!

 I am glad I did it and am really looking forward to getting in some more practice! I've never had any kind of training in this area...I did try to once but I fairly sure my teacher hated me, EVERYTHING I did, in her opinion, was wrong while the rest of the class was perfect :/ So in a nutshell that didn't last too long. Maybe I'll try going through professional training again one day but definately not at the same place!

I'd done a few drawings for friends in the past, I found copies in a folder on my computer recently and had almost forgotton I'd done them at all!

I was a bit taken aback at first, I had a moment of 'did I really do that??'. I will definately be striving to get some more practice in and hopefully even start selling some custom portraits!

Quirky Bean 'Meet the Blogger' Spotlight! Stephy of 'Saving up for a Harley

Stephy is a Blogger from Vermont, who runs the Blog Saving Up For A Harley. She blogs about a  Varity of things including Freebies, Recipes,Wedding Planning, Contests and Motorcycles.
Shes engaged to be married to  a Motorcycle Mechanic and enjoys riding motorcycles and being around them. She also enjoys Photography and Cooking and has some experinces in both fields. She is very active in her local community and runs a non profit organization called Vermont Helping Hands.

Describe yourself in 5 words: Trifty,Open Minded,Biker,Amature Photographer, Bargin Hunter

Why did you begin blogging? I began blogging because I became very successful with winning contests and obtaining freebies, that alot of my family became skeptical, and didnt understand how people could win so many contests, So I started the blogging to show others that you truely can win big on contests.

What is your all-time absolute favorite food? My All Time Favorite food is my mothers Rice Pudding! I make a triple recipe and its gone within a day!

If had $1000 to spend on anything in the world, what would you spend it on? I would bring all my family out to a very nice restaurant, We all dont get togeather alot at the same time, so it would be nice.

What was the last book you read? The Last Book I read was Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, I highly suggest skipping what the reviews say and read it, its a good read!!

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? It would Probably have to be Mia Tyler, I admire her as a Plus sized model, and I dont have the courage to Model, so I think it would be fun to Model for a week!

If your life could have a theme song, what would it be and why?
Cat Stevens - 'If you want to sing out' because its how I live, I do what I want whenever I want, Not caring how people look at what I'm doing, or if they think its strange

Friday, 27 April 2012

DIY Baby Tutu

The completed 'Starry Night' tutu is available for sale at 'Sweet Little Shmoogle Beans ~ Photography Props'

NOTE: You may sell items made from this tutorial with proper credit back to this blog and tutorial. You may not copy/sell/reproduce any part of this tutorial. You may not use photos from this tutorial for any purpose. Please respect the time and effort that goes into the production of free craft tutorials :o)
What you will need:
Braided elastic - mine is 1/2 inch thick but any size between 1/2 and 2 inches in fine.
Tulle of course! - I picked up 2 kinds from the scraps bin at my local fabric store for only $10. They're about 2m by 80cm-ish each. Since we're doing this on a budget, if you can manage to pick up an assortment of smaller lengths of tulle that would be perfect for this! The tutu is only small so you won't need alot.
Sewing machine (and matching thread!) You can sew this by hand though if you like!

Cut your elastic to comfortably fit the waist of the bub you are making the tutu for or if you are making for a newborn baby as a photography prop or a gift, then make your elastic 15 inches long and it should fit just fine! If it's a bit big, have no fear bub will grow! :o)

Now cut your tulle into lengths. For a newborn tutu you don't want to have the tulle too long so cut each peice about 16" by 5-7" wide. (You will fold the tulle in half when sewing onto the elastic so your tutu will only be 6 - 8" long when finished) I am using two colours and I used 22 strips of each to make the finished tutu.
Sew the ends of your elastic together (overlapping about 1/4 inch should do) with a zig zag stitch. Sew back over a few times for extra hold.

Take two pieces of tulle, one of each (or whatever you're using; you can overlap two of the same colour or different colours, it's up to you!) and lay them on top of each other. Now fold the two pieces lengthways. Fold it at the middle over the elastic and scrunch up the tulle a little to gather it, sew over the tulle just under the elastic.

Fold your two layered pieces of tulle (that have been folded lengthways..we did that to add extra puffy-ness) over the elastic.

Be sure not to sew over the elastic when adding your tulle

Continue adding your layered tulle! See what I mean? By layering the pieces you will get an extra fullness than if you were only using one layer at a time
The tutu is taking shape!! only a little bit more to add and you're done!
ta da!! That wasn't too hard now was it? :o)

Just more crochet goodies! An obsession? Yup!

My crochet hook has been getting a work out! In the past few days I've made three crochet hats, and working on two baby blankets :o)

I found that working in individual granny squares was very time consuming (I am loving the colours and how it is turning out though, it will just take a bit longer) so I decided to have a go at one continuous blanket. I couldn't find a pattern for the kind of blanket I was looking for so I just went for it and so far so good! I remember having one similar when I was little, and as I grew out of it my mum gave it to me for a dolls blanket. Both my sister and I had one, so I knew I needed to have some ready here for our own children! Also with all the little ones being born recently, I figured a few blankets would come in handy for baby showers and birthdays.

I got this far in only three hours! I suprised myself! It needs to double in size, so still a bit of work to do but as this rate I'll have it finished in no time at all!

And guess what? Next Wednesday I will be meeting with a group of ladies for a luncheon who have been knitting and crocheting for many years so I am very excited to be meeting some locals with similar passions and learn from the best! That might sound boring to some... but all you other crochet-addicts out there understand who fantastic an opportunity this will be! I am hoping to pick up some new stitches and techniques.

A bit baby obsessed at the moment? Ok yes I am... I admit it!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Marvel's 'THE AVENGERS' Prize Pack Giveaway!!

Marvel fan? I know I am! I couldn't go past letting you know about this awesome giveaway for an AVENGERS prize pack giveaway!!

Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man....
We've seen their individual movies, now it's time for us to see them all together in one awesome movie! (and who doesn't love watching Robert Downey Jr!)


Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
Chris Evans as Captain America

Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Hawk Eye

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury


Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Stellan SkarsgÄrd as Selvig

Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers”—the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

In “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Super Heroes team up to pull the world back from the brink of disaster when an unexpected enemy threatens global security. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble!

And I'm excited to announce that I've partnered up with Bay Area Mommy and Marvel to bring you this giveaway for one "Marvel's The Avengers" prize pack which includes:

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS t-shirt in adult sizes of S, M, L, XL

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS set of 6 buttons

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS one pair of limited edition 3D glasses

Avengers shirt

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form below! Giveaway will run until May 13

and is open to the US/CANADA, 18+ only.

Virtual coffee dates? Why not! :o)

Why must it be so that all my lovely blogging buddies be so far away from me! I would love nothing more than to meet up with you all for a good long chit chat! Well...while I am not the manic genius I sometimes like to think I am I haven't been able to create a teleportation machine (give me time! :p ) BUT I think I have come up with a way to at least share a cup of coffee! That's where Pinterest comes in! Now, whenever I have a nice hot cup of joe I can take a photo, add a bit of text and upload it here to my blog then pin it and tag you! And voila!! Instant virtual overseas coffee date! :o) Have a coffee with anyone in the world whenever you like! SO, to kick things off thismorning I want to share a coffee date with none other than the caffien-loving woman herself, Jessi of Ramblings of a Caffienated Army Wife! Jessi also happens to have a nifty thing going on over on her blog where she features someone new everytime and they talk about their perfect cup of coffee!  I've been enjoying reading about different people and how they make their coffee, or where they had the best coffee ever! I'm having to add so many new places to my 'Where in the world to have coffee' bucket list I'm going to need another lifetime to test everywhere!

So what that we're in different time zones! Doesn't matter to me! :o) We can have a coffee, tea, a hot chocolate (or even the occasional cocktail) together anytime, anywhere!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

In Rememberance

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
-Laurence Binyon

-In remberence of those who fought and lost their lives for our freedom. Lest we forget.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What do you consider 'family friendly'?

So excited!! Thismorning I have coffee with two very special ladies and guess what we're going to be organising? It has something to do with lots of lace, feather boas, fans and red lipstick and we can't wait! Vintage photoshoot here we come!! But that brings me to a question I've been mulling over in my mind and I want to put it to you, my readers, for your opinions.

I myself am very firm on the belief that inappropriate images and content consists of nudity and swearing and other crude language and things that may cause offence to your readers due to age, location, religion or gender; obviously you are not going to attract the right kind of attention towards your blog with that sort of media and I would never of course condone those things in a public domain let alone in my day to day life. But then it is also up to your own personal opinion to decide whether you consider something to be innappropriate.

I believe that women with curves are so feminine and why should we have to hide them? Society gives us too many images of what we SHOULD look like and not that we should be happy with who we are and love ourselves from the inside out. My plan is to create a blog post with tips and tricks to DIY a vintage style or pin up style photoshoot at home with your girlfriends. It focuses on loving your curves and being proud of who you are and showing yourself off to the best advantage! This is something I have always wanted to do, anything vintage is a passion on mine! If you have curves you are a beautiful creature and you should love yourself for them! As someone who has struggled with her self esteem for many years, I do not see the problem with any woman, thin or curvy, tall or short, being able to have the confidence to stand in front a camera and truly feel not only beautiful, but empowered, strong and sexy and most importantly feel confident in your own skin! I want to be able to say that I have done that and shared the result with you, and give you the tricks and tips and the confidence to have a go yourself!

So my question for you today is, what do you consider to be family friendly? I would honestly like to know...Will I be posting pictures on the internet of naked women? NO are you crazy!? Will I be posting pictures as part of my post of women who are over-sexualised? No!! Will I be sharing photos of everyday women like you and me with vintage hair, makeup and clothing in fun pin-up style poses feeling sensual and artistic? That's exactly right :o) You see, I'm not going out of my way to offend anyone on purpose, I don't want that at all! But I would like to know your opinions before I go ahead with it.

 I will still be going ahead with my plans for this photoshoot either way, it's a passion of mine and it's who I am. You shouldn't stifle who you truly are for the sake of someone else... ever! One one hand I've made more of a deal out of myself with this post than I should have, but the on the other hand I want to know what you think! It is truly important to me!

You know something that I haven't even considered having been too caught up in the 'right and wrongs' of it? Are you looking forward to this? Is it something you are interested in seeing and reading about? I sure am!! Feel free to check out my inspiration board on Pinterest!

*Please be considerate in your opinions guys, I will not stand for any abusive and overly negative talk. Any comments posted under 'anonymous' will be treated as spam and deleted.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Unisex Crochet Baby Hat ~ Puff Stitch

Just a little project I started earlier this evening, and by little I mean newborn sized :o) As you may know I've recently been working on some little crochet delights for a baby box I'm putting together for when the time comes! There are so many things new and expecting parents need to buy these days, and clothing can be very expensive. So for the cost of a $4 ball of wool I can make a baby hat and few pairs of booties! Much more cost effective and means when we are expecting in the near future, we'll be a tinsy bit more prepared and have a little extra cash for the expensive necessities. Ever since I learnt the puff stitch I fell in love and just had to make an itty bitty hat with it. It's made with 4 ply yarn and a 4.5mm size hook and just two increasing rows, 8 rounds of puff stitches, 1 round of half double crochet and decrease half double crochet around the rim of the hat. Very easy, very quick and very very cute! 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Home again, home again jiggity jig!

It was so lovely going to visit the family this weekend! It was my sister's 19th birthday so we were able to catch up with everyone and have a beer and BBQ in the backyard down in Port Macquarie (the best and only way to catch up, the Aussie way of course!) The cupcakes I made for her went down an absolute treat, everyone loved them! I was so proud of myself when they came out looking edible ;o) I'd never really worked with fondant before! Good thing I had insomnia last Thursday night and stayed up making these... no sleep can sometimes be useful. Sometimes... most of the time I'd prefer to be sleeping though.

 The dogs had a great time too playing with mums dog, A.J in the wet mud-soaked ground after all the rain they've had down in Port recently. You will notice this photo was taken on arrival as they are still CLEAN.

Meet A.J ...he's just one big ball of playful furry friendly Labradoodle! He always looks like he's smiling...sooo cute!
 I can tell you the 3 hour drive to and from never gets any better! For some reason I have NEVER had car sickness but over the past year I seem to have magically developed it!! The trip to Port is of course over about and hour and a halfs worth of terribly wind-y roads so my enjoyment factor was at 0 for the most part of the trip there (and back...much worse on the way back! had to pull over a few times) I forgot to buy Travel Calm so had to settle with Ginger Beer but it only helped a little. Luckily I discovered that crocheting worked wonders in controlling my desire to hurl the whole way (charming isn't it?) so I got to work on the baby blanket I started a few days ago with all that glorious wool I bought! And nooo I am not expecting (yet...although with all that sickness! HAHA no just kidding), I just thought it would be nice to have some things ready in my Baby-Box for when the time comes in the not too distant future :o) So I got into my 'car-crocheting'! And suprisingly I didn't drop and lose my darning needle in the process!! Wooohoo!!

The beginnings of car-crochet baby blanket...all on my lap of course! Good thing I have plenty of leg to use as a work bench!
Nice straight-ish road at the beginning of the trip
Not feeling so flash hot at this stage!! It only gets worse after this point
Nope, not a mirror image of the above photo...just more darn HORRID twists and turns!
Our poor Toby not feeling too great either... we had to pull over TWICE as apparantly the dogs get car sick too. That was not a pleasant experience I can tell you!
Car-crochet baby blanket squares began to multiply!

FINALLY coming out of the mountains! What a view right?!

The weekend was just go-go-go the whole time, I couldn't believe how fast it went by! Time DOES fly when you're having fun though...and there was a lot of fun had! I don't remember the last time I had a few beers and a decent BBQ and just chilled out, pure bliss really! I also managed to pick up a few photo props before we had to head back home for a photo shoot I'm doing soon, that one is a suprise though, I'll fill you in later ;o)

My blanket squares on the way back to Armidale today! :o)
Every time I head home I am always amazed at all the new little things I find in and around the house!

I adore my parents' backyard, it's just so interesting! You really do have to keep your eyes peeled, there is something to find almost everywhere!

For instance, check out this funky bathtub goldfish pond! When mum and dad renno'd the bathroom and turned the linen closet into a seperate toilet, they were left with a purple bathtub (yes it was purple, as was the toilet and the sink) so mum being the creative person that she is made it into this:

Rather large and very inquisitive goldfish!

 It's my favourite part of the yard! Oh...well, that and The Happy Hippy Henhouse of course!

There is something wonderfully calming and special about heading home to visit your mum and dad and siblings, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend :o) What do you love most about visiting your parents? Do they live in the same town as you? Do you visit regularly or just for special occassions or do your parents live so far away you only go once away? I'd love to know! :o)

Oh by the way... take a look at these two photos... look a bit different to you? The car sickness really did shake me up!

Just after we left Armidale on the way to Port
And just coming back IN to Armidale on the way home....I was definately not a well Bean AT ALL