Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kantha Footstool Project

I recently purchased 2 secondhand footstools, (pictured below with Boo the cat after he’d appropriated one for himself):

They were going for $25 apiece, but I convinced the store manager (it was a Cash Converters) to give them both to me for $25.

Then, a few days afterwards, after I mentioned them to my neighbour Diane, she said she was throwing out 2 footstools that she didn’t need anymore, so I could take them if I liked.

Well, I liked ūüėĄ. And so did Boo, again:

These were slightly smaller, and rectangular compared to my purchased footstools.

My plan for the footstools is to re-upholster them with Kantha stitched fabric. I’d make up patchwork pieces and embroider them with Kantha running stitches, then make up new coverings for the footstools.

Diane says to show her the finished footstools, and who knows, she may want them back ūüėČ.

Anyway, I haven’t started just yet on my newest projects, seeing as I’m still only halfway through sewing a Kantha quilt. But here are some Kantha covered footstools/floor cushions/ottomans/benches that I’ve curated from Pinterest, to pique your interest.

(And before you ask, no, I am not going to be sewing any round poufs. Let me hone my straight stitching skills first, before I try any curves ūüėĄūüėĄūüėĄ).

I’ll have a go at re-upholstering my footstools, and perhaps making some square floor cushions. I shall no doubt be scouring my local thrift stores and secondhand furniture stores for likely candidates for refurbishment. 

(The following images are curated from Pinterest. Search “Kantha footstool” or “Kantha ottoman” to see more):

30 Days of Gratitude: #8

#8: What book are you most grateful for?

2016 was quite a terrible year for me, and for countless others. In October 2015, the ex’s job in the mines up north ended, and it being close to Xmas and nobody was hiring then, we had no source of income. Because we were technically still a couple, and the ex had earned way over the income threshold in the last financial year, neither of us qualified for any social security benefits. 

Which really sucked. The only way we could survive was to use the remaining credit on our cards. And this being Australia, nothing is cheap, and soon we were up to the limits of our cards. 

In February 2016, I was lucky enough to be offered the job of Communications Officer at the dog shelter where I volunteered. A couple of weeks later, the ex managed to get a job locally, albeit one that paid half what he was used to earning. Meanwhile, the bills piled up and soon we were behind with our mortgage on the house.

Then the collections department of our banks started ringing us. At one point, their phone calls were averaging a staggering 15 a day for me. I never answered them, of course, what could I say to them – “The cheque’s in the post”??

The ex finally got a Part 9 Agreement, which consolidated most of our combined debts to a more manageable amount. A Part 9 is one step away from bankruptcy, by the way. It means his credit rating is affected and until he’s cleared all the debts under that agreement, which is in 5 years’ time, he won’t be able to get any other loans.

I wasn’t so lucky with my own credit card debt. We tried to add it to the Part 9, but as I wasn’t working again (having resigned from my Communications Officer post back in June due to being overworked and under-appreciated and not having even a single day off in the 115 days I worked straight through – which is probably illegal, but that’s a moot point now), the debt company said they couldn’t add my debt to the others. So the phone calls to my mobile phone from unidentified numbers just kept escalating.

I spent almost an entire year trying to get financial assistance from my own father. No, let me rephrase that: I WASTED almost an entire year trying to get financial assistance from my own father. I’ll be honest with you, my father had indeed in the past sent me funds when we were in need, but they always came with a caveat. This time, however, for reasons known only to himself, he decided to play a long, drawn out game of cat and mouse. He toyed with me mentally for months. I’d go 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. 

And the sad thing was, I was so desperate for money by then I honestly believed he would come through. The last straw, however, was when the ex put our house up for sale and I felt like my only option left was to move out on my own into a rental. 

The last time I turned to my father for help, I asked if he could send a lump sum so I could pay for a rental in advance and have some funds left over with which to plan my and Jack’s new life. After some grovelling and to-ing and fro-ing, he did send me some money, ostensibly for securing a rental (but which I couldn’t use for that purpose, as I had to also show ongoing affordability, and without a sizeable bank account, I couldn’t). I’m grateful for that money, for it saw us through Xmas. However, despite me asking him several times, my father still would not comment on my request for a lump sum. 

In the end, I decided that silence was an answer too. And I decided that I would no longer be a pawn in my father’s mind games. 

I decided I deserve better, I can do better, I am good enough and I don’t need anyone else’s approval to be the magnificent human being I was born to be. I refuse to continue living in fear, looking behind my shoulder, waiting for handouts, simpering and licking boots, playing mind games to satisfy someone’s sadistic streak.

So I cut ties with my own parents.

And a few days after that, I bought a book titled “The Universe Has Your Back“, by Gabrielle Bernstein. I started taking notes while reading it, then decided I wanted a journal or notebook to write my notes in. So I traipsed over to my local thriftstore to look for a journal or notebook.

And while in the thrift store perusing their used books, it so happened that one book in particular caught my eye. Quite literally so, as it appeared to leap off the shelf at me. 

That book was “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. 

And that book has spurned me onto discovering more about the Law of Attraction, Manifestation, the Power of Intention, Gratitude and basically how to channel my thoughts towards a life of Abundance rather than Poverty.

I know now that my thoughts create my reality. Thoughts really do become things! Positive thinking and focussed visualisation can really manifest Abundance and Wealth. 

Lagenlook : Floral

My fascination for all things Lagenlook (“layered look” fashion) seems never-ending. Some people say it’s a frumpy look, baggy or shapeless. I like to think the style is not for everyone, but then again what IS for everyone? To each his own. I like Lagenlook because it embraces imperfection, nothing is absolutely symmetrical or balanced, hems are askew, lengths are uneven, you can have stripes juxtaposed with florals, spots with stripes, petticoats with harem pants, coats with bloomers, etc etc. The whole idea of Lagenlook is to layer, layer and layer until you get a pleasing aesthetic. Sometimes less is more – a simple tunic cut along clean, flowing lines, in blocks of colour or even in one colour.

Or you could go all out flamboyant and show off all those bright, vivid florals. Lagenlook and florals are a dance of delicate steps – it’s very easy to get it wrong. I think florals work best when the Lagenlook piece is simple and has no frills, otherwise it gets too busy. So, either keep it simple, to a few flowers here and there, as an accent to an otherwise plain piece, or a sweet innocent all-over print, or alternatively throw all you’ve got at it.

Here are my favourites, curated from Pinterest.

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More info for those seeking to License their Art

http://blog.studiovox.com/blog/archive/2013/08/20/top-60-art-licensing-agencies-earn-more-from-your-creative-portfolio.aspx

Another treasure trove of links, this time to 60 top licensing agents.  For those of you who perhaps, like me, are wanting to get their art licensed but have been banging their head against a wall at the distinct lack of clarity and information out there.

These all appear to be US-based, I have yet to find a site that lists licensing agents in Australia and South East Asia. So, unfortunately for people like myself, I will have to reach out just that much farther, due to lack of opportunities on my own home shores. C’est la vie!

Here’s the list, if you can’t wait to click on the link above.¬†I haven’t included the hyperlinks, as you can do that yourself from the website itself, or simply Google the names.

AD Lines, European Group
American Art Images
Ansada Group
Art Impressions Media Group
Art in Motion
Artistic Design Group
Artistic Licensing
Art of Possibilities Studios
Art Works! Licensing
Art Visions
Bentley Licensing Group
Bon Artique
Buffalo Works
Courtney Davis
Coyote Red Licensing Group
CP Licensing
Creatif Licensing
Creative Connection, Inc.
Cypress Fine Art Licensing
DSW Licensing Company
Fame Farm
Gelsinger Licensing
Hadley Licensing
Heflinreps.com
Image by Design Licensing
Image Source Creative Portfolio Licensing
Intercontinental Licensing
Jewel Branding and Licensing
JMS Art Licensing, LLC
JQ Licensing
Joan Crawley Gallery, Ltd
Kids-Did-it! Designs
Licensing Liaison
Lifestyle Licensing
Lilla Rogers Studio
Linda McDonald, Inc.
Leo Licensing
London Portfolio
Looking Good Licensing
Magnet Reps
Main Line Art and Design, LLC
Meehan Design Group
MGL Licensing
MHS Licensing
Montage Licensing
Mosaic Art Licensing Agency
Next Day Art
Northern Promotions, Inc.
Painted Planet Licensing Group
Parcai Designs
Penny Lane Publishing
PM Design Group Inc.
Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing
Roarding Brook Art
Rosenthal Represents
Ruth Levison Design
Sagebrush Fine Art
Sequel Designs and Licensing
SKM Portfolio
Studio Voltaire
Suzanne Cruise Creative Services, Inc.
The Good Portfolio
TSB & Co.
Two Town Studios
Wild Apple Licensing

And while you’re at it, search the names above in YouTube because several of them (Lilla Rogers springs to mind immediately) have some pretty good videos about the subject of Art Licensing.

Google “Surtex” too, for a wealth of information…or, if you’re lucky enough, head for the expo itself this May 18-20.

SURTEX 2014

If you missed last year’s conferences, you can buy the videotapes of the sessions here: http://www.surtex.com/TheShow/2013ConferenceProgram/tabid/360/Default.aspx

Pinteresting Points

What is Pinterest? ¬†Every day, more and more people are joining Pinterest. Why? Because it’s TOTAL EYE CANDY! Furthermore, it’s fun, educational, eye-opening, mind-widening, totally absorbing, and better than any game you can get on your mobile device.

How does Pinterest work? To explain it would take too long here, besides there are dozens of books written about it already. To keep it really simple, I’ll boil it down to these elements:

1. Say you’re searching for a recipe for Macarons. So, you sign in to your Pinterest account, and type in “Macarons” in the search field. You will then be shown all Pinterest entries related to Macarons.¬†You can specify also if you want to look at Pins, Boards or People with some connection to the word “Macarons”. Pinterest subjects are stored under different Categories, so for example, if you are looking for general Craft ideas and inspiration, you might go to “DIY&Crafts”. The Categories section does not however offer a Search function.

2. Clicking on a Pin you like takes you to the source site, where the original pinner had pinned the image from. For example, if you clicked on an image of “Laduree Macarons Paris”, you may be taken to the official Laduree site, or to someone’s blog where the photo was pinned from, or to a Flickr page, advertisement page etc. Behind each image that is pinned is a back story, to put it simply.

3. If you like what you see, you can either Like it, leave a Comment, or Re-Pin it to your own board. A Board is simply your virtual pinboard, where you can pin any images you like and start a collection. (Those of you who know my obsession with collecting can by now discern a pattern emerging here!). So, pin everything related to Macarons to your “Macarons” board. My own Macarons Board is called “Macarons. Food Porn!”, as I know of no other food that is so obscenely photogenic and delectable at the same time. ¬†http://pinterest.com/alyzenm/macarons-food-porn/

4. If you, like me, have eclectic interests and obsessions, you will rapidly find yourself creating multiple Boards and pinning the relevant images to them. Your Boards and Pins, along with everyone else’s, goes into a main Wall of Pins, like live streaming. Anyone who happens to be swimming along that stream, can see your pin and Re-pin it to their own board. It’s a bit like fishing, only without the fish.

5. If you find a Pinner who has loads of interesting pins, you can simply Follow them, and thus bring their pins into your Wall. So, every time they pin up something, you see it on your Wall.

6. You can set up collaborative Boards and invite others to pin there. For example, I was invited to join the Board “Scarves and Fashion” (now changed to “A Scarf Changes Everything”) as I’m the Scarf Queen of Western Australia hehe. So, I now pin interesting images of scarves or fashion that I like, to that Board, to share with other members of that Board.¬†I have a collaborative Board with my hubby Geoff, who is the electronic musician ElectroCelt. I also have a collaborative Board with our friend Lia Shapiro, who is electronic musician ALiEn TriBE.

* * * * * * * * * *

Pinterest was officially launched on 9th August 2012, after a Beta program where you could only join if you had been invited. After 9th August 2012, anyone could join Pinterest. It is the fastest growing internet site in the world, and its membership grows exponentially. At present, although it is only technically over a year old, it is forecast to overtake Facebook in the very near future.

Pinterest is rapidly becoming the “Visual” Google. These days, when keying in a Google search, Pinterest entries are cropping up more and more. Everything that is pinned to Pinterest carries a #pinterest tag, which shows up in any search. It’s become so that when I need a recipe for something, I simply look it up on Pinterest, rather than on Google. Sometimes I do what’s known as “Pin now, read later”, where I’m effectively filing the link away for future reference.

When I say Pinterest is educational, I mean I can see it being used by people to actually learn new information. ¬†It may be a bit too much fun to be used as a tool in school (it’s so easy to get carried away surfing Pinterest!), but certainly for anyone wanting to learn more about any subject, it’s a great place to start. For example, I now know what an “Olinguito” is, I’ve learnt how my Samsung Galaxy S4’s myriad camera functions work, I’ve got a growing collection of Aboriginal Art on my Board that I would never have been able to afford to buy in real life. I pin tips and hints about Blogging, to help me improve my blog views. I pin Graphic Designs that inspire me. If I’m feeling down I know where I can find uplifting and inspirational Quotes. I saw my first “Hala” flower on Pinterest just the other day, and I know there’s no such thing as a Blue Watermelon or a Multi-coloured Owl. I’ve seen images of places I most definitely would like to visit, that I’d have never known about if I hadn’t stumbled upon them on Pinterest. ¬†And every day I learn something new from Pinterest.

To date, I have 47 Boards, and have pinned nearly 16500 Pins. That’s nothing, compared to Jane Wang, the mother of Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann. Jane Wang has over a hundred Boards, and nearly 8.5 MILLION followers.

Take a look here at my Pinterest page, and follow me if you like what you see:

http://pinterest.com/alyzenm/boards/

Pin on!

IN THE BEGINNING…

My background is in Classical Music. ¬†Back in the beyond, when I was a wee kid (ok, 24 ahem), I graduated top of my class from Kingston University in the United Kingdom, the only one to achieve a BA(Hons) Music Friggin¬†FIRST CLASS degree. ¬†Shortly afterwards, the elation got deflated when I came to realise that in the field of Music, you had to have experience to get a job, and in order to get experience, first you’d have to get a job. ¬†A Catch-22 of grandiose proportions.

My first job was as a Littlewoods sales assistant, which paid the princely sum of the price of a sandwich per hour, just enough to cover said sandwich during said lunch break, which wasn’t an hour, by the way. ¬†This was followed by an unfortunate stint as a relief Music Teacher at a local secondary school. ¬†The kids in Year 7 were just starting out, so they were full of enthusiasm. ¬†By Year 8, the interest was starting to peter out, Year 9s were the worst as that was the year the students decided whether they would be taking Music in Year 10 and 11 (GCSEs), or just dropping it as a subject. ¬†Thankfully, the position was only for 1 term, and I was relieved to hand over the reins to the incoming Music teacher.

My next job was as a Library Assistant with the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London, United Kingdom.  Oh, how I loved that job.  I was covering Maternity Leave for the Assistant Head Librarian, and I did such a good job that when the Head Librarian fell pregnant herself, she informed me that I would cover her when She went on Maternity Leave.  And that the Library would sponsor me to do a course in Music Librarianship.  Alas, that was not to be, as instead, 7 months into her pregnancy, she had a stillbirth.  And I was out of work, effectively.

A brief stint as an Admin Assistant at the Trinity College of Music, competitor to the Royal Academy of Music, followed.  This was a mundane job involving stuffing envelopes and couriering post bags from one site to another, with answering calls and taking messages on the side.  But I enjoyed it too, as it put me in touch with fellow musicians, just as it had at the Royal Academy of Music.  However, it was only a temporary job and that too petered out after a month.

I then went on to get a permanent job with Her Majesty’s Government Service…and so on and so forth…But my point is that I grew up with Music, and always thought Music would be my career path, however sadly that was not to be. ¬†And it would be years later, out of the blue, when I reconnected with my Music through meeting my husband Geoff, the amazingly talented and brilliant electronic musician, ElectroCelt.

A Fresh Start

Today I begin my new blog on WordPress.  Actually, this blog has been in existence for a few months now, only I never came to terms with how it works til now (and to be frank, I still find it a little mindboggling to navigate WordPress, but practice makes perfect, right?).

So, why am I blogging?  Well, to be sure I already have a gorgeous website up and running on http://alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow, where you will find all the links to sites where my artwork and designs can be purchased, and where my YouTube videos can be seen too. However, a blog seems an easier and more streamlined way to keep up to date and to update friends and followers.  Especially now as I have so many creative ideas going round in my head!

The timing is just right as well. ¬†Lately my workplace has become Hell on Earth, thanks to some middle managers who lack life experience but believe they own the world just because they “made it” to management level. ¬†It’s all KPIs and Customer Satisfaction, never mind that Staff morale is at an all time low, with a very high attrition rate. ¬†There is only so much BS and bullying one can take, and for me it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. The only person I have to impress is myself, after all. ¬†Give me another week or two, and I will be well shot of that place!

What will I be blogging about? ¬†As a crossover mobile photography artist, who uses both iOS and Android platforms, on my iPhone4/iPad2 and Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, I believe I’m one of the few who are privileged enough to have experienced the best of both worlds. ¬†And continue to be blessed with it. ¬†Why not share the experience, then? ¬†My creative works have evolved from an early obsession with Lomography, to various projects involving Australian wetlands (“Dalienutopia”), Flowers (“iFlower Series”), Space, dress designs(!) etc. ¬†And now most recently I am exploring Abstract Art and Graphic Design. ¬†My ultimate aim is to get my work recognised globally and to have my art and designs licensed. ¬†To do so, I know that I must push myself out more into my chosen field of work. ¬†And to do this, a Blog is perhaps the most logical way of keeping my finger in the pie, so to speak!

To start with, I shall review iOS and Android Apps that I currently use.  No one has asked me to do this, but an iOS App developer very recently invited me to answer her questions about Bokeh, as she and her team are developing new App for it.  Following on from that experience, I felt that I could and should do more for my community, so here I am today.