Sunday, October 31, 2010

One little baby faery has flown the nest!

Just a quick note to let you know that the baby girl faery wrapped up in the rose petal blanket has found a new home already!  She will be winging her way to the other side of this wide brown land, just as soon as I add the final touches.  I'd better paint some more!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Plight of the Bumble-fingered faeries and bedroom make-overs...

Oh, I couldn't resist, I will blame it on my mum, who loves puns!

 My two baby faeries are FINALLY in my Etsy shop.  Yes, I AM the Queen of Faffing About, I admit it.  I considered adding beads or glass leaves to these, but in the end I decided I liked the ribbons the best.  Which is just as well, as I have discovered one of the liabilities of being a guitar player (well, a learner at least) is that I CANNOT PICK ANYTHING UP WITH MY LEFT HAND!  Once upon a time, I had soft, sensitive finger pads that could pick up small beads, pieces of paper, needles,, I have these rock hard and completely numb finger tips that can barely FEEL a needle lying on a table, let alone pick it up!  I can't hold anything small in them and manipulate it...I spent this afternoon dropping beads and accidently snapping the tops off crystal frustrating, and how unexpected.  I didn't realise learning a new skill could compromise my old ones!

I ummed and ahhhed about what to charge for the faeries too, and settled on $40.  According to this article on Etsy, I'm not charging enough, but I don't think it's a very realistic formula.  Speaking of Etsy, there are all sorts of changes afoot and not a lot of people are happy about it.  If you haven't checked your Etsy profile lately, I suggest you go and have a look at what they've done to it and judge for yourself.
You can find these two here and here.

Now....drum roll please.  How many of you remember the Super-Bedroom-Makeover?  Well, if you don't or have joined up to read my ramblings since the last SBM post, you can always click on the 'bedroom makeover' label at the top of this post and get the whole story.  But to cut a VERY LONG story short, it is finished.  Actually, it has been for a few weeks, but as I have already admitted to being the Q of FA (now, don't be rude, I didn't mean THAT!) I've only now gotten around to posting about it. We haven't moved all the furniture back in that needs to go in, but it won't be much more anyway, and about all it needs beyond that is a nice rug on the floor.  So what do you think?  He's a clever chap isn't he, that other half of mine!
Composite picture (I do love Photoshop) from the doorway

The bedspread I bought years ago because I fell in love with it even though it didn't go with any of the colours we had at the time.

This WAS going to be Beloved's special TV chair in the lounge room...but it looks awfully nice here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Featured on FAT Tuesday...

Click here to visit Beth's blog!
The lovely Beth over at Beth's Artworx has a Featured Art Tuesday on her blog, and I am one of today's featured artists...woo hoo!  She saw my little Christmas ornaments and loved them, so they are featured along with some lovely work by several other artists.  Please pop over and check out her blog, and be sure to follow the links to the other artist's websites to see more of their work too!

Hmmm...I'd better finish those ornaments and get them into my Etsy shop quick smart!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A short scribble for today, because I'm feeling a bit like this....

And shall I erect my cathedral in you?
The architecture of my mind striving to find
a silence of sky blue enough to reach to.
All this jingle-jangle daily bump and bang
grinds my too-fragile-for-today bright towers down
and my feet cannot ascend the stairs and leave the ground behind.

© Christina Cairns 2005

I'm not sure about the last two lines but one.  There was a temptation to write "all this jingle-jangle daily bump and grind / wears my too-fragile..." so it would neatly rhyme with find, and behind.  But I think that's too neat, too cliched.  I like 'almost-rhymes' so 'bang' and 'down' it is...for the moment anyway.

Hmmm...typos often present interesting possibilities.  I just checked my preview and realised I'd written 'jungle-jangle'...I quite like that.  I shall think on it further.....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Waves" is in a new Etsy Treasury!

This little painting is getting around!  It's just been featured by WillyNillyKnitter in a treasury that is all things HAIR!  I'm loving those long red plaits!
I have been creating LISTS in a (more than likely futile) attempt to become ORGANISED!  We shall see what happens.  I did spend today cleaning and sorting out my laundry because it was ON THE LIST...but how long I'll be able to keep it up I don't know...I know myself too well, and my dreamy, disorganised, procrastinatory inner (and outer) child will pretty soon be whispering "oh, it can wait...what's a few KNOW you want to go and paint something...anything!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christmas pendants/hangers...and some slow stitching...

Christmas is coming and like many people, I love handmade decorations.  Of course, I have my fair share of plastic (ie. small people friendly) ones, but I can probably jettison a few of them now that my girls are big enough to be a little more careful when decorating the tree.  So with that in mind, I thought I'd make some that were special, OOAK, unique and customised.  A Christmas decoration that is a perfect gift all by itself.  These are the first, painted today.  An old mother winter, with her wise face and long silver tresses, and two little tiny faery babies fast asleep in their tiny cradles, rocking gently high up in the Christmas tree.  Customised with name (on front) and dates (on back) added, these two would be perfect as a gift for a new born's first Christmas.  I'm still twiddling around trying to decide on details, but thought I'd 'show and tell' to see what you thought.  I've done a very rough 'dummy' up in photoshop to show you how the lettering might go, though it would be hand-painted on the actual pieces.  As with my other hangers, these would come in a small hand-made gift bag, and I'll probably include a little certificate of authenticity or similar.  Any suggestions are welcome, including what you think would be a reasonable price...yes, I'm hand-balling that to you, my trusty followers, because it's the part I hate the most.  I am NOT the fastest artist out there, each faery baby took almost an hour to paint (and the wise winter woman took almost an hour and a half...but her face was being very troublesome!), though these are the very first and hopefully I might get faster with practice!

There is a little of this happening now...VERY slow stitching this is...I suspect it will be a long while in the making.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The wonder of the world wide web...

...that my little paintings can be seen on the other side of the world.

A week or so ago I received a lovely request from drama teacher Russ at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia USA!  He and his students are putting on a play about Theodosia Burr Alston (sounds like an interesting story...mysterious disappearances at sea!)  He asked if they could possibly use one of my paintings for their poster.  I wouldn't normally say yes, willy-nilly, to anyone using my artwork, but it's for a school theatre production, and as an ex-theatre student myself, I couldn't say no.  So, if you happen to be in Chesapeake on Thursday, Friday or Saturday this week, do drop in and tell them all to 'break a leg' from me, as it's a little far for me to go!  Here's the poster they designed, with my 'Waves' featured.  I'm looking forward to receiving a T-Shirt!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Snow White to the Woodsman'. Just another scribble...

A poem, written a year or so ago, imagining that Snow White's heart may not just have been saved by the woodsman (or huntsman)...but won by him too.  But a princess must marry a prince, must she not, no matter who holds her heart?  This is probably the longest poem I've ever written.  It is also probably not finished, but none of my poems ever are.  I need someone else to tell me when they're complete, I never know, just as I never know if they're any good.  And so the perpetual perfectionist in me cannot resist tinkering over and over.  The illustration is, of course, by the incomparable Arthur Rackham.

GO, now.
Build your woodsman’s hut
     deep in the forest of star-stealing trees
     or by the sun-wrinkled sea.
It matters not.
Make a garden filled with herbs magical
     and all manner of things good to eat.
Plump tomatoes heralding summer’s heat.
Robust carrots finding their feet
     in the moist, dark soil.
Delicate beans fingering soft green toward the sun.
Pumpkins fit for any princess to ride home.
Measure the days out in teacups filled with sunshine sipped
     leaning on your spade
     beneath the apple tree
     heavy with fruit as red as heart’s blood (how else could they be?)
And look to the path that winds through the dunes
     or bends in the tunnel of trees.

And on terror filled nights when the wind whips the waves 
     to towering creamy peaks.
Or the forest cracks and beats trunk against trunk
     to splinter the weak...
     summon a maelstrom.
Cook with sheer passion, wild abandon
     be sure to always leave your windows open.
Then, frozen and wet, seeing your light
     draw the lonely and lost travellers to your door
     nostrils filled with the promise of warmth 
     in bellies cramping and cold.
When they knock, gently lead them in
     and pass out your bowls of steaming soup 
     piled high with love and hope.

In the morning when the storm has passed
     the sky is blue and the sun is bright,
     point them to the path they lost in the night
     where it dips and bends away to the east.
Do this.
Be patient.
And one night she will come.
Stumbling on small white feet
     frozen and bloodied from the stony path.
Perhaps she lost her sealskin, stolen
     by a heartless man.
Perhaps she followed a trail of breadcrumbs 
     too far to find her way home.
Wrap her in your warmest coat and seat her by the fire.
Rub her frozen fingers between your warm and
     work-roughed hands.
Ladle all your longing into a bowl and watch her sip.
Say nothing, for nothing need be said.
Watch her as you would a wild and beautful thing you cannot own.
A white swan.
A woodland doe.

When her fingertips warm between yours
     her cheeks flush pink
     and her eyelids dip,
Carry her gently to your single bed
     wrap her warm like a child, kiss her forehead. 
And spend the night yourself in the chair by the fire.
In the dawn when her eyelids flutter wide
     bring her tea made with herbs
     sweet honey from your hives.
When she stands to leave, give her your coat.
Point to the path she lost in the night.
And let her go.

Yet watch, hope, 
     for a moment, wait.
Let her see
     you fed her from your brimming soul.
And I promise you 
     she will not reach the gate,
     but turn around,
     turn back to take your hand.
What happens next I cannot tell
     it is for you to complete the spell.
But I fancy if I passed your window some days hence
     on business I know not what,
     I might see you standing by the wooden bench
     arms around her.
Floured hands on floured hands

     kneading the new day’s bread.
And as she leans back against you
     you might bend your head
     to kiss the long white curve of her neck.

And on wild nights
     still cook with wild abandon, but
     a small meal just for two.
Close the windows fast.
Let the weary travellers pass.
You cannot feed them all.

Promise me, 
     when she comes
     you will send a letter with your news?
I will take it down to the sea,
     wash it clean with salt-sea tears.
And when the page is bleached white and dry
     I’ll write the things I should have said
     and all the things I should have done,
     cut a long lock of my raven hair
     squeeze a drop of red blood from my thumb.
And binding three colours together, sealed with a kiss
     I’ll bury it beneath an apricot tree.
That something sweet and good might grow
     from what was almost, but could never be
     between Thee and me.

© Christina Cairns 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An old scribble.....

Song of a distant whale

How far, how far will I travel?
Your long miles mean nothing to me
I am Leviathan.
I surround the earth.

The cold deep you see is in your soul.
Not these warm tides of love.
You would not choose sea over land,
You chose to leave
I chose to remain.

So jar your brains in your two-legged waltz,
little things.
I have no feet to plant upon the earth.
I live in dreams.

So swim with me, gape in awe
little things.
Remember, and envy, 
I chose to remain
You chose to leave.

Written at uni, many years ago.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A spot of trivia...

Just for fun, I found these somewhere on the web...size comparisons between Australia, and the US and Europe.  I live in Western Australia, which is basically everything left of Denver, or everything left of the Welsh border!  WA has a population of a bit over 2 million, not a lot for such a vast space, but mostly we're clustered around the bottom left hand's the greenest bit of WA.  Now you know why postage costs are such a frustration!  Hmm, I think that map of Europe is RATHER outdated too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mending memory...

A little of this happening now, inspired by Jude.  Not the usual kind of mending I suppose, patching a hole or fixing a drooping hem.  But a mending still, and not just of the cloth.  Mental mending?  I wish I could stitch the bits of myself that feel torn or worn thin back together as easily.

Another kind of patchwork memory mending.  Digital patchwork.  Fabulous in its own way, but I can't help feeling it lacks substance if you can't flip it over and see the tiny stitches holding it together, see where the joins were made, where one piece finishes and another piece starts.  A kind of false memory, masquerading as a true one.  But I suppose memory is like that anyway.  A memory years old can be undone by learning something new...a truth you thought was absolute suddenly isn't any more, something you believed in dissolves into nothing, having never existed at all, or perhaps becomes something entirely different. Nothing is fixed, even the past is mutable.  History is written in sand.

My maternal grandmother's wedding...a little Photoshop magic
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