Well today marks the anniversary of my birth. I've moved from the 25-30 age gap into the 30-35 range officially and am hoping that 31 is all it's cracked up to be! However, I actually feel like I'm quite the old lady. Fraser tells me that birthday shopping for me is like shopping for a little old lady - or a 7 year old. I think this picture sums that combo up quite well:
Last night before dinner I was crayon drawing with my niece Jean. I asked her what her favourite animal is so I could draw it for her and what was her response? A fairy. First time I've ever heard that before...so what's your favourite animal?
It's time for more book reviews and today I'm bringing you a beautiful and inspiring new book called "Start Where You Are - a journal for self-exploration" by Meera Lee Patel. (Available now on amazon (link) and worldwide at awesome book stores). I'm totally swooning over Meera's watercolours and the cover of the book is no exception:
This interactive book features all sorts of amazing full-colour inspiring quotes and sayings that on their own would be fun pinned up or framed in my craft room! I apparently need to explore watercolours more often because these washes and lettering are just perfectly imperfect:
To be honest, the first thing I did when I got the book was flip through and read the left hand page quotes and drawings - but after that initial excitement was finished I read the right hand pages and started to work on the journal part of the book. Although I am certainly not a novice to self-help type media, I am super impressed how much this book made me reflect on my life in a different way. It encourages creativity and lets you explore what matters most to you. Yep - sounds a little cheese balls...but I am all over stuff like that. Here are a few example pages:
Pretty cool hey? As with most journaling experiences the book got quite personal pretty quickly so I was feeling a bit hesitant plastering my inner thoughts on the internet - but I got over that pretty quickly. If you're appalled at my thoughts then perhaps you should reconsider reading this? Here are a few pages I found particularly powerful:
My verdict on the book? It made me feel inspired to become a better person, more creative, and ready to conquer any challenges life faces me with. Seriously though - it was that good.
So what do you think? Do you ever dive into self-help journaling? Has it changed the way you look at things? And while we're at it - what advice would you give yourself as a child?
Isn't he adorable? Just the right amount of usefulness and quirk to fit in perfectly in my house! Plus if you add some pipe cleaner/pom pom antennae he would be surprisingly reminiscent of the yip yip aliens from 1970s Sesame Street:
If you don't currently have the "yip-yip-yip" song in your head right now, you've been missing out on some seriously memorable muppets! I guess you'd need to add a few tentacles to get the full yip-yip effect - but if you're just digging the monster part you can also make this smaller, one-eyed version:
Isn't he darling? I feel like they would come in super handy too! Some uses that immediately come to mind for my home:
1. put it on the back of the bathroom door to hold the hair clips I always seem to lose in drawers (especially helpful since I usually go grabbing for them when I'm washing my face and can't see a single thing without my glasses on)
2. hang him by the front door or hallway closet to hold spare keys (or a dog leash if you're a pet owner)
3. put it up inside of a kitchen cupboard to stow away the kazillion grocery bags I plan to reuse (but usually just hoard)
4. let me keep your favourite few scarves in easy reach in your closet
5. who actually cares what he is used for - he's adorable. You could find a use....believe me...
Have I sold you yet? (It's a pretty awesome deal for a mere $2.99 on Ravelry (link)) Do you at least fondly remember the yip yips? Any thoughts?
I'm not one to ever pass up a good book review opportunity- so for today, let me present two wonderfully whimsical books I got the pleasure of checking out for Skyhorse Publishing on the subject of fairy gardening:
Ok, so that first statement I made isn't entirely true. I get lots of emails from publishers asking me if I am interested in reviewing their books and I only actually agree when they are on subjects I'm interested in - and since I enjoy gardening (even if I'm not so great at it) and cute mythical little creatures (such as fairies) I figured these books were right up my alley. The first book we will be looking at is "Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden" by Julie Bawdin-Davis and Beverly Turner. As the cover hints, this book is full of inspiring creative little magical gardens with loads of pictures and ideas for making your own.
Julie and Beverly outline the seven simple steps to make your own miniature garden and give loads of tips and tricks for creating focus, movement, and interest in your creation. I really like how they give you the basis of what to look for when getting supplies but still leaves plenty of space to personalize your garden and tailor it to your taste. I also really enjoyed all of the big bright pictures in the book that really let you focus on the details and whimsy of each idea. Just look how cute this little guy is with a puppy:
Beyond the magical creative parts of this type of gardening, it also gives you some solid gardening tips perfect for miniature gardening including how to proliferate tiny succulents:
and a full detailed list of what types of plants work well in miniature form:
I found the plants list particularly helpful since I often try to plant things in pots that really shouldn't be grown in pots which leads to their eventual death... It also left me aching to grow my own dwarf bonsai tree!
Once you add all of the elements up you can end up with your own mini garden perfect for some charming inhabitants like this Alice In Wonderland themed pot (my personal favourite):
Next up for review is "Fairy Gardening 101: How to Design, Plant, Grow, and Create over 25 Miniature Gardens" by Fiona McDonald. Once again the purple glittery lettering drew me in and the images on this book really demonstrate the step by step process of making these gardens.
This publication was excellent at outlining which types of containers and plants work best for miniature gardening and shows the steps to create many different types of gardens. I like how this book gives you specific sample gardens to make and really spells out the process. Of course you can always add in your own creative touches, but it is a great starting point for a novice gardener. I also really enjoyed the variety of fairy eden's you could make including this standard fairy garden,:
this lovely mexican themed cacti pot,:
and (my personal gardening weakness) a terrarium!:
Fiona also shows you how to create both indoor and outdoor gardens that totally appealed to my inner child (and I imagine my fairy-loving niece would be all over)! This book also had instructions to make your own fairies and fairy accessories. After searching for my own ceramic magical friends to put in my own miniature gardens I realized that they really aren't the easiest things to find - so making your own is an awesome option.
In comparison - both books did a marvellous job of opening me up to the world of fairy gardening and each had their own way to helping you create your masterpiece. The first book offered loads of inspiring images and information even an experienced gardener could put to use while the second showed very clear step-by-step instructions (with pictures) on making specific types of gardens. I personally feel that Fairy Gardening 101 would be the best choice if you were planning on making a garden with a young child (or perhaps someone who needs a little more direction with their creativity), while the first Fairy Gardening book lets you take it a step beyond and allows you to focus in on the elements to make one heck of a lovely piece! As always, this is just my opinion - so your best bet is to buy the books and decide for yourself!
So what was my take home message after reading these books? I clearly need loads of creatures in my plant pots at home! With market season in full swing I haven't found time to make up lots of fairy items (which I'm thinking would be awesome to make our of polymer clay), but I did land this darling little brass deer who seems right at home with some of my succulents:
Ok. I've got a ways to go before I've mastered this art - but as soon as I find some extra time I will be sure to update you on my miniature magical gardens!
So how about you? Did you always try to make little fairy havens when you were a kid like I did? If so - it's probably time to revisit that magic and get crafting! Happy gardening everyone!