Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blog Hop Around The World - Creativity

Goodness, I've been invited to join a Blog Hop. Huh? As usual, i am always late to the party with these techy things, which is funny because in real life I'm going to be that one person who is early and sits around the corner in the car until the appointed time before knocking on your door.

So, now you know how i roll, you know I'm going to panic with this new Blog Hop thingy I've never heard of before.  What are the rules People?  Give me the rules!

Yes, Sharon you know what I'm going to do, don't you?  I'm going to research.  Surely i cant be the only person who has never heard of a Blog Hop. Really? Oh, I am?   Doh!

The lovely Jessie from Rabid Little Hippy begged, i mean she seriously slobbered all over an email with promises on undying devotion to me, if i helped her out.  I quite enjoyed that bit.  I strung it out a little (only a little) and then finally agreed because you know there is no denying Ms Jessie.  Just ask Narf from The Road to Serendipity  - "You can’t say “no” to Ms Jessie. She is like a freight train when she gets started and sweeps everything and everyone in front of her when she is “ON”.
To which Jessie replied But when I am “OFF” just hold your nose and move away.

It is for this reason that i accepted and here we are.  If i hadn't jumped from one blog to another last year then i wouldn't know any of these wonderful characters and count them as friends.  How does a middle aged fairly new blogger in Melbourne, Australia find a "sister" in Ohio, USA? By blog hopping, of course. My little suburban life has expanded to include women and men all around the world and together we share the goods times and the bad.  We entertain each other (or i try) and we share information and provide inspiration.  It is this last point that drives this current Blog Hop (i had to get there in the end).

Blog Hops usually involve a theme and this one is about being creative.  Its not just for those superdooper creative types that shear their own alpacas, weave their own wool before knitting up their own garments (Shelby) but also those of us who don't really identify with being creative but just potter along doing stuff now and then that turn out OK enough to point the phone at it and share with others (all the while secretly thinking FIGJAM).  I place myself firmly in this last category.  It could be that you express yourself creatively in the garden, in the kitchen, at a community group, or in your own DIY projects.

Before i start, lets get the rules of this blog hop called Blog Hop Around The World out of the way.

I have to, or i will start quivering and worrying that I'm going to get it wrong or fail and and and and ....... i really don't know what i think will happen to me, i mean this is blog land, its not real. is it? 
Answer the Following Questions a week after receiving your invitation.  Narf  from The Road to Serendipity posted hers on 21st July (it is seriously good, typically Narf and a bit intimidating when you are to follow), Jessie from Rabid Little Hippy posted hers on 28th July (her cheque is in the mail and you know you can believe me because I'm an Accountant, LOL) and I've been given a deadline of 4th Aug.  Simply add a week.

Why do I create what I do?
How does my creative process work?
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
What am I presently working on?
Who inspires Me To Create? X 2

This last one is where you get to cross over to the dark side and dob in two of your blog mates to post their answers to the above.  You do a small profile and provide a link to their blog which shouldn't be too hard because you are mates, right?   Be sure to contact them and let them know you are linking them and perhaps they can provide you with a couple of photos that represent what you love about their work.

Provide a Relevant Quote

So why would you go to all this trouble?  The advantages of participating in a Blog Hop is that it brings new readers to your blog, introduces you to others and gives you the chance to promote a couple of people who really inspire you.

Here's some that I've found on this current blog hop.

Keeping Up With Mrs Smith

One Spoiled Cat


The Contented Crafter

Quarter Acre Lifestyle

The Road To Serendipity

Have i procrastinated enough for you all to fall asleep so i wont have to do any work?  Nope, OK, I shall proceed.

Why do i create what I do?    

Hmmm shouldn't the first question be WHAT do i create?   I think the first thing we have all created (us bloggers that is) is a blog.  It came out of nothing.  It didn't exist until we brought it into being and then nurtured it, fed it with posts and pictures, some even market and make money from it, but for most of us it fulfils a need.   A need for recognition (here i am, i exist), a need for a creative outlet (words were just filling up my head and i think it would have burst if i hadn't started writing), a need to connect with others and to be part of a community of like minded people (i really do believe you are my friends and so expect me to drop by for coffee any day). Blogging is like a personal journal that gets shared with others. A record of our families life, like a living photo album (if i get Dementia it will come in handy).  I guess the creative part is how we present it and the words we choose.  Mine certainly has creative grammar - its all over the place. English teachers should not bother leaving constructive criticism in the comments section.

I created my veggie garden, out of blank canvas of Kikuyu grass.  Why? I'd lived in this house for 19 years without having done so, so what was it that brought on the urge to create a garden?  Initially i was prompted by my son's psychologist to "Get A Life Lynda". Link Caring for a child with autism can be all consuming and also isolating.  When we discussed my life she observed that when i talked about growing up on a self sustainable farm with my 5 siblings and parents that i became animated.  More happy.  We talked about this and i guess a lightbulb went off.  It must have been a 3000+ Watt globe because it has sustained me all the way till now and I'm still loving my garden and looking forward to spring. I very much consider it MY garden, though i get lots of help from Hubby and son when needed.  I fund the purchases (soil, plants, beds etc) from my pocket money which gives me a sense of ownership, though i guess technically it belongs to all of us as we all eat the food it produces.

As Jessie pointed out in her post, I enjoy being creative with raw materials considered scrap or rubbish and i turn them into something that has beauty as well as a purpose in my garden.  Why? Perhaps a sense of accomplishment, pride or because i can? Perhaps sitting behind a desk for the last 33 years gives me the drive to do something with my hands not involving a keyboard.  I do enjoy that a project can often be completed in a weekend and so there is instant gratification of a job well done.  Its also nice to show my blog friends that I'm not sitting around doing nothing and to have something worth blogging about.  You are all such busy competent people its sometimes hard to hold my head up. So i create.  

How does my creative process work?

It starts with lightbulb moments.   Walking through the factory and its yard i see things that i know will be scrapped and to me it looks like something completely different.

Link - Cable Table
An old cable drum rotting in the yard becomes a table on wheels.

Link - Potting Magic
A free broken potting bench gets a breath of new life.

Link - Strawberry Pallet Garden
Pallets can take on many forms or be simply a supply of timber for something new.  I love pallet magic.

I keep looking at the metal discs that fall out of the turret punch and they look like shiny mosaic tiles to me. How can i use them before they go into the scrap bin.  A wind chime that reflects sunlight and tinkles similar to the CD's to scare off birds perhaps?  I'm seeing them with glass beads attached or each time they change the colour in the powder coating oven i could throw in a few and end up with multicoloured tiles. What do you think?

It's really important that i acknowledge that i do not do these projects alone.  Just like the saying "behind every great man is an even greater woman" (so true) well in this situation there is a Husband who provides me (the ideas person) with technical support and hard labour.  Sometimes my mental pictures need a bit of realignment because they simply don't work.  I'm definitely a round peg in a square hole kinda gal and it takes a while for me to understand the practical side of a project.  Lucky me always has a professional to ask.  I also work for Engineers and they are often drawn into my crazy schemes. We made the raised corrugated veggie beds rather than buying them (for a fraction of the cost) which came from a brief conversation at work one day and a few days later i had custom made steel corner pieces with spikes (to anchor the bed into the ground) and holes to rivet the iron into place.  Link -  Planning & Building Veggie Garden   Link - Getting On With It 

Link - The Veggie Patch is A Sea of Green
I guess another part of the process is that i draw things out. No, i don't mean that it takes me 3000 words to say something simple but we already know that's true.   I graphed every cm of the back yard on paper and placed scaled beds on it before i every dug a shovel of soil.  I was very pleased when i saw a satellite picture of my backyard to see it all in perfect alignment despite a boundary fence that is on an angle.  I usually approach hubby (sheepishly) with a drawing of what i want to make because we speak two different languages, really. Mine language is creative and his is practical and sometimes when they meet magic happens!.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Difficult one to answer without inferring criticism of others.  It certainly isn't a competition but I place a great deal of emphasis on the appearance of the finished project.  To me its not finished and I'm not satisfied until it is looking good, in my opinion.  I always finish off with paint & decorations, and focus on where it might sit in the garden and how it is balanced with everything else. I could easily grow more by plonking down pots everywhere or by digging bed straight into the ground.

Each of the beds has an ornamental feature and i refer to them as such  eg. this is the chook bed.  
I marvel at food forest type gardens but know that i wouldn't be happy in them. I couldn't keep track of where everything is and would have to map it out.  When all those freebies start to pop up in the different places i would be going nuts.   I try to use permaculture principles of zones, rotation and multi purpose plantings in a way that has structure and look goods. I use materials to hand.  Im almost out of fence paint which is probably a good thing.  I get so much pleasure just looking at my garden (after the work is done). Eg.  For years I have been unhappy with photos of my garden because of the grey unpainted wooden fence in the background.  The picture in my mind was not complete.  Well as of this month it is, they are blue/grey which is a perfect backdrop for leafy greens, bright red tomatoes and the plump fruit (to come). The yellow of the lemons contrasts perfectly with the blue.

Link - Oh Blue How I Love You
Is all this being too shallow?  I know many of my bloggy friends care more about the function and the quantity and quality of  harvest rather than the appearance of the garden but i think i have that too.  That blue fence will support the wire for my espaliered fruit trees. Those contrasting coloured raised beds are at perfect working height for when i am old and decrepit.

What am i currently working on?

My current project was finished today (just in time) and it's a Wood Store.  We went out bush to get a load of wood for our new patio fireplace and I was not happy with the wood being thrown in a corner, or left in bags in the shed or the wheelbarrow.  At work there was a large wooden crate that housed a big drive to be used on a switchboard (bound for Christchurch).

I claimed it weeks ago knowing that i would find a purpose.  The first "lightbulb" had it cut in half lengthwise creating a raised bed and the other half a frame for another bed.  It could also have become a wicking bed. During my second "lightbulb" moment it became a wood store. Necessity is the mother of invention they say. It will house the kindling and logs in a dry area, a shelf for the items used for igniting it, my new poker and ash shovel, and not forgetting a fire extinguisher (in case it all goes horribly wrong).

Ta Da!!!!   After i have waved my/our magic wand!

I'm going to write a post immediately after this one so click here to see how it all came together.  Note that it matches the potting bench exactly for height and finish.  I'm SO anal.

Who inspires me to Create?

Gosh i could list so many of you.  Everyone of you inspires me in some way.  Even if its just to lift my head and get on with the day, you have all given me so much.  I don't have time to profile all of you so i have chosen two I admire that regularly leave comments (which proves they are reading all the way to the finish) which i greatly appreciate.

Nanna Chel from Going Grey and Slightly Green   Don't you just love the name of her post.

Chel lives in South East Queensland and delights in creating simple gifts from materials to hand and luscious meals and preserves from her garden produce.  Since this post is about creativity I'm going to show you a couple of her simple ideas for gifts.  Would you believe she is already thinking of Christmas Gifts.

Stamped Spoon Plant Markers   Both silver and stainless steel spoons can often be found at Op Shops for only a small price.

Birds Nest Necklace  I would love her bead collection she has unearthed from a forgotten hobby.

Since Chel will be posting herself, I'm sure she can inspire you with her other crafts and gift ideas.   I also love the effort she puts into the design of her blog.  Soft muted colours, wise words and framed photos.  She is obviously a little more techy than me.

My second inspirational blogger is Fiona from Life at Arbordale Farm , also from Queensland.  I get lots of good advice on saving money and frugal living from Fiona.  She is very creative cook and just browsing through the posts in her Cooking Label is like a journey through the best cookbook.

Fiona hand makes her own cards.  Could there be anything more special than receiving a card that is as much of a gift as the gift itself.   Link Christmas Cards

Pretty cool, aren't they?  I must have a latent desire to do scrap booking or card making as I'm drawn to this artwork.

Once again, I'm leaving Fiona to provide details of her own creativity.

I encourage all of you to pop over the the two blogs above and don't forget to leave a comment that Lynda sent you.

Now, only one task left to fulfil all my obligations under this Blog Hop.

Provide A Quote

This is not so much as a quote as a personal mantra.  Its what enables me to achieve some great things, not only for myself and at work but for friends as well.  I've been told i have more front than Myer and David Jones put together but here tis...

"If you don't ask, you don't get!"

I've enjoyed being part of this creative group.  Make sure you check out some of the others I've mentioned and keep the Hop going.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Lynda, ummmmmm can I opt can I follow an act like that????? LOL! What a fabulous post and you are unbelievably talented and creative. I have garden envy. What lovely photos!

    1. You'll be fine, i was so intimidated by Jessie and Narf. Garden is still a work in progress. Cant wait for spring.

  2. The thing I love most about your gardens is their aesthetics, something mine lacks entirely! With 3 kids though I have to focus on what needs to be done for functionality and that means pretties needs to await a bit more spare time. ;)
    The blue makes your garden so punchy! The various colours of your various produces in summer is going to look spectacular!

    When can I come down for that coffee and to vacolarise your kitchen? ;)

  3. Congrats Lynda! Great post - I love that firewood box. You are lucky to have so much raw material available to you - and the imagination to make it into something. Like RLH above, my gardens don't have much 'decoration' in them, but hoping to remedy that. Also very much looking forward to what Chel and Fiona put up next!

  4. What a awesome post. This woman can write. I think I need some of your creativity


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