Tuesday 31 December 2013

Wrapping Up The Year!

Well here we are...the very last day of 2013!

Where does time go? I say that EVERY year but still it seems like only yesterday that it was the last day of 2012. Do you make resolutions when it comes to 1st January? I admit that I don't... I try to achieve something every day - even if it's a tiny little thing. Less pressure and a helluva lot more success and happiness to be had that way. I'm not sure that major goals are the key to achieving ANYthing...especially when you consider that life changes so dramatically at the drop of the proverbial hat - how can anyone plan that far ahead? Here are my daily goals:

* Don't be so hard on myself.
* Consider someone else before myself.
* Learn something new.
* Remember to smile. 
* Listen to music, make art, or enjoy a beautiful view - if you can do all three, so much the better.
* Achieve something - even if it's just washing the dishes when I really can't be bothered!

I find that small things and little successes are what get me through, even when things are tough, and they build up and make me feel stronger and more confident so that when life throws a curve-ball, I'm set up to deal with it.

I do have a really big decision this year - personally, that is. I have to decide whether to pursue art as a full-time career. It would mean focussing all my time on being an artist, which is a bit scary.... It's a lot easier to make the jump if there's money to fund it, but the prospect of losing everything is a worry; I think it's important to make the decision though - if I don't give 100%, how can I expect to know whether anything will work out? Same with any job I guess!  I'll think about it all this week and hopefully the inspiration fairy will guide me as to which way to jump! Wish me luck!

The prompt for this decision comes after an art-intensive month painting and making stuff for Christmas - I am OH so sure you know what I mean! As promised, in this post I'll be showing you my hand-painted wrapping paper.  I know... I mean, there're SO many gorgeous designs released by gift companies EVERY year - and they're all pretty darned cheap, if I'm honest, but I REALLY like making my own gift wrap. I don't know why! It adds a LOT of work to an already busy schedule, but when it's done it makes the gift completely original-looking and that makes me happy...so I guess it's worthwhile!   I used to decorate paper with stamped images... then I drew patterns like snowflakes, or holly leaves and stuff... then I went a bit mental and, well, I ended up with these:

These are painted - with very little planning, I'm afraid, onto the heavy duty kraft paper that I use for my mail order sales. Once they're dry I give them a quick 'foof' with laquer spray then crumple the heck outta the paper.  When it's flattened out again it leaves all the scrumptious peakes and wrinkles that I highlight with golden gilding wax. It FEELS like a kind of heavy duty fabric which is weird but also awesome! I paint the designs to fit the parcel so that when it's done I can get most of the picture showing on the front, with space for decoration.

You can see the crumples a bit better on this one - the first two were photographed hastily as they were scheduled to be wrapped around pressies and sent THAT DAY to my wonderful friend down in London - before his Christmas work rush started again! I've also made HEAVY use of the Winsor and Newton gold ink this Christmas - it dries a LOT like gold leaf and has a really classy shimmer to it.

The plain kraft paper colour is FINE once the parcel's wrapped - it looks kinda rustic, and ya knows I'm all abouts the vintage, baby! I do like things looking rumpled and loved.

I also opted to use the theme of 'Christmas baubles' throughout my art and my wrapping this year and decided that I wanted to make pom-pom baubles to adorn the pressie boxes. I was OB-SESSED with pom-pom making as a kid - must have driven everyone mad! I still had immense fun making some HUGE pom-pom decorations and as a bonus, I got a mahoosive bag of off-cuts (from trimming them to even them out) which will make THE most excellent toy stuffing - lookee:

Foofy! Once the pom-poms were all done I added some stickles for sparkle-ness (now a word, thank you) and tied some pretty enamel jingly bells into them - they looked so pretty! And I KNOW my mum - she'll never ever put a present decoration away...OH no! They're all hanging round her house - so these had to be pretty enough for that.  See - proof that she hangs stuff everywhere...:

...Not that I'm any better - I do exactly the same thing...

They're there for the year now. Yup.  Apart from anything else, I feel that Han Solo is FAR happier when surrounded by pretty festive things. *sigh*.... no life.....

Back to the paper - here are a few more piccies I took to show you - hope you like them!

I think my love of colour and texture takes over. I managed to incorporate everything I'd wanted to - the rustic kraft paper combined with bright festive colours, tartan patterns and bows, pom-poms, foxes (very awesome are foxes) and, of course, Santa and his elf helpers!! I made that Santa bag from the kraft paper with gusseted sides and a piece of card in the base to strengthen it - it was mum's Christmas 'stocking'! I think they all came out ok....

The holly patterned bag with sticks poking out is a bunch of chocolate-coated marshmallows - ideal for hot chocolate and REALLY easy to make. It's a very affordable Christmas gift for friends and neighbours and looks really quite lovely when you add a little pretty ribbon and a gift tag. 

Ok - that's my latest festive arty instalment and some thoughts on new year. I'm off now to open a lovely bottle of red wine and attempt NOT to fall asleep before midnight. I'll be off in the Land of Nod by 10pm..... I know it!

I'd like to send you all the very best of all lovely sparkly wishes for a WONDERFUL journey into 2014 - may the year bring all of us happiness, success and peace. And some cash. And possibly a flying pony. You know - the basics! Love and hugs to all! - Shroo :) xxx



  1. Happy Happy New Year! It sounds like you have an important and wonderful decision to make. I would encourage you to follow your heart and your head, but that's the whole problem isn't it? How does one take the plunge into embracing one's passion for art full time and hoping that there is enough marketability to pay the bills? I know that you'll make the right decision for yourself at this time in your life. Whichever road you choose, your beautiful soul will grow and you'll continue to dazzle us with your art.

  2. OMG! BEST Christmas wrapping I have ever, EVER seen. Your lucky, lucky recipients it must have been like getting a present wrapped within a present.

    Have so loved discovering you this year though my shopping list gets longer with each visit (noting down that Winsor and Newton gold ink! Found the Chestnut spray in my local Axminster tools! *g*) It's been an honour 'meeting' you and I truly hope that your (very exciting and scary) decision is easy for you. It's easy for me to say DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! because I love your art but you have to weigh up your bills and costs and you know how much work you'll need to do etc. It's a goal of mine. One day. One day. But I am still on a steep learning curve, my goal this year is purely and simply to start selling and stop being so scared to even try. My word for the year is organisation. If I can organise my time, space (limit my internet use) in theory I should have more time to art! We'll see.

    Happy New Year Rachael - hope it brings ALL you hope for :) x

    1. Awwww! Thank you! That's lovely! I do apologise for your growing shopping list....I can't promise to stop pimping things! In fact I'm gonna do a 'top 10 products' post at some point - just as spon as I narrow my favourites down to JUST 10!!
      .....Bills and costs.... .euch..... If only I could win the lottery or rob a bank! That would make my decisions a HELL of a lot easier... Seems like every month I get ready to take the plunge - then the rent's due! Dammit. I'm running out of internal organs to sell on the black market! I'll have to start harvesting!

      As for YOUR work - it's AWESOME! That zombie face you did is one of my favourite things ever! That would SO sell on Etsy! Have you seen how popular 'Day Of The Dead' stuff is - especially right now? Your stuff's lovely - and Etsy's not as scary as it looks...I was petrified of the damn thing, but it's a walk in the park by comparison to ebay (evil evil evil) and it costs WAY less. If there's ANYTHING I can do to help just let me know ok? You can email me direct if ya need to at artyshroo@gmail.com.

      Hope you and your family are having a superb new year! Look forward to seeing your new arty wonderful pieces up on your blog. Hugs from Shroo:)xxx

  3. p.s If my Craig wasn't such a Monica I would leave my Christmas stars up all year too. I'm not really one for putting decorations up but I do love my stars that usually hang on the tree - we had to get an itty bitty tree this year and put it up high because of Wreck-it Ralph so Craig strung all my stars in all the doorways and I love it :)

    1. HA! My MOTHER'S the Monica in my family! I can't possibly be like that - I get paint and glue EVERYwhere! To the point that mum bought me a new jumper for Christmas and the first thing out of her mouth was "Don't you DARE get paint on it!" So funny!

      Hope you get to keep your stars up - hugs from Moi xxx

  4. Your Christmas wrappings and decorations are fantastic! Have a great 2014. You were spotlighted on TIOT last week, did you see? Hugs, Valerie