Thank you for taking time to visit, and I hope I am even a tiny bit helpful as I have been helped and blessed by so many others. I have been doing Calligraphy since teens, and card making for many years as well. In 1990 I delighted in the joys of stamping with ink and embossing after a trip to Cairns, Qld. In 2009 I discovered the brayer, 2010 the Cuttlebug, also have now taking to reading up on crafting blogs and lo! Here I am, on one of my own.

I live on the coast of eastern Australia. I am a Christian. I trusted in the LORD down here at the beach, amazingly it is not far from where I now live. It was over 50 years ago, after a Beach Mission Service at the age of 12 years

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Green Blend Award!

Well had a quick note today from a wonderful blogging friend over in Vancouver Island, Sheree at Vancouver Island Craft Junkie. Sheree makes the most amazing cards with a favourite of mine - yup! Stampscapes - here is one of her beauties...
SHEREE'S stunning work - check out her card and blog HERE.
Sheree had chosen this little old blog for a blog award.  Thanks so much Sheree, for thinking of me!  here are the criteria below. I have to choose some wonderful blogging friends too!

Here are the terms under which this 'Green Blend Award" are to be given.

1. This award is for any co-blogging friend who has helped your blog in any and all ways.

2. This award is for any co-blogging friend who has cheered you along in your blog building, craft advancing career.

3. This award is for any co-blogging friend who always stops by and is kind to you. you can count on them to always be one of the great comments at the end of your posts.
 4. This award is to be given to 3 to 5 Blends whom you feel meet the listed requirements.
5. Create a post with the terms of use and publish your Blends of Choice.

6. Blend of choice may copy the award from your blog and proudly post it on theirs.

7. Blend of choice may continue the kindness by issuing this award to keep the circle forever growing.

Ah so many to thanks, Sherree, now is the hard bit! to choose! so here goes! (deep breath) not in any particular order:
1. Eileen of Eileen's Crafting Zone - Eileen was my very first Encourager and she has always been such a blessing in her inspiration and help.
2. Ikki of Ikki's Cuttlebug Corner- Ikki's was the very first blog I found and really it was because of Ikki and her wonderful blog I started blogging!

3. Maggie of Silvercrafter Blog - Maggie found me via Eileen's blog. She was my forth wonderful Encourager - she can always  be depended on for words of cheer to keep your pecker up, as well as great cards too!
4. Joyce of Crafty Quills - Joyce found me (by Googling calligraphy, I think?) and we have become firm friends. Her blog also has calligraphy and cards - so do take a peek and be inspired!
5. Sarah of Beautiful Pictures. Sarah has a few blogs and have known her for quite a while - here is her latest - her comments and visits always bring lasting pleasure.
Congratulations to each of you and most of all a huge blog hug and many many thanks! please take a visit everyone and discover them for yourself, you will be blessed!
Thanks so much for stopping by for a peek and a chat and may God bless your day wherever you may be ,
Shaz in Oz.x 
PS Stunning weather here, I thought you might like a look! the flower is a succulent we call Pig-face and they grow at the beach..has been great swimming weather and seem to go every second or third day so blessed here.. believe you me, I am very grateful. 
I may be AWOL a bit - still doing catch up, sorry! so probably not doing WOYWW this week - sorry too for all those to whom I have not returned comments, I am really a very bad blogger!

Thursday 23 February 2012

Step by Step - Illuminated Calligraphy of Psalm 27

As the time goes, so the work grows...
Be warned today's wordy post has 8 stages + 15 photos.

The aim of this post is to give a full step by step of how the illuminated texts are done, as I found recently there was not a single post which contained all details. I learnt how to do these from a simple book which I was given by a friend in 1980. It is now out of print needless to say, but if you are extra clever you may track it down.The frontispiece and full details are on this earlier post here.
 If pictures are not large enough please click to enlarge.
This work was a commission for a friend's son. The verse chosen was Psalm 27:1 and 3a. Not all of verse one was necessary as it had to be large enough to be read easily ie not small print.
This is the passage:
Psalm.27:1 , 3a
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
 the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:

As you will see as the layout proceeds I fiddle around with this layout, and which words are put in and which are omitted.
Stage 1: scribbled notes on paper fiddling (and praying with each stage) to work out the important words, where the emphasis is required. 
Here I am scribbling with my Bible open at the same time, as context is very important in a verse placement and emphasis.

Stage 2:
Copy and paste from online KJV the text into a Word doc, (know it is word perfect then). Work some more online to work out where things might be best placed. You see quite a change from here and layout in next stages. However it was just as well I had a printed word-for-word copy of this as a critic (yep, have them and they are very handy) pointed out that from this stage to the next I had left a word out ("should" in 2nd last line), so that was easily amended at that stage...(phew! thanks, Lord)
Stage 3:
Now go onto rough paper of real sized text so get clear idea of size relevance of words.
Here the layout at the top section completely changes in this step as you see. In this third and fourth  pictures below it has changed on the tracing paper again, in small way (will let you work out how? :D). Used a calligraphy texta to do the Gothic text and used different sized pens. I did cut and past pieces on the rough sheet above - ie bits not suitable were cut out and others added.

Stage 4: Transfer to the tracing paper after the layout is sorted on stage 3. Primarily, this is because the decoration can take some fiddling, and then the good paper would be messed with drawing, erasing, etc. I have to constantly change lettering etc. I redid one part of the top decoration four times, plus three of the lines were out by 1-3mm.
Secondly if someone asks me to do it again as another order, I have it to this stage already to lift out of my file. Saves a lot of time and it is not unusual to be asked again as have a portfolio, and give a discount for ones done before, because of the huge amount of time and effort saved.
Stage 5: Once it is on the tracing paper it is transferred to the actual sheet of paper- I always use very good paper for many reasons. You will see later it has to be very forgiving as it is asked to take a lot! The 100% rag sheet was over $10AUD for the single sheet, which shocks some folks.
As you see by these photos the setsquares are put it good use as must make sure all the angles are accurate and these are pencilled in lightly and left there until the inking in stage. Even doing this I find I have mistakes which drive me batty. I hate those bits whenever I look at the piece of work - but it is handmade and so not perfect.

Stage 6:                                     Here we have work transferred then inked in and so all the really hard work as far as I am concerned in many ways is done at this stage. I think the biggest struggle in a work is getting the layout even and correct! The execution though still has its pains and stress as you see by the smudge below.

 I have explained in another post (see here) about these most amazing Pentel Hyper Erasers - so see if you can buy yourself one.This is when you are very grateful God answers your cries for help and uses the extra good paper and the Hyperaser to do the trick!
I copy each text about 5 to 6 times depending on method. First onto tracing paper, then trace onto sheet. Next it is pencilled in and then inked in… I am careful not to rush this step although it is tempting! Then paint (or colour if the other style with Caran D’Ache pencils) and re-ink again…
Stage 7:
Laying down the colours - the colours are laid on and blended. A palette is used (see here for my desk as I work) of card with gouache and blend light to dark as shown. I start at either end of a single letter and work up or down. Gouache blends beautifully! 

These are the colours from the Old Testament Tabernacle - and were requested by the person. I often use them. The colours are: 
Blue - speaks of the Holy Spirit, Who if we allow Him works so mightily in our lives.
Crimson (scarlet) - speaks of the Son of God, the LORD Jesus Christ,  Whose blood was shed to purchase salvation for all believing in His salvation work by faith.
Purple - Speaks of the Heavenly Father and the holiness of God - our Father Who constantly watches over those who are His children.
Gold - speaks of the Deity of God - so here the Trinity of the Lord God is pictured in the colours laid down by God to Moses over 4000BC (see Exodus 28, etc), well before the Trinity was clearly revealed in the New Testament.

Stage 8: The gold leaf section is built up. The gold is done with a glue size, and layers (sometimes up to ten) are built up. Gold leaf is added right at the end when it is at the right level. I use transfer gold leaf in 23 carat and this very easy to use and is my favourite!
This above is the final layering of the gold leaf glue size ( which is a mixture of PVA glue, water and tiny bit of gouache). This stage is very different if doing flat gold leaf and then I use a commercial gilding size as done here on this post.

Adding the gold leaf transfer - it is rubbed on over the transfer paper, gently using finger on the back of the sheet to make sure you cover all the surface. Sometimes when humidity is very low, it dries the size too hard to let it adhere. It is moistened by blowing on it - some folks use a special tube to blow through but I dont bother, rather like the burnishing tool. I have very soft brush with which I buff it -  you dont need anything else for this particular type of of gold leaf. I paid heaps for a burnisher which is never used.
I meant to explain about the small flower when doing layout. It is magnified here with my clip on magnifier (bought at Aldi's, which I use all the time these days) - this flower is to indicate a part of the verse has been left out ie to indicate a minor break in the passage.
Stage 8: Final stage - Re-inking and touching up
Hurray!! do I love this bit.

I was asked to put a close up of "The Lord". For those who asked, yes, this is my original design- I redid the bit next to the "The" about three or four times.
Balance is very important.
 I would never expend the fifty plus hours on anything but the Word of God - it is far too draining, and as some know I was sick half way through doing this piece.
However for God's precious Word every bit is worth it and to God be all the glory alone - it is His handiwork. I am merely the servant.
If you have lasted the full post I congratulate you, and thank you. This post so long and detailed has been a battle too! to get blogger to do it!

May God bless your day wherever you may be.
May this precious Word bless your heart in all its beauty and treasure. His precious Word is the place where we  find comfort and help in time of need, and much more indeed!
Shaz in Oz.x
PS Forgot to link over to this new blog hop I have found - called Scripture Thursday at Little Birdie Blessings see it here and do join in too!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Psalm 27:1, 3a Illuminated - Finished at last. WOYWW!

Well how it seems a huge relief when a never ending task is finally completed - some of you may remember the beginnings way back here and now at long last and over fifity hours later of hard work (and  frustrating at times)I can show you:
Psalm.27:1 , 3a
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
 the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:
 Unfortunately my photo cuts out the top and bottom but this was the most accurate one colour wise which I have had time to take - so sorry about that! 
Tomorrow, God willing, I will give a more fulsome and very detailed steps of how this was accomplished. As I found recently when I was trying to explain to someone who was wanting to do one I did not have it all on one post so tomorrow I hope to do it from woe to go! 

So take a peek then if you want - will link it over for a new blog hop I have found too - no more time here, must fly - but do rush over to the best exploring and learning blog hop around at Julia's  - the Queen of WOYWW for What Is On Your Workdesk Wednesday!

Happy WOYWW everyone and may God bless your day wherever you may be,
Shaz in oz.x

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Stampscapes - oh what fun and WOYWW!

For those of you who have been wondering where I am? Have been and am very busy and was unwell as previous post explains (for Blog candy result see here). And those who want to see the progress of the calligraphy it is coming have taken lots of pickies but dont have time to blog them - this is a token appearance for WOYWW.
What is WOYWW you ask (where have you been hiding?) – this is the day of the week when folks from all over the world take a peek at wonderful worldwide desk to see just what we are up to – so do hop over to our wonderful hostess’ blog, at Julia's Stamping Ground!

And so here is my desk or a tiny peek of it - have cropped it, as I will show the calligraphy in sequence later - here is an exciting parcel of Stampscapes goodies WOW! thank you, Kevin, for great service plus! If you want to know how I love them see these various posts here and this link here is STAMPSCAPES site, it is a real joy of exploration here.

I have not had many orders to US, only three of them now over several years, first one was for three stamps, second was lots for others some for self. This one was for me - a pressie, which might have something to do with getting older!.
I always buy unmounted because of the post cost but this time Kevin Nakagawa (click here for sample of his work) excelled himself - he is so incredibly helpful if you need any extra help. As a bonus he sends these amazing learning cards from which you can learn.
I have a double of up of a couple of these cards and if any one would like to have them please leave the word Stampscapes at the end your comment and I will make a draw for them :D.
Oh and last pickie for the day is my Eucharist lily which is in flower in our courtyard - isn't it beautiful - love it myself and has lovely soft fragrance. it lives in our fern house and really like the environment but comes up here when it flowers several times a year. I just wish the photo showed how delicate the flower is...

I may not get around to many of you very dear folk, I am very VERY sorry for that...but really appreciate your visits and kind words more than I can ever say.

Happy WOYWW everyone and may God bless your day wherever you may be!
Shaz in Oz. x

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Candy Draw - Thanks So Much to all my Wonderful Encouragers!

Hi there everyone - and I suppose I should say happy Valentines' day!
Well the observant among you will have noticed an absence of posting here and that was in part because I was unwell (had another tooth infection, same one as last month the one with root canal tooth -  I am over it now thankfully, and pray it stays that way, or will lose the tooth ) and also very busy. 
As my work on my text is rather draining, I simply dont have time or energy to blog as well. The reason it is draining is that it is very very very slow work. - but that is often the way things are. I could ramble on but wont anymore as that is not why you are here.

You want to know who WON THE CANDY???? LOUD drum-roll please!! ta dah!

It was another hat draw with my Candy Elf as helper and a few others (My Breast Cancer bears) who popped onto the hat to supervise - they do like to help! let me give you a pictorial sequence:

Two other names were drawn out of the hat by kind CE, so would Sarah also email me with addresses, and 505Whimsygirl, please?  no more candy but will send something as a thank you (pity could not send it to all of you)!

 Jocelyn was one of my very early encouragers of the this blog - so please do hop over to her blog - you will be amazed at her wonderful work - she happens to be one of the few from Oz who are wonderful encouragers as to is Sarah - amazing that their names came out!

Well, off to do some more work folks - you will get a post with sequence of the work on calligraphy, but not yet - when I finally surface and can sort out such things may be able to give a brief WOYWW post tomorrow or may not time will tell sorry!
Thanks again everyone for your your wonderful support and God bless you all where ever you may be 
Love Shaz in Oz.x
PS also a big welcome to all the new wonderful encouragers who have so kindly joined recently - you are so appreciated!

Friday 3 February 2012

A Big Thank You to Janet at Fairy Thoughts Blog

Well, found I had a very lovely surprise this week - a very kind award from Janet at Fairy Thoughts!

Thank you Janet - I really appreciate it. :D
"Liebster is a German word, meaning dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favorite."
The Liebster Blog Award is used to show appreciation of smaller blogs (under 200 followers) and to help spread readership and joy!  As part of the tradition, This award is passed along to five other blogs that have motivated and inspired me in such great ways!
To accept the award:
1. Link back to the person's blog who gave it to you and thank them :)
2. Post the award to your blog
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers (less than 200 followers) that you appreciate and value
4. Leave a comment on the five blogs you chose to let them know.

So these are not in any particular order of appreciation:
1.Crafty Chris - a newbie so do take a peek - you will be glad you did! Thanks Chris, for recently becoming a Wonderful Encourager on my blog!
2.Victoria of Furry Tale Cards and Craft - wow I love her cards - do take a peek another one to check up on!
3. Bridget Larsen of Fruit Salad blog - another Aussie, so a great addition to this team! see here on this post she sent me a beautiful card! Thank you, Bridget!
4.Anja of StampingAnja - ah her cards are really beautiful, and do enjoy the peacefulness of a visit to her blog..
5. TangoLikeRaindrop blog- and if you love craft and food here is a really great blog to visit! thanks for encouraging me, little Raindrop (you will love her sea view too, might need to scroll down past the lemon meringue, etc.!).

I would encourage all to stop by and comment on these five blogs - you will be so glad you did!
Thanks for stopping by!   And thanks again, Janet, for thinking of me.
And although I could not choose more than five you have have all helped me more than words can say!

Oh, and thought would show you all is sunny here again :D yippee! sun with occasional showers we can handle that!

A very special thanks so much for popping by and for your wonderfully kind and caring comments over the last few days!
God's richest blessing on each of you,
Shaz in Oz.x

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Step by Step Calligraphy - Illuminated Text and WOYWW 139!

(Anyone who has not joined in this Blog's candy, please click on the candy side bar )

Well, it is wet, wild and woolly here again today, we have had 135mm (over 5 1/2ins) in about 4 and half hours and we are on flood watch again. Praying it may ease, and does seem to be doing so.

For bloggers who have been concerned, I am thankfully not in a flood area but am praying for those who are - one of my good friends is, and was flooded badly last year. It is tidal here as well and thankfully the high tides are not big this week, they were last week. We came off okay last week, for which I was thankful to the Lord. It was flooded north, south and west of here and the highway and major roads were closed for few days on coast and some were inland. 
A land of contrasts is our Australia - as Dorothea Mackellar said in My Country : 
"I love a sunburnt country a land... of droughts and flooding rains, 
I love her wide horizons, I love her jewel sea..."
Now to the purpose of this post, WOYWW, or for those who are unaware (are there any?) What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday hosted by the brilliant Julia, find her at her Stamping Ground for our worldwide blog hop – HERE!  
As you can see I am still in a mess – but very different variety. I am in the middle of doing some calligraphy. My desk this week will give you a few progressive shots.
You will see the layout changes quite a bit from the first to the next ones.

  Picture one is the beginning where I “fiddle-faddle” around; praying as I go, God's Word is living Word and need to be considered carefully and prayed over, that the true meaning shines through.
So here I am trying to work out the best emphasis for the words, and the most balanced layout. This can take some time (days, weeks sometimes) and lots of sheets of scrap paper…and make a few mistakes too - there is one on there – however it is checked at each of the many stages…

Photo 2 is the final choice of layouts thus far revised and working on the size of the prints lines, once the layout is sorted.

You can see on Picture 1, I have used double ended calligraphy textas (which would horrify a true calligrapher) to work out the letter sizes. 
Once this is decided, I then transfer to tracing paper( picture 3). I use tracing paper for several reasons.
Primarily, this is because the decoration can take some fiddling, and then the good paper may be messed with drawing, erasing, etc. 
Secondly if someone asks me to do it again as another order, I have it to this stage already to lift out of my file. Saves a lot of time and it is not unusual to be asked again as have a portfolio, and give a discount for ones done before, because of time saved.

The last stage today’s desk is the tracing paper layout in pencil and I am fiddling with the design of decoration. God willing, next week will have it on the paper next week and up to the inking in stage…

Here is the last pickie, a piece of a weed as I call it, a Mother-in-law Tongue is what is commonly called here. The funny thing is they have become very fashionable and expensive to buy at nurseries! But this one decided to grow between our fence and the flower is rather attractive I thought! Well, off to peek at some other desks (as much time allows, sorry if don’t get around to all!)…

Thanks everyone for popping over for a peek and chat, and may God bless your day wherever you may be,

Shaz in Oz. x

 PS. Thanks so very much for all the new Wonderful Encouragers of this humble blog - you are all appreciated more than words can say. It still amazes me that folk like to pop over here! so a big welcome to you one and all, and many thanks to those who have been wonderfully encouraging over a longer time. :D
PPS. I have changed the design a little as you will see next week, God willing, taking on board the comment made by Sarah below, and in more prayer with the LORD... so thanks everyone for your thoughts on this! I deeply appreciate you all...mind you am rubbing out again!! As I found three top lines were slightly crooked by 1mm - 3mm, amazing how it suddenly leaps put at you - this why it is not done on paper first!
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