Monthly Archives: January 2013

Australia Day! land of natural beauty and talent

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a finished piece by Arthur Raston

a finished piece by Arthur Raston

I figured I’d probably post some scenic beach photographs today to celebrate Australia Day, as you can see, I changed my mind. During the day I’ve been thinking about Australian pride – and what it means to truly appreciate the life and environment we experience here in Oz. Nobody taught me more about Australia, has taken the time to show me as much of this great land, and demonstrated a greater love for it than my dad, Arthur Raston, award winning pastel, acryclic, and water colour artist and member of the Watercolour Society of Western Australia.

Not only have I enjoyed travelling so far and wide across Australia with my parents, but have a home filled with beautiful paintings so that I always have a window into the great land we call home. Dad has many friends from the art world – we love and admire them all – but there is one thing that makes Dad stand apart from them… he has only ever painted Australian scenes. Many of his friends take trips around the world, and at exhibitions we see many beautiful replications of scenes from these travels, especially their European vacations, but Dad just looks at the paintings and smiles. He sees what is great in them, the work, the tasteful selection of colours, the emotions they evoke… but personally he has all the inspiration he needs right here in Australia.

Dad has been a city dweller all his life, but that has not stopped him from gaining the reputation of painting outstanding rural Australian landscapes, and many people over the years has sworn black and blue to his face that he has to have been a farmer at some time in his life. No. But you’ve worked with horses? No. You’ve driven sheep? No. You’ve milked a cow? No.

So talent and imagination, hard work, and dedication can transform your dreams into masterpieces. What are you going to create using yours?

 

 

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Please Meet: Jenny from Kitchen Aromas, handmade soy candle artisan

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I know it has been a long time since I’ve featured a handmade maven on the blog but I hope you will agree, that this will totally make up for that! I would love for you to take the time to meet Jenny and see her wonderful handmade creations.
Strawberry Shortcake scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

Strawberry Shortcake scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

Introduction
Hi my name is Jenny and I run Kitchen Aromas, creating deliciously scented soy candles.

Where did your creative journey begin?

I have always had two passions in life – animals and the enchanting world of fragrances….from beautiful roses, to cooking, to incense or the sweet smell of the Australian bush, scents can move my emotions like nothing else.

As I’m sure is the way with most handmade businesses, Kitchen Aromas was all started by accident!  A few years ago I ordered my first “DIY candle making kit” from a store online just to give something new a try.  In the package I received, along with all the ‘usual’ scents like lavender, there was an ‘Apple Pie’ fragrance.  At the time I didn’t even know it was possible to make a candle smell like food! (well, other than the plasticy, lolly type scents you sometimes see – erm…Ive never smelled a strawberry like that..)  So I set to work and created my first ever soy candle.  Once I had sampled that scrumptious scent, the idea for Kitchen Aromas was born!

I began scouring the internet and craft stores for fragrances that made my mouth water, then, I went a step further and started mixing some of my own. I used trial and error, each time bringing them closer to my childhood memories of aromas that would drift out of my Mum’s kitchen.   The idea of soy wax appealed to me above paraffin wax due to environmental and health factors.  I have a dog who is highly allergic to many chemicals, so natural soy seemed like the perfect option to me.

pumpkin bread scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

pumpkin bread scented candle by Kitchen Aromas

What kind of things excite and inspire you?

The moment a “recipe” for a new fragrance starts to come into my mind, I become ultra excited, and consumed by getting it just right!  I love hearing new suggestions from my customers too.  My business vision is first and foremost family orientated – food is so often something that people see as a comfort, a reminder of happy gatherings and family time.  Being able to bring a scent to them that triggers those memories is very important to me.

aromatic gingerbread scented candle

aromatic gingerbread scented candle

What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)

There are always a million challenges in making the perfect soy candle!  There are so many websites that can give you a step by step guide….but you quickly discover that for each step there seems to be 5 things that can go wrong.  One of my biggest challenges at the moment is dealing with the Perth heat – candles setting in 40 degree heat end up looking like a chalky, holey mess!  So my candles are only made way after the sun goes down, in the (slightly) cooler nighttime breeze.

What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?

At this stage I’m focusing on building Kitchen Aromas into a brand that people know and trust.  Something that my customers would recommend to their friends and family without hesitation.  In the future I would very much like to open a small brick and mortar shop in the Perth Hills, where I live, while also continuing to sell online to other parts of Australia.

chocolate chip cookie candle by Kitchen Aromas, etsy

chocolate chip cookie candle by Kitchen Aromas, etsy

You can connect with Jenny and Kitchen Aromas through the following links

www.kitchenaromascandles.com

www.facebook.com/KitchenAromas

www.twitter.com/KitchenAromas

Blueberry Cheesecake scented soy candle, Kitchen Aromas

Blueberry Cheesecake scented soy candle, Kitchen Aromas

I hope you will show Jenny and Kitchen Aromas your wonderful support and join me in wishing her the very best for a fulfilling, exciting, and amazing creative journey as she grows her dreams and spreads her wings. Thanks, Jenny, for allowing me to feature you and your beautiful creations and photography.

 

 

cattle call: Starzyia 2013 Daily Photography Challenge

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Theme List & Schedule, Starzyia Daily Photography Challenge

Theme List & Schedule, Starzyia Daily Photography Challenge

 

Announcing: the Starzyia Daily Photography Challenge starts February 1st and runs until the 21st February, 2013. If you followed the challenge from last year here on the blog, and wish you had been involved, now is time to think about joining in for this year, and I would love it if you did participate. One major change to the format is that this year you can enter as an individual, or as part of a small team or family – so if you are afraid you can’t keep up with the challenge by yourself, why not ask your friends, family, or co-workers if they are interested?

For the benefit of those who aren’t familiar with the format of the challenge, the concept is to sumbit one photograph taken each day for the 21 days (or as many days as you possibly can) fitting the theme – they are all popular book titles, just like last year – you simply interpret & capture what the theme means to you, in your life, or the world around you. The most important thing is that you can not take photographs in advance – no matter how tempting certain fleeting opportunities may be, or how great a photograph you have tucked away in your files may fit the theme – photos must be taken on the day – this is the challenge of rising to the occasion and making the most of what you have on hand around you each day. It teaches you to grow your imagination and see ordinary things in new ways. Although you can’t use photos you already have, or take them in advance, you are allowed to play catch up if you miss a day.

What happens with your photos? You pick your best photo each day, and you can post it directly on the facebook event wall, or send it to the facebook Starzyia page in a PM. I will gather all the photos each day of the challenge and publish them here on the Starzyia blog. You will retain copyright of your work, and be named as the artist on record, and you are welcome to protect your work using a visible watermark.

Each day I collect and publish the photographs from the day before (to allow time for my international participants to submit in time for publication), however you can still submit your photographs after the blog post goes live, I will happily add your work, the more the merrier!

Photographs do need to be suitable for general exhibition, so if I cannot safely show your photograph to a five year old child, please rethink your content, I intend this to be a family friendly event, and young photographers are welcome to join in.

Individuals: when you join the challenge, please let me know the name you want your photographs to be published as – whether you as a person or your business/professional name, either is fine.

Teams: please, before the challenge starts, give your team a name, I will use the team name for each blog post, but you can also have the individual team member’s name included with the photograph – make sure each day when you submit your photograph I know if you want the name published and which team member is responsible for the photograph.

Have I captured your imagination yet? Want to look at the event page… here she is the Starzyia Daily Photography Challenge 2013 pop in, don’t forget to click ‘join’ if you want to be kept up to date with the preparations and event launch.

Starzyia: open for business in 2013, getting ready for Valentine’s Day gift shoppers

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I have enjoyed a very relaxing two week (approximate) vacation from running Starry Girl by Starzyia but I was very excited and glad to reopen my online stores and am preparing for Valentine’s Day amongst other seasonal and themed occasions for 2013.

I’m sharing some of my favourite creations for Valentine’s Day now, because I know many of my friends and loyal supporters are spread across the globe and need time for items to ship, plus I have been planning and saving these items especially and I can’t wait any more!

The Ardent Love pendant is beyond a doubt my favourite, I have used the original vintage French-English dictionary page showing the words “Ardemment, fervently, amour ardent, ardeur” a great way to express passion and strong love to someone special in a way that is trei chic!

romantic offerings from Starzyia

romantic offerings from Starzyia

Another new etsy offering is the Immortal Love pendant which is made with the original page from a vintage 1933 hymnal, though it is a hymn, it reads like a love poem “Immortal Love, forever flowing, forever shared, a never ebbing sea, our outward lips name” which is right up there with the beautiful, passionate Song of Solomon.

You can also see I still have some flowering tree of life pendants, these are offered through my etsy store

The Ruby Songbird is a great shabby chic pendant with a symbolic singing bird (love, happiness, contentment) and is a deluxe edition with sparkling rhinestone border in ruby/garnet and pink rose.  This would also make a great gift for a singer, and the paper bird has a sheet music motif.

The Red Hot Love earrings (gee, I wonder why I named them?) are the red laser cut wood earrings with golden filigree and red rose cabochons, though large these are nice and light weight, ear friendly design. These are offered through my madeit store along with some similar designs in a pale pink heart, honeysuckle pink heart, and a lovely shabby chic white heart.

I’m also working on some patriotic, Australian offerings for Australia Day (January 26th), back to school (which it is time for here very soon), Easter, and later Mother’s Day and change of seasons means a change of colours and textures.

There will soon be a return to my special feature interview type posts showcasing some worthy and truly fascinating handmade artisans I’ve met along my handmade journey, and symbolic gift guides once I get back into the swing of things this year. For those of you who started to follow the blog during the Starzyia Daily Photography Challenge last year, I will be running another one in February so feel free to join in, I’ll let you know how when the time is nearer. I’m hoping to stay true to my heart but make this blog better than ever and I hope you will always feel free to join in, comment, and share the journey. Wishing you the most amazing, inspiring, happy, healthy 2013!