Google+ LISTENING TO THE SQUEAK INSIDE art by Kirstin McCulloch of LilliBean Designs: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

☆ Release [Friday Art]

I have this terrible tendency to over load my week.  Instead of having one place to visit down the street - I have five. Instead of just dancing on Fridays, we also visit my nan, and do some grocery shopping.

Some may say this is good time management. I think it may be craziness.

And as we approach the end of the year, there is so much more happening in our life, with dance concerts, end of school year activities, work parties, etc. I just can't add anything else.

In the past, I have. I do crazy stuff, like decide to make hand made gifts for people. Or decide that we need to have a Christmas party.

Last week, I threw my back out again. One minute I was picking the girls up from school and the next I was laying on the couch with my heat pack. 

I have decided that this is obviously the universe (and my body's) way to ensure I slow down. And as much as I would much rather  it find a different way to tell me I listened.

So this weeks Friday Art, was my way of slowing down and taking stock. A couple of hours playing, smooshing, spraying + pasting.  A couple of hours 

After creating this page, I culled a few of my activities this month. 

And instead of feeling disappointed, or upset, or like I had failed. I felt free. And light. 

It was the right thing to do.

So I wanted to remind you all that you don't have to cram everything in over the next few weeks, that taking an hour or two for yourself is a necessary part of self care. 

And I think if you can't give yourself that, a cup of coffee by yourself for five minutes can do wonders.

How would you spend an hour or two to recharge this festive season? I would love it if you shared with us.

Have a great weekend + don't forget that for the entire weekend, there is 30% off in the LilliBean Designs store.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

☆ Holy Crap it's almost December….

….And I still haven't made the advent calendar.

Bean was saying to me this morning that she was so excited because it was almost December + remember Mama, that thing we had on the wall, that everyday we took a new card out of + we did special things that only we did in December. And remember mama, remember how we watched movies and made things…

She went on and on for about ten minutes, becoming more excited with each memory. 

And as I was listening to her, I remembered that I had bought a new advent calendar, two years ago, that I had never put together + that maybe as this is such a special memory for her, I should get my ass into gear and make it.

And then, in my pre-coffee addled brain I realised that December is three days away. 


I think even if I just put it together + spray paint it, it will be ok, but I am hoping to finish it over the weekend.

I will keep you up dated.

But I also wanted to share with you some of the activities I hope to do with the kids. 

Like most families, December is a hellish time for us, concerts, graduations, end of year parties, end of school activities, so fitting in extra activities, as fun as the are, is just not going to happen.

Rather than set myself up for failure, I have included activities like swimming, Christmas parties, Carols + setting up the tree. All things we would do anyway, but it makes it the  Christmas just a little easier.

This year, I hope we can also include:
  • writing letters to Santa
  • making this Nativity scene from 'Made By Joel' (How cool is that!)
  • making Christmas Cookies to give as gifts to teachers, neighbours + friends
  • going to the Library + borrow Christmas books
  • making our own Christmas Tags with these from last year
  • going to the Christmas Markets
  • setting up our Fairy Traps
  • making our Reindeer attractant
  • watching Christmas Movies (the grinch is my fav) + eat lots of popcorn
  • Going out for a family dinner. Just the five of us.
Do you have any special traditions around Christmas? I would love it if you shared a few of your favourites with us below.

A Happy Thanksgiving holiday to all of my friends north of the equator, I hope you have an amazing day and eat loads of turkey!

And don't forget that the super sale is on in the LilliBean Designs shop for the whole weekend. Pop over now so you don't miss out!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

☆ Listening to your Inner Voice [LifeBook 2013]

I have really enjoyed the mixed media process lately. It is a welcome break from the commissioned paintings I have been working (and hopefully be able to share with you all soon!)

Playing with papers, stamps, paints, fingers covered in paint, new tops with paint splatters all over there is something liberating about the whole process.

This weeks Lifebook lesson was lead by Jeanette Maisy House from One Little House, and it was a lovely lesson, using a limited pallet of blue, violet + indigo.

I felt so at piece creating this piece, after a couple of really hard emotional + physical weeks, and I think her face reflects the inner peace I have found this week.

And yet again this lesson was so timely a reminder to keep listening to my inner squeak, to keep reminding myself that it will keep me on the right track, and not to ignore it in this busy + hectic time!

So I want to give you all a gentle reminder to listen to your own inner squeak over the next few weeks, when we are all busy with family + friends, when we can tend to ignore our needs just to get through the day.

And I would love to know how you would spend five minutes for yourself over the coming weeks. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

☆ Heads Up! [The Thanksgiving Weekend Sale Code]

I wanted to give you all a heads up for this weekends super sale in the LilliBean Designs Store.

With Christmas just around the corner (YIKES!) there are some great things in store, to make special and unique Christmas gifts for friends, or family members.

So this weekend I am having a massive 30% OFF everything in store. Yup. Everything.

Pop over any time over the long weekend to grab your bargains!

Have a great week.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

☆ And this months WINNER is…..

I can't believe this is the second last give away of the year!

But I am excited that a set of postcards are on their way to their new home.

Thank you again everyone for participating, spreading the word + for joining me on this crazy journey.

I appreciate every single comment, every like, every pin + every tweet more that you can know.

Any way, lets not drag this on any longer than we have to right?

This months winner is….

Alya Art


If you can send me a quick email to let me know your mailing address I will post them off to you shortly.

Don't worry if you didn't win this month, there is one more give away for 2013. Pop back here December 5th for details!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

☆ Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home [Carnival of Creative Mothers]

Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce

Today's topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!

November 27th: Creative Heroines.
December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
December 11th: The Creative Process.

 ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Sometimes life is so crazy, we are all busy with our activities, our jobs our families, that the thought of adding in another 'thing' is just too much.

But if you are a regular reader here, you know that it is so very important to me that my kids have a creative life + a home that they feel they feel safe in to explore their creativity.

But I am also all about the 'easy solutions'. My life is too complicated to have scheduled "creativity dates" (as much as I would love to do this!), and sometimes the thought of dragging out the paints so my girls can create is sometimes just beyond me.

So I thought I would share with you some of the easy ways we have encouraged our girls to be creative in Casa de Mac that require only a little set up from you + maybe it will spark a few ideas that you could incorporate into you home too.

'Mama - Today we are pirate princesses'
My Bug + Bean

In our box there are old hats, scarfs, telescopes made from paper towel roll, old bags, our 'no sew' princess tutus (These are so cheap + super easy to make) and our pirate hats + eye patches (you can download the template here).

Sometimes we have three or four costume changes before breakfast.

Thrift stores are another fabulous place to pick up things for your dress up box.

In our house, every day is dress up day + I don't care if we go grocery shopping or to preschool dressed up.  (In our house, a tiara is just another word for head band!)

But the point is, that in having no restrictions on using the dress up box, they are constantly creating, playing + exploring boundaries. 

Don't have any dress up stuff? What about old shirts, old shoes + a newspaper crown or pirate hat?

Bug + Beans Art Desk: Complete with vision board of
pretties as Bean calls them!

Having a designated art space that your kids can access all the time means that creating can become a part of their every day lives - not something to fear or for special occasions. Or that you have to organise for them. 

Being a creative person myself, it was just natural that I bought a sketch book + crayons for my then 8 month old Bean (she is five now).

And although she started by eating the crayons instead of using them, the kids have been surrounded by 'art' since they were babies. 

Just recently we picked up an old school desk + placed it in a corner of our lounge room. It is out of the way + in a place that is not noticeable straight away. 

AND this is very important, because if Mr Mac saw that mess every time he entered the room it wouldn't work. It would drive him INSANE! (Me too probably). 

Once a week they have to tidy it up, but other than that this is their creative space, to draw, glue, cut and colour. I don't even care if that there is marker + stickers on the surface. This is their space + they feel safe to create anything there.

If you don't have space for a desk - what about a draw, shelf or box?


This year I started creating with my kids. 

I feel it is important for them to see me create, and create with me, so that being an artist isn't something that is mystery, or that only Mama can do. 

So once every couple of weeks, we sit down together and do a project. 
There are so many resources out there to be creative with your kids. Pinterest is on of the websites I go to often, but I will also google 'creative lessons for kids' and see what takes my fancy.

They are short lessons, cause lets face it a 3 + 5 year old have very short attention spans, but they ended up surprising me with their enthusiasm + dedication to the lesson. You can read more here + here

Don't worry about not being perfect. No one is perfect + it is great for your kids to see you mess up too!


This is my very best tip + I wish I had stock in the sketchbook company because I buy so many!

We have sketchbooks everywhere. In their bedroom, in the car, in my hand bag, on their art desk, in my studio…

And there are two reasons I love sketchbooks. One, because I don't have thousands of pieces of paper, with their masterpieces strewn around the house. OH it would drive me absolutely bonkers!

And when they come home from school or playgroup with their masterpieces I can be stick these straight into their sketch books. All their art is contained in one spot.

You can easily store these, so that they have a record of how creative they were when they were little.

Bonus! They are so portable. Going to the doctors? On a long trip? Waiting for Dance class to finish? No Problem - we grab a few pencils + a sketch book and they are entertained…at least for a wee while!

 ☆ ☆ ☆ 

How do you nurture creativity with in your home? I would love to hear your stories. And if you have any questions about any of these just email me - I am more than happy to help out! Keep reading below to see how other parents nurture creativity in the home for more great ideas.

By the way - have you had a chance to enter this months give away? It is free to enter and super easy to do so!

☆ ☆ ☆   

and grab your free extras (first 200 orders only!):

- exclusive access to a private Facebook group for creative mothers

- a vibrant greetings card and book-mark of one of the author's paintings.

Kindle and paperback editions from,, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

or order it from your local bookshop!
Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.

Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she's discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.

DeAnna L'am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.

Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies - balancing motherhood with creativity.

Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.

Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.

Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.

For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.

Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.

Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity - They Must Coexist.

Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity can too!

Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.

Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.

Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.

Brooke at violicious spent too much time worrying and trying to be creative instead of letting it flow.

Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post "I nurture a creative culture."

On womansart blog this week - nurturing a creative culture at home.

Creative woman at Creator's Corner loves color and uses it to paint, draw and decorate to inspire herself and her family.

It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative streak - she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.

Anna of ArtBuds is a trained educator and art therapist. She has been creating all her life and nurturing her daughter's creativity at home is a priority.

Deb at Debalicious shares how her family enjoy creativity at home.

Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family's life together.

Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!

Lisa from has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.

Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.

Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.

Molly at MollyLollyLoo explores her family's shared creative times.

Liz at Reckless Knitting shares how she celebrates creativity with her family.

Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.

Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.

Allurynn shares her creative family's musings in her post "Creativity... at the Heart of it" on Moonlight Muse.

Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.

Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.

Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.

Chiswick Mum believes that a healthy dose of chaos is the secret to nurturing creativity at home.

Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life ... now she is finding out what creativity is all about.... her inner child!

Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.

Monday, November 18, 2013

☆ Kimmi Dolls [Fun Art]

I have had these Kimmi Dolls laying around our house for ages now. I originally bought them as labels for the girls wardrobe draws so they could tell where their dresses went.

Well actually I bought them for Mr Mac, so he would put their clothes away in the right draws, instead of where ever there was space.

They didn't work as I wanted - the girls kept pulling them off + Mr Mac just ignored them.

So I repurposed them!

Mr Mac drilled a hole in them + I painted + crafted their kimonos with some of the beautiful papers I have collected over the years.

And I love how they turned out! They are so sweet right?

A couple of these went to new homes over the weekend as I had them for sale at my stall.

Have you thought of repurposing an old item for a creative project lately? I would love to see what you've created. (And feel free to add a link to your project in the comments if you have written about it!)

I have also joined in with the 'Carnival of Creative Mothers' - its a month long blog carnival of creative mothers sharing their stories + how they nurture creativity in the home, our inspirations, processes + legacies. Pop back Wednesday for my first post but if you are a creative mama pop over here to join in!

AND don't forget this months give away is being drawn this Thursday - pop over here to enter - it is so super easy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

☆ Wish [Friday Art]

I have had a roller coaster week, one filled with amazing heights + one with despairing lows.

I am an emotional wreck.

And in amongst the angst this week, I decided to try my hand at having a stall at this weekends farmers markets.

I was really stressing about this, did I have enough to sell? Who would buy my things? Will any one buy my paintings? Once again my little bitch had come to play.

But yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call which changed everything.

This phone call reminded me that life it too damn short to worry about the small things.

And against this news, my angst about going to the markets seemed small and petty.

Life is too DAMNED short.

Anyway, during all this I painted this little ole thing, and I added a 'wish' to it while painting.

I wish that this is the last of the lows for now. I wish for a speedy recovery. I wish for a 5 year old going on fourteen. I wish for a safe arrival. I wish the markets organiser would email me back!

I wish…

What do you wish for? I would love to hear your wishes if you want to share them with us.

By the way - if you want a chance to win this months give away - pop over now!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

☆ The Key to Freedom [Life Book 2013]

This week I did a lesson by the talented Danita. She was inspired to make this lesson after listening to a podcast which suggested that we are trapped in prisons of our own making, but that we have the key to unlock our prisons + become free.

We made this cute little whimsy girl in front of a cage. 

I happen to have a number of keys in my ephemera stash which I have desperate to use some how in my art. I decorated it with bits and pieces also in the stash. 

I couldn't figure out how to permanently attach the key - I didn't think gel medium would be strong enough so I used blu tack for the moment.

All in all a very sweet + empowering project.

So what is your gilded cage keeping you from doing? And if you have any idea of a more permanent way to attach the key I would love to know! 

Oh DON'T FORGET this months give away is open for entries? It'll take you two secs + absolutely every one is able to enter. So pop on over here

Monday, November 11, 2013

☆ From Beginning to End: The Journey of a Journal Page.

I am often curious when I see finished journal pages, about how they were constructed, the process behind the finished painting.

And I have often thought I should share with everyone the process behind my journal page - I have been asked once or twice to do this.

Usually, I am totally wrapped up in the process myself that I take a photo of the first step + then forget about it until I am almost finished.

This is the journal page that I shared with you here + I managed to get a few pics while I was painting it.  {sorry for the load time! There are quite a few photos!!}

Usually my journal pages start with a problem I am working on, a much needed rant, or a observation.

I scribble my immediate + uncensored thoughts down. Don't worry most of it will be covered up later! So be honest. 

I covered my scribble with water soluble crayons (I use a mixture of Derwent Aquatones + Caran d'Ache NeoColor II. I prefer the later because they seem to dissolve better the Aquatones can look a bit scratchy.)

Next I added some papers from my scrap draw (this grows bigger daily!!), some mulberry paper left over from our wedding 6 years ago, and some washi style tape. 

I had some ink out from another project, so I added this and with a straw blew it around the page. I love this effect! 

I gessoed a rough face + neck + added the flower + the three red strips on the right hand side.

At this stage I don't worry about being precise with the head. It will come together later.

I added detail to the face - at the moment I use a lot of blues in my faces instead of dark browns + black. 

More detail in the face

I've started the eyes in this photo - I love painting eyes. They are my absolute favourite thing in the world to paint.

I have finished they eyes, added more detail to the lips + I decided that she needed a smattering of freckles. 

I finished by adding the words with white paint + outlined with black marker. Added some purple to her hair + a bit of detail on the flower. 

So if you haven't tried art journalling before, I can absolutely recommend it. There are absolutely no rules + just go with your heart.

I always feel like I have had a major battle after finishing a journal page. I have ink all over me, gel medium stuck all over my hands, paint all over my new nail polish. I love it. LOVE. IT. 

What is your favourite part of art journalling? I would love it if you shared your experiences with me!

And did you know that this months give away is open for entries? It'll take you two secs + absolutely every one is able to enter. So pop on over here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

☆ Your Soul is Beautiful [Friday Art]

This week, some one in my life, needed me to tell them that they had a beautiful heart + a pure soul.

The hardest part of me telling this person, was I could tell that they didn't believe me.

Not right then anyway.

Maybe they never will fully believe me. But I have hope.

And if I can tell them they are loved + that I believe in them then maybe they won't feel as alone and lost, as they obviously have been.

It was troubling me that they didn't think their heart would steer them right. They felt their heart told them to do things that were wrong.

I found this so hard to process, because I have always believed that if you listen to your heart it won't steer you wrong.

So in the end I created this journal page, one that I will eventually print off + framed, so they can be reminded on a daily basis.

I would love to hear if you have anyone in your life who has doubted + what advice you were able to give them so that they believed in themselves again.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

☆ It's that time of the Month again! [Give Away Time]

I can't believe that this is the second last give away of the year! And this month I have for you a a set of 5 of my new art cards.

So if you want to be in for a chance, it is so super easy to enter.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me you want it.

Thats it??


But you can also grab some extra entries.

Every one gets one entry by leaving an 'I Want It' comment below but you can grab extra entries if you:

share or like on Facebook
* share or follow on Twitter
* subscribe to the monthly LilliBean Designs Studio News

Just let me know in your comment if you are eligible for extra entries (And if you are already do any of these let me know because you are already eligible for the extras!)

The winner will be announced on Thursday November 21st - so make sure you pop back then to find out if you are a winner!

Good Luck

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

☆ Self Portrait Mini Lesson [Life Book 2013]

The fabulous Jane Davenport provided a mini-lesson for this weeks Life Book class.

And it is a really simple technique.

One which I may employ later in other artworks.

So I flipped through a magazine + selected a few outfits. I also did a really quick (and not so great) self portrait, I had some left over paint on my palette from another project for the back ground. And Voila, an awesomely fun project completed!

Imagine the things you could include in this type of project. You could include anything - wings + tiaras spring to mind. And I can't wait to try this one again.

I have been totally rushed for time lately, but I really wanted to keep up with my life book lessons, they are so valuable,  so while I did rush this lesson, I still took a huge amount from it!

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