Creativity: The Party Props in Action

My recent Creativity posts have been all about making props for my 60th birthday party – Punk’s Not Dead. Today I’m making a gallery of some photos from the party, featuring those pieces. It’s not every day (or year) that I have a sufficient excuse to hire a band and the local Hall, so I thought I may as well make an event – an art project – of it.

Guests were invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style, and most of them did, with a broad range of interpretations. To me, Punk (Rock) represents freedom of expression, a DIY aesthetic and a can-do approach, so I was little bit surprised at how many of my guests associate “punk” with obnoxiousness – there was a lot of face-pulling going on! There was even concern expressed about the possibility of violent behaviour, despite the fact that my friends are very mild mannered, middle  class types who would never dream of such a thing. Thinking about this afterwards, I realised they were reflecting the biases of the Murdoch Press reporting on the Sex Pistols et al way back when…sad!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Dance

I’m baaack – this weeks challenge topic is Dance – however we want to interpret it. I have been distracted for the past couple of weeks with the lead-up and aftermath of my 60th birthday party – which had a punk rock dress-up theme, and featured  Ararat’s 90’s punk and alternative cover band, Kerplunk. They were awesome, and although many adults were too shy/overawed to get up and dance, the kids were right into it.

My grand daughter Juniper makes a very good punk grrrl – all toddlers a little bit punk rock from time to time! Madeline wore a fairy dress, but we converted her by the end of the night. The cake is one of the two Zoe baked for the occasion – this one was rose flavoured, and she had the idea for the frosting at the last minute. It worked spectacularly well, my two favourite colours dancing together, and forming roses all over the top of the cake. Matt and Zoe did a brilliant job of vegan catering for the night.

Meanwhile, in the garden, we were blessed with some actual rain last week, which has woken up autumn flowering plants, and set them dancing! And for the record, here’s a pic of me and others) on the big night, in front of the photo background I painted for the party. It was well used on the night, and definitely added to the atmosphere. Matt Harris, Juniper’s dad took all these photos, as I was a bit busy…IMG_7674 (Large)

Creativity: Party Prop

I’m having a major birthday in a couple of months, which is a major excuse to organise a party (otherwise someone might spring a surprise party on me…) So, my party, my rules. Having discovered that there is a local band called “Kerplunk”performing “90’s alternative and punk” covers, they were booked and “Punk’s Not Dead” became my theme. Looking for ideas on Pinterest, I noticed that painted photo backgrounds are a thing, and decided that would be a fun thing to do.

I bought a huge photo print on canvas for $25 (half price). It didn’t fit in our small car until some (ahem) adjustments were made, requiring some repairs later…I had a few practice goes on it with spray paint, but I knew I wanted multiple layers, and the look of a much graffitied  wall. IMG_6917 (Large)

I had the good fortune to come across this book – inspiration sorted! IMG_6990 (Large)

A lot of band stickers featured on CBGB walls, and I don’t have many around, so I’ve improvised with what I’ve got. I found they don’t stick very well on the canvas substrate, whether because of the finish or movement, I don’t know. I resorted to gluing them.IMG_6993 (Large)

I’ve painted over some of the old writing (emptying the brush from painting walls), and done a bit more spray painting, including using a stencil (from Typo).IMG_6991 (Large)

Today I hunted out some permanent markers from my supply stash, and added a few more pieces, including my “peace love empathy’ heart design, which I’ve been doing for around twenty years. I’m missing yellow and violet from the rainbow, so I’ll have to remedy that!

“Anarchy Rules” had to be in there (funny!) and “Party” in bubble writing is on message for the occasion. What it really needs is a variety of “hands” – different people writing in their own style. Also more variety in the markers used.  I’m going to be working on that – visitors be warned!

Creativity: Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear

The old garage/shed that came with our property was what is kindly called a “vernacular building”. That means, made from whatever was handy, and without benefit of plans…It was sturdy, and the possums and rats found it accommodating. The walls and roof were both corrugated iron – reused at least once. I suppose it had character, but it was neither beautiful nor very useful. Ten years ago, we pulled the front part down to make way for a new possum-and-rat-proof shed. The tail-end stayed, because we needed a dry place for winter’s wood, and a place to stash recyclables until someone could take them to the transfer station. What was once a hard-to-access carport became a place to dry the washing. And so it stayed, until…

We were having a party, and what if it rained? So the carport became “The Pirate Lounge” – after which the junk piled back in again. It’s a shame I never thought to take photos as the changes took place. More recently, I decided to get really drastic. and had a really big clean out, demolishing the decrepit old cupboards (possums, rats, mice…) and resolving to get rid of what wasn’t useful or beautiful…

Since then I have lined the walls with parts of the old cupboards.


Then the new walls were painted – with one of the old cans of paint a friend gave me. She was clearing out her laundry after a snake appeared in the bathroom…Yes, I know! The colour is very “her”, and prompted Alex to comment that the new decor was “more mermaid than pirate”. True. It is.20151228_144225

The next step was to barrow in gravel to level up the floor, which had only ever been “dirt”, and went with the slope of the land. I laid a big tarp over the top of the gravel so its fairly clean and stable. By now, the name has changed to “The Seahorse Saloon”…20160106_145214

You can see shelves on the left of the photo – drawers from an old robe, stacked up against the wall (and nailed in place).20160106_171859

Once the floor was done, I put down some mats and brought in comfy chairs. Then I made a nice pot of Japanese green tea. There’s still plenty more to do – the car port part needs a new floor,  too, but I’ve been having a lot of fun creating a pleasant outdoor living room using reused and recycled materials wherever possible.

It’s still in the vernacular spirit of the original, but much, much nicer.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Treat

The theme of “Treat” for the Weekly Photography Challenge in Halloween week is no surprise, considering the traditional catch-cry of “Trick or treat”.  Celebrating Halloween is a fairly recent notion in Australia –  I’d barely heard of it as a child. I think the Great Pumpkin in the Peanuts cartoon was my main association for it.

Things have changed, and now shops are enthusiastically stocking decorations and costumes, even special pumpkins, although it is spring here and not the right season for any of it!

Children in out little town can join in the fun of dress-ups (and candy) as a special treat, because a couple of enthusiastic young mums hire and decorate the local Hall for a family Halloween Party. It’s only 2 hours, and in broad daylight, but with spookiness laid on along with tasty treat foods, and more witches than you can poke a stick at…

Bryan and I didn’t have any little kids as an excuse, but we went along anyway, and I had fun trying to get some good photos of the event. It wasn’t particularly dark, but I went for longer exposure times to try to capture ghostly presences as the kids darted about on the dance floor. It was a treat for everyone who went, with a bag of candy at the end for the younglings.