The 'Three Sisters' & the Jameison Valley ...... one of the 'touristy' spots in the Blue Mountains National Park.

Whose 'Creative Corner' I hear you ask???

Hi, I'm Chris Bennett AKA 'Chris in Oz'. I live in the beautiful Blue Mountains west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (affectionately known as 'Oz' or 'The Land Down-Under'). I'm in my mid-50's, have been married for 30+ years to THE most wonderful man and I'm the PROUDEST MUM of 2 grown children. My DS is into photography and has taken some amazing shots. You can see some of them in 'Simon's Gallery'. My DD is a High School teacher who is committed to educating our youth of today. I was a Teacher/Assistant Principal in the field of Special Education for over 16 years until I retired in June 2004.

I've been involved in art and craft activities for most of my life and I became a 'stampaholic' and 'technique junkie' to 'save my sanity' after an injury in 2003. I began by making cards and slowly, but surely, became addicted to ATCs, hand-made books, altered books, boxes, bottles, tins, jigsaw puzzles and anything else that stands still long enough to be altered. I love texture and colour and I'm gradually stepping outside my comfort zone to experiment and explore other media and styles. Check out 'My Gallery' to see some more of my work.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I also take photos, I don't know how 'good' my photos are, but I just love to take them ...... so every now and then I might just sneak one in ...... I hope you don't mind!!! Well, not too much!!! LOL!!!

Friday, 18 June 2010


Well today's the big day.  The day I invite you into my 'STUDIO', the place where I relax, the place where I create and the place where I am constantly organising, re-organising and then re-organising yet again.  My 'STUDIO' is a work in progress.  Sadly, I wasn't able to make as much progress as I would have liked before this wonderful event, but (as they say) you get that......

Karen Valentine from My Desert Cottage in Arizona has been working her fingers to the bone to organise this wonderful blog party, where you can 'drop in' to visit other artists' studios/work spaces to see where they create.  Go and check out Karen's blog to see all the party guests (the list of participants is in the right-hand column).

I'm supposed to tell you a little bit about myself.  You've probably already guessed that I'm a bit obsessive, and of course you'd be correct.  Leaving that aside, over the years I've tried many crafts; sewing, knitting, crocheting, macrame etc, etc.  My very first experience of 'papercrafting' came in the form of an 'stamp shop' in a little country town.  A group of us had gone away for a 'ladies' weekend and the owner of the store gave us a demonstration of heat embossing.  Well, I thought it was simply amazing and was immediately hooked.  I started out making cards and from there moved into book arts (hand-made and altered books), ATCs and altered items (bottles, tins, boxes, anything that wasn't moving really).  I've embraced Yahoo groups with gusto and joined swaps 'til I dropped and I now have a wonderful collection of 'art' from all over the world created by people who  have become friends. As my 'passion' for mixed-media grew, so did my supplies and stash.  I've gradually moved from one large crate to half a room, then a full room, then 2 and 3 until now, I'm spread out into our double garage.  My studio looks very disorgainsed and a little stark right now, but as I said - it's a work in progress.

Okay, here we go......

This is my computer that is positioned just inside the front door. 

Moving around the room in a clock-wise direction, these shelves display most of my paints, colour sprays and mediums.

These units/containers are temporary storage for more paint, glues and miscellaneous supplies.  Do you like my birdcage, I bought it at a trash & treasure market in Victoria the last time I visited my family.

More shelves displaying ink pads, miscellaneous 'bellie' containers, alphabet drawers and odds & ends.
Here are some close-ups of these shelves too.

Ink pads, flowers, alphabet drawers.

These shelves hold my embossing powders (fine, detailed and ultrathick), 'bellie' containers, pens, pencils and markers, brads, beads and tiny bellies and more mediums in boxes.  Close-ups of these drawers:

Embossing Powders.

Beads, brads, tiny 'bellies' etc in these containers.  The jig-saws were international swaps 12 swappers altered a piece of puzle for each swap member.  I loved being involved in these swaps almost as much as I love the finished projects.  I have taken part in four of these swaps in total.

This section of shelves is very temporary and displays some of my stash that would fit in the previous ones.  I've decided that I'm going to separate the bellies , so that there'll be more room to put my paints and mediums on those other shelves, all on the one wall.

These drawers hold all of my mounted stamps some punches and other miscellaneous supplies.  The filing cabinets hold a variety of paper and cardstock.

The folders hold my unmounted stamps and the drawer chests hold a variety of items that I have not had time to sort out properly.  I think these units will probably be replaced when I finally buy all of the new furniture that I eventuall want in this area.

These three sets of shelves cover a whole wall.  I keep my magazines and books, some of my larger tools ( xyron, bind-it-all, melting pot, iron etc on these shelves.  The last set of shelves on this wall displays more of my embellishments, all of my Ideaology stash and at the bottom boxes of ribbon, lace and other miscellaneous 'stuff'.  These shelves will be gradually replaced with Ikea units with a glass door covering the bottom half of each shelf.

This shelf system is made up of sections that I bought from The Reject Shop, eventually these will be replaced with a large Expedit unit from Ikea, with a dedicated section for a TV and DVD/video.  There's a couch that will be placed in front so I can sit to relax, reads my many craft books or watch shows for inspiration.

This is my work table.  I love to create with friends, so it's been important that I have a set-up like this.  Six peolpe can very confortably sit around this table and if you don't mind be a bit 'squeezey' we can even fit eight.  There is a smaller table in the background which will be extended in height to form an extra work bench.

I thought I'd finish my tour by showing you some of the wonderful creations that I've received from the last swap I participated in.  Dream*Create*Inspire is a small group of international members who have formed friendships over a long period of time.  We had a swap Called 'Mini Memories'.  Participants had to select a colour scheme and a theme.  My colour was 'purple' and my theme was 'wings', these are the stunning creations I've received so far:

Vickie Deans (AUS)

Tracey Watt (AUS) 

Melissa Goodman (AUS)

Rhonda Sadler (AUS)

Carol Anderson (AUS)

Carol Sweeney (USA)

Rena Sawatski (CANADA)

Well, that's all folks.  I hope you've enjoyed my little tour and will come back to visit whenever the muse takes you.  Don't forget to 'drop-in' to all the other guests and have fun!!!

Until next time......

Chris in Oz

Birthday Give-Away WINNER!!!

I'm late, I'm late - for a very important date.

I'm sorry I haven't announced the winner yet, but I was out of action for a few days with a severe migraine.



And the winner is......


Woo Hoo!!!  Raeline, can you e-mail your snail mail address to me at:


That's all folks.  Stay tuned for more give-aways.

Until next time......

Chris in Oz

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Birthday Give-Away!!!

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Woo Hoo!!!  It's my birthday today, so I decided to host a give-away.  Hang on, that doesn't sound right; it's my birthday, you get the present and all I get is a year older.  Bugger!!!  Oh well, you get that sometimes!!!  LOL!!!  Anyway,  I'm a terrible organiser and somehow I have a few books that I've managed to buy twice.  I could try to sell them, but I'd prefer to gift them onto somebody who loves books as much as I do.  Here's the book that I have to give-away:

This book is full of ideas for creating your own hand-made books.   I love making hand-made books and then I love giving them away as gifts to my friends.  I'll close the give-away next Wednesday (16th June 2010 at midnight Australian time) and announce the winner the very next day.  I'll write out the names, place them in a container and draw the winner out.  I hope you'll all play along, all you have to do is leave a comment at this post to be included in the draw.  I'll post to anywhere in the world, so please spread the word.

Until next time......

Chris in Oz

Sunday, 30 May 2010


I don't normally participate in blog parties, but I'm really looking forward to this one. Karen Valentine from My Desert Cottage in Arizona has invited us all to the most gorgeous blog party, where we all get to 'drop in' to visit each others' studios/work spaces where we create. This is the second annual blog party that Karen has organised, I missed the first one and have been waiting patiently for this on e to come around. All you have to do, is share photos of your spot in your world, where your creations are made. Go and check out Karen's blog. You just might be inspired to join the fun and share your creative space too. I'll definitely be participating in this wonderful event on 19th June, 2010. to just get my studio finished and organised enough to share with the rest of the world. If you don't believe me, just have a look at these photos and you'll realise just how much work I have to do in a very short space of time. I recently moved all of my 'stuff' down into our double garage.  The walls are dark brick so we decided to paint the room all white to brighten and lighten the space.

The table in the middle of this photo is for my original Apple G5.  I have upgraded to an iMac for our business, so I can keep this one down here for checking my mail and 'blurfing' (surfing blogs).  Now I don't have to walk up and down stairs all day.

These are the shelves that DH had built for my original studio upstairs; we re-situated them to display some of my supplies.  Seeing them, reminds me to use them!!!  LOL.

This section is very temporary. I still haven't decided what sort of shelving will go here. I need to wait to see how the rest of the room comes together before making a decision. I do know that the window will get a new silver/grey coloured aluminium blind. Ideally, I'd love some sort of kitchen bench with a sink, but I think that might be just a bit too much to ask for.

These boxes hold some of my supplies and all of my mounted stamps. My UM stamps are stored in the A4 folders.  The stamp boxes will be placed on top of 2 Ikea 'Expedit' 4X2 units and the filing cabinets will sit underneath a workbench that will be where I can stand up to work while using some of my larger tools - heat gun, guillotine, Cricut, Wizard etc.

These shelves will be replaced with some of the 'Billy' range from Ikea. Each unit will have glass doors covering the bottom half, while still allowing me to see what's stored in each unit.

This table will be replaced by a work bench that will enable me to stand while doing some of my work.  I'll probably buy an office stool for the bench as well.  The shelves in front of the garage door will be replaced by a 5X5 Ikea 'Expedit' unit with a TV and DVD player so I can watch my 'arty' DVDs while I work.

These photos show the 'work in progress' that will eventually be my studio. I know it's very untidy and disorganised. All I can ask is that you wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed that I get it all finished in time for Karen's blog party.

Until next time......

Chris in Oz

Friday, 21 May 2010

MIA!!! - AGAIN!!!

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for over 3 months. We had a great deal of rain and our garage became flooded. What's the problem??? Well, the main problem is that my son has turned our garage into a 'bachelor pad' and many of his belongings were ruined due to the water damage. Luckily we were insured and his items have been repaired and/or replaced. We convinced him that it would be best for him to take over two of the rooms in the house. The resulting move took a few weekends and meant that all of my art & craft supplies had to be moved down to the garage to make the space. I was quite happy about this because all of my 'stuff' would finally be in one place and, one would hope, more accessible. The re-organisation of my 'studio' is still not complete, so not much 'art' has been happening. How can I be 'creative' when I can't find anything??? Grrr!!! I know I will eventually get 'there' and I can actually see progress, but it is slow and frustrating.

I suffered another set-back when my 96 year old Dad passed away on 17th March 2010. He would have turned 97 on 30th April, so he was about 6 weeks short of his birthday. Since then it's been difficult to come to terms with being an orphan. At the present time, I'm in Melbourne with my brother and sister, trying to pack up my parents home; imagine nearly 60 years of collecting (hoarding) having to be packed up and distributed throughout our family, the garbage bin and a range of charitable agencies.

I'm sincerely sorry for my absence, or if I owe you a swap (OWOH, DCI), but please rest assured I will be back and you will receive your swaps in due course. Please be patient with me as I come to terms with my loss and undertake the difficult task of packing up my parents' lives and childhood memories.

Until next time......

Chris in Oz

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


And the Winners are......

Well, it's all over for another year. Congratulations and thanks to Lisa Swifka for her fabulous idea, as well as the commitment to carry it through. I know the amount of work is probably horrendous and I sincerely hope that Lisa realises how much we all appreciate her time and efforts in providing a 'vehicle' for us to travel the world to meet new and wonderful individuals along the way. I've said it before and I'm more than happy to say it again,

"Lisa, you rock!!!"

I also want to thank everybody who stopped by, whether you left a comment or not, and hope that you'll come back again. I actually managed to visit every blog again this year and thoroughly enjoyed each and every visit. I didn't leave a comment on every blog (still don't want to appear too greedy, LOL) and have added many to my 'must see' Google Reader list. Soon, I won't have any time to create, 'cos I'll be too busty visiting everyone else!!! LOL!!!

I've closed off my entry now and can announce that I receive3d 323 comments (only 1 duplicate) during the event. I've decoded to send out 6 gifts and have used the 'Random Integer Generator' to select the winning comments.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:







Timestamp: 2010-02-15 22:59:05 UTC

The corresponding entries came from:

31 Robin from 'Around the Island'

49 Tanya from 'Starry Eyed'

134 Nancy from 'All Pulped Out'

182 'Manna Moon Studios'

229 Crystal from Cleveland, OHIO

259 Carrieann from 'Ametista'

My gifts will be on their way as soon as possible. I'm offering each winner a personal choice of give-away so it could take a while to complete six new pieces.

Again, thanks for a fantastic couple of weeks. I've experienced an absolutely wonderful time and have even found DH peeking over my shoulder a few times wondering where I was in the world and what exactly I was 'oohing and aahing' about.

Until next time......


Chris in Oz

Monday, 15 February 2010

One World - One Heart


****** ****** ******
This message will stay at the top of my blog
until 15th February, 2010
****** ****** ******

Come join the magic carpet ride......

I'm taking part in this wonderful event again this year. I had so much fun the last two years, I want to experience that again. Let's face it, I'm sure we'd all agree with Cyndi Lauper when she sings, "Girls just wanna have fun!" LOL!!!


The wonderful Lisa Swifka created this event in 2007. The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or two (or even three!!! LOL) along the way.

You can read more about this event and see a list of all the participants here at: One World - One Heart! Go on, be adventurous, check out all of these wonderful blogs and their creators. You never know, you might win a gift and meet some new friends, just like I did last year. Above all else, have fun!!!

I haven't decided what to make for my Give-Away yet, but it'll be something like one of those displayed in the slide show. Oh wait, since we're going on a 'Magic Carpet Ride', it seems appropriate that 'Your wish should be my command!!!' So you get to choose which sort of gift you'd like from one of the options displayed. I might even add some more items between now and the close of the event. Mmmm ...... I've always wanted to have a go at making some of my own jewelery. LOL. The ideas are running around inside my head and making me feel very dizzy!!! It really does feel like I'm on a 'Magic Carpet Ride' with all of you tagging along.

Woo Hoo!!!

I hope that I have many visitors from many parts of the world who decide to stop by and say, 'Hi!!!' The 'One World - One Heart' event actually begins 25th January and ends 15th February - I'll close off my comments at 8.00 p.m. (Lisa's time) and announce winners by 10.00 p.m. that same evening.

Ideally, participants should have an active blog to participate, but I'm just happy to have visitors to my blog. If you leave a comment on 'THIS POST ONLY' of my blog, with your world location (city/country) and a means to contact you (e-mail/blog address), you will have a chance to win one of my handmade or altered gifts.

Until next time......


Chris in Oz

Sunday, 24 January 2010

I'm still here......

"Hi, everybody."

If you're still visiting my blog I want to say, "Thanks, for sticking by me." I've had another bad year and I'm just managing to keep my head above water. I didn't create a great deal during 2009, but I did manage a few things, so I'll get together a 'catch-up' post in a couple of days. I'm looking forward to a happier and more productive 2010.

Until next time......

Chris in Oz