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