Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Legend of the Dream Box

 ALF Creations really began in 2005 with Amy coming up with 'The Legend of the Dream Box'. The book has been given to our friends and family over the years and it has sold well at craft fairs. Here is the blurb from the back of the book and a couple of pages from the inside.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

At the piano

In kind of celebration of me playing the piano in various concert scenarios over the past six years I have put a new playlist on 8tracks called 'At the piano'. It features performances by lots of other people, of piano music I have enjoyed playing and listening to in these last few years and beyond.

I also added another new list 'Midnight Jazz' which I am still working on and more tunes to my existing lists. To 'Lorna's Songs' I added 'New Ways' and 'Richard's Things'.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Lorna on Wattpad

I joined Wattpad four months ago, when I posted 'The Watering Hole', which I wrote as a teenager. I have now added three poems, another piece of flash fiction and a short story. You can read more of my stuff by clicking here. I'm still learning about Wattpad and need to explore it a bit more.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Need Fairy

I came up with the story of the Need Fairy when I had just moved into my house, before Amy was born. It wasn't until over ten years later that I had the time to work the idea into a proper story. Amy did the pictures for the story one wet Autumnal afternoon and I made a small book out of the illustrated story which we sell on our craft stall.

I have now added The Need Fairy to my Wattpad account, it is divided into eight parts, as it is in the story book; Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Ash Wednesday, Mother's Day, Palm Sunday, Easter Day and Christmas Eve. You can find the story here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Flight of the Phoenix Fairy

While I was demoing my song 'Phoenix' I was imagining the sort of journey video that could accompany it. I had always been fascinated by animation and with the advent of home computers, inspired by a visit to the Museum of Childhood and becoming more skilled with the use of Paint Shop Pro, Gif Animator and Movie Maker, I was very pleased to put together my own small animated films. 'Flight of the Phoenix Fairy' is one of my most elaborate animations and is featured in the larger ALF Creations film 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Craft Stall at Eastcote URC

I was late for the charity coffee morning at Eastcote URC as I made the classic mistake of turning up at the worng church. When I eventually arrived at the right church, and after a very humble apology, the morning actually went rather well. The people were pleased to see me and interested in my crafts. I was pleased with the response to my new ALF Christmas cards, they nearly sold out! Also popular were my lavender scenters and my knitted gadget pouches. In the end I did well enough to give quite a generous donation to the Michael Sobel Hospice, so I think I went some way to redeem myself, even after such an inauspicious start. It has highlighted the fact that I must give some  more time and thought to my future crafting endeavours.



Saturday, 14 November 2015

Dancing Days

Dancing Days is inspired by The Red Shoes, the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, the Powell and Pressburger film starring Moira Shearer and the album and extended music video by Kate Bush. In the poem the dancer dances for the Gods and celestial bodies who represent the days of the week.

Monday is the moon's day
Tuesday is Tiu's day, God of War (like Mars)
Wednesday is Woden's day, God of the hunt and also Mercury, God of travel
Thursday is Thor's day, God of thunder
Friday is Freya's day, Goddess of love and beauty (like Venus)
Saturday is Saturn's day, Ruler of a happy, virtuous earth
Sunday is the sun's day

Monday, 9 November 2015

Back on 8Tracks

Two of my playlists weren't working on 8tracks so I had to go back and find more tracks for 'Music from the dawn of time' and 'Music collection'. I found a lovely version of 'My Funny Valentine' by George Kahn from 'Secrets from The Jazz Ghetto'. I'm really pleased a lot of people are listening to my songs and some people are liking them. You can find my 8tracks channel here.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lorna on Wattpad

I joined Wattpad three months ago, but I remember at the time not being able to fathom it out very well. I was looking for a place to put my creative writing and my daughter's friend said she put writing up on Wattpad, so I felt this might be the place to aim for. Looking at the site anew it seemed to make a bit more sense and so I decided to take the plunge and upload one of my flash fiction pieces, it's called 'The Watering Hole' and you can find it here.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Christmas gifts for St. Mary's

I've been working on Christmas flavoured gifts in January and October this year and have come up with a small collection that I'm quite happy with and glad I have enough for a decent donation for the St. Mary's Christmas bazaar. Among the gifts are ALF christmas cards, Comfort and Joy star heart dolls, lavender baubles, knitted gift pouches and a variety of sleeping angels.



Friday, 30 October 2015

Vampire Kiss

This old poem was inspired by Dracula, the recently drawn accompanying picture is inspired by Edward and Bella from Twilight.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Making friends with YouTube

I've been wondering what to do about my old YouTube account for a while, I've been adding videos to it, on and off, since 2008. It's been a bit hit and miss over the years, but I thought, on the whole, it's worth keeping. My teenage daughter's very keen on YouTube, too keen probably, but I felt there is more I could be getting out of the service so I decided to adopt a new strategy.

I had a few videos I wanted to upload, a couple of old animations, a more recent montage of old ALF pictures and an idea for a new video. I uploaded my old videos and thought I would have a go at the new idea.

The new idea is The Antique Junk Shop, which is a montage of new pictures I have drawn, inspired by one of my poems and accompanied by one of my songs. The new video has been created using the new Movie Maker, I preferred the old one, but have a new computer, so now have the new Movie Maker as well, I'm still quite pleased with the result. After uploading my videos, I thought more deeply about what to do.

My old YouTube account has always been for uploading my 'ALF Pictures' videos, it's its raison d'etre, but I wanted somewhere I could go to search what other people are doing and keep track of that rather than somewhere I go to upload my own efforts. So I came up with the idea of having two accounts.

My old account, LornaJHart, is still for uploading my videos, when I feel the need, I think of it as my 'experimental' account. My new accout, Amilo Finn, is where I am mostly going to collect playlists of other people's videos that I find inspiring, I think of it as my 'inspirational' account. To keep them linked AmiloFinn has subscribed to LornaJHart and vice versa.

While I was at it I also added The Antique Junk Shop to my Vimeo channel. The LornaJHart channel and my Vimeo channel are listed on the side links of my blog and the new AmiloFinn YouTube channel is here. I have 'fave ' playlists on both my YouTube accounts which I hope people will enjoy.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Wild Night

'Wild Night' is a description of the sort of nocturnal disturbances I see in October. In the ALF Creations 'Something More' poetry book the poem is set against Amy's windy and rainy pictures.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Shadow Magazine

Shadow magazine lasted for four proper issues and a holiday special. I produced the magazines when I was about eleven and had just started at secondary school. The magazine was inspired by the girls' magazines I used to love at the time, particularly Jinty, Spellbound and especially Misty.

In the spring edition there was a cartoon mouse called Bernie, stories about cats and brothers, a feature on the zodiac, adverts for James Bond and Narnia and recipes. The summer issue featured a cartoon dog called Andy, an advert for Watership Down, a feature on special occasions, an agony aunt letters page, jokes and character descriptions.

In the Autumn there was a cartoon dog called Sammy Sniff, an advert for pyjamas, a short story called 'Girl on the pier' and a feature on the meaning of the months of the year. The Winter issue featured more Sammy Sniff, stories called 'The Ideal Present' and 'The Snowman' and a feature on owls.

The holiday special had more on the zodiac, adverts for boutique tissues and Miss Bianca, riddles and pictures of wildlife and tattoos. There were stories called Friend, After the Rain and Last Bus Home. 'Last Bus Home' I particularly enjoyed re-reading after all these years.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Of Dragons and Fairies

My daughter is now a sophisticated teenager and her child-like drawings are a thing of her past. I was going through her old pictures a little while ago and came across a project that we had left uncompleted. We have now completed it, it is called 'Of Dragon and Fairies' and I think of it as the last of the ALF childhood creations that I have been working on with Amy since she came up with 'The Legend of the Dream Box' in 2005.

The accompanying song by me is called 'The Feeling's Always There' and was recorded by associates of the Armada Singing Group based in Feltham.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Fruits of the Spirit

There is some debate as to how many fruits of the spirit there actually are. For my 'Fruits of the Spirit' Star Heart project I have rounded the number down to nine. So here are the nine fruits of the spirit in doll form: Faith, Constancy, Kindness, Joy, Integrity, Gentleness, Patience, Peace and Love.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Selfies from the Eighties

I was angst ridden as a teenager. Very keen on dead pop stars, Edgar Allan Poe and horror portmanteau films like Dead of Night and From Beyond the Grave. I still have similar tastes, but have lightened up considerably since then. Accompanying my gloomy self-portraits from my adolescence is a gloomy self-portrait in poetic form called 'Not a Very Pretty Sight'.

Not a Very Pretty Sight by Lorna Wadge

Someone looks out through the bathroom steam
There is a strange reassurance, things are not all they seem
Fingernails squeeze her skin curiously
In a desperate attempt to cure the acne
She can hardly see through an overgrown fringe
As she reaches for the baby soap and starts to cringe

I have heard about reflections
They make you look pretty by distorting the view
Just shows how many people gaze at themselves
Haven't they anything better to do

She looks slightly sallow and painfully thin
What a terrible state to get herself in
Her hair is reminiscent of a sad drowned rat
She wonders what she is looking at
Who could she possible be today?
When all teenagers are infamous anyway

She looks so ill, so unhealthily pale
It is not so attractive being young and female
Her eyes are anxious, dull and brown
They are looking at life when it is upside down

She dislikes herself from her head to her toes
And she is paranoid about her nose
How could anyone live with something like that?
She is wetter than the bathroom mat
Her mouth is dry, her thin lips are cracked
you can see the signs of a blues attack.

Freckles hide phobias, adolescence hides the smiles
Damp hides the scratches on the bathroom tiles
She looks rather tired, she knows it is all in vain
When I look in the mirror I will see her again

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Boy Toys with Manly Virtues

After drawing my three virtuous girls with blonde, brown and auburn hair, I thought I would do a complementary project for the boys. Of course virtues are for everyone, but I did a little research and came up with three 'manly' virtues that were also contemporary boys names; Loyal, Valliant and Earnest. I made the boy dolls before I worked on the pictures which are inspired by three contempoarary heroes; Jacob from Twilight, Ron from Harry Potter and Peeta from The Hunger Games. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blooks and Blogs

I began following blogs in 2010, the first blogs I followed were doll blogs; Jess Brown, Tiny Concept and the Black Apple. The blog I've admired most is Emily Martin's 'Black Apple' blog, I feel it is full of good, creative ideas and has been going since 2008. When I started doing the occasional craft fair, people would ask 'do you have anything I can look at on-line?' that's when I thought seriously about doing a blog myself. The best bit of advice I found was give yourself a few months to figure out what you are going to put on your blog. So I spent a few months over 2013 (intermingled with a lot of bereavement, I had 3 significant deaths to deal with over the space of a year) thinking about my blog. Anyway, I had various questions to find answers to, before I began.

1. How frequently will I post? I thought once a fortnight, once a week sometimes, but at least once a month.

2. How many years will I keep going? Five years seemed good to aim for in the first instance.

3. Do I have enough material to keep a blog going for about once a fortnight for five years? Once a fortnight for 5 years is actually 130 posts. I didn't begin my creative blog until I had ideas for one hundred posts I could put on my blog. I also have a 'hidden theme' for each month, based on a collection of short stories I wrote in my twenties and I thought other ideas for my blog would occur to me in the fullness of time.

4. How important are followers and comments? Well, obviously they are important and this area needs a lot of thought and development.

Another good piece of advice I found is also another question, above and beyond the number of comments and followers you get.

5. Is your blog something you like and are proud of? Well, I quite like my blog, and some posts are much better than others, and there's bags of room for improvement. So it's a little like life really, you carry on doing your best even if you sometimes feel very insignificant, maybe God is watching us after all.

Anyway to continue my blog in a positive way I have now joined Bloglovin'. Above are a few books I've purchased specifically because I love the blogs they're associated with and below are two good books on how to use Social Media to get the most out of it.

Blook Bibliography

Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin. New York, Random house, 2012

The Dazzling Darkness by Paula Cappa. Milwaukee, Crispin Books, 2013

Fairy Tale Food by Lucie Cash. Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova. London, Preface, 2012

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Retold in pictures by Becca Stadtlander. London, Frances Lincoln, 2015

Kiki and Coco in Paris. Photographs by Stephanie Rausser. Doll by Jess Brown. Story by Nina Gruender. Petaluma, Cameron and Company, 2011

Social Media Books

 Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley. Indianapolis, Wiley, 2010, 3rd ed.

The business of being social by Michelle Carvill and David Taylor. Richmond, surrey, Crimson, 2013

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pop Up Craft Stall

'ALF Creations at the Star Heart Cafe' took part in a summer fun day in Willow Tree Marina, Yeading. We were out in the open, so the wind became a bit of an issue, but we were otherwise blessed with a sunny day. We were one of two craft stalls there and were in competition with live music, a bouncy castle, a barbecue and a fire engine. It wasn't terribly successful for us, but I enjoyed the experience.

It was also a rare occassion where I had the other half of ALF Creations, Amy, with me. She had the idea of drawing bespoke pictures of interested customers, but things being what they were, at the end of the day she had just produced a rather fetching picture of me.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Grace and her daughters

After creating the original Star Heart Dolls I began to create dolls inspired by virtues, starting with the rainbow coloured contrary virtues followed by the primary coloured theological virtues. Grace is grey and her daughters are the cardinal virtues of Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance.