April 5, 2012

{guest post} jodi wiley from art by wiley

I am so thrilled to have Jodi Wiley guest posting on the blog today! Jodi was my covert robin buddy and the gifts she made for me were so perfect I nearly burst with tears of happiness when I saw them. But, enough of me; meet Jodi! :)

Hi! I'm Jodi Wiley from Art by Wiley. I'm an artist and writer from Melbourne Australia and I'm so happy to be writing a guest post here today!

Recently I decided to participate in my first ever mystery gift exchange. I'd heard of craft swaps before but I never thought I could be part of one because I don't sew. I could try but the results would be less than impressive, believe me. But the Covert Robin swap had an emphasis on handmade rather than just sewing - so it was possible to create an illustration as a gift - hooray for me! So I signed up and was soon given the details of my partner.
Well, I spent a lot of time faffing around on her blog trying to work out what she'd like. Luckily, Kara here writes such an entertaining and lovely blog that it wasn't a hardship to lurk here for a while! But I'm sure you already know that ;)

At first I thought I might do something with this post of hers because trees are my thing and I loved these bright images. I was also struck by the Hal Borland quote at the end about a single tree warming the heart, which really gets to the heart of the kind of work I like to do with tree images. I played around with watercolour and pen for a bit but it just wasn't coming together. Below are the images I printed from this blog to work with.

So I kept browsing and then I saw this gorgeous bunting Kara made for her nephew. I knew I had my drawing. It had something from me in it (the tree) and something personalised for Kara - the bunting.

I created some sketches to decide on composition and which elements to include (at one point there were two trees in it). Then when I was happy with the layout I started on the final.

While I was creating the illustration I shared a sneak peek on my blog, which was then shown by Rachael at Imagine Gnats. Well, a lot of people came over to look at my humble little drawing. It sort of gave me a bit of stage fright, to be honest! I kept working on the drawing and then something happened, which sometimes happens to me. I overworked it. Yup. I kept going long after I should have stopped and I ruined it. So, the image you see here is not the same image in the sneak peek a few weeks ago because I started again! This is not such a bad thing though because in the second one I was able to refine some of the techniques I used in the first and, honestly, this one is so much better and I'm a lot happier with how it's turned out.

I would have liked to send it over to Kara framed but the cost of postage to the United States from Australia was crazy-expensive. So I compromised and sent it with the mat only. I also included a few hand-illustrated cards I created for a market a while back, along with a little letter on the back of the sheet I'd been experimenting on for my original idea using the tree quote.

I can't tell you how excited I was to hear back from Kara that she'd received it. And even better was hearing that she liked it! Phew! This whole Covert Robin experience has been an amazing one. I got to create something special for someone I didn't know and in the process, I made a new friend! Yay!

Kara, here- Jodi, thank you SO MUCH for your beautiful gifts! I have framed all five of these treasures and will be hanging them in my house promptly; I'll be sure to share pictures when I do. Also, you were so sneaky with this project! You even started following me on Pinterest and I didn't even notice... tricky, tricky. ;)

Folks, this covert robin swap by Rachael from imagine gnats was the real deal! This too was my first ever craft swap and I couldn't be happier with the process and the results. I had the opportunity to make some lovely gifts for Megan over at City Stitches (more on that another day!), received absolutely gorgeous gifts from Jodi and made a friend in the process. I am one lucky girl. :)


  1. Okay, I had to comment just so an angel gets her wings. I'm a friend of Jodi's and love this idea of the covert robin. If I was crafty at all I'd love to join up because it sounds like a wonderful experience.

  2. i'm so glad that you both had such a great time with this! (and that you're both so darned lovely doesn't hurt!!!) big hugs :)

  3. Hi gals. Another Aussie - Ballarat, Victoria. Imagine my thrill for my first ever swap to somehow end up a co-host. Still pinching myself. I have become involved with some wonderful fellow crafters in blogland and being new to the whole thing I am still marvelling over the kindness, friendliness and generosity of all involved. The thing that has touched me the most about this swap is the effort everyone has gone to to really personalise their gifts to their swap partners. Very lovely. I am envious of your wonderful talent. I am a quilter and a knitter and can't draw to save myself!! Congratulations.


  4. These are simply beautiful!!

  5. I love the items you sent Kara. I can't wait to check out your blog!

  6. Oh my gosh, those are gorgeous. Just gorgeous! I'm gonna have to click over and look at more pretty artwork!


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