Friday, 23 December 2011

Happy Yuletide!

I have a week to relax and enjoy being with family this Christmas.  I'm looking forward to decorating the table for our Christmas lunch that my foodie daughter will cook for us and exchanging gifts.

I wish all who visit me here a joyful Christmas, whatever shape it takes for you, and a safe and happy start to 2012!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Summer Pics

water dragon at the villa

I thought I'd share a pic of one of the water dragons that visit us here each summer.  They are quite comical to watch as they skitter along and they can even climb up walls!  This guy jumped up into a tub where my tahitian lime tree is planted and sat there for a while surveying the scene. We have to make sure we keep the doors shut or they may come inside!

the chill chair

This pic is my amazing Op Shop find in a corner of my sunroom.  I had the cushions re-upholstered and we now call it the 'chill chair'.  It's a peaceful place to sit and read, or just relax with a cup of tea, even when it's raining.  The flowering plant is a begonia and the greenery, a parlour palm.

Hoping to get back to some art this rainy summer afternoon, it's been a while!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Paris, sadness & happiness!

Phoebe in the Herb Garden at Rembrae
I spent the afternoon in Paris today.......   'Midnight in Paris', actually!  A movie I enjoyed, particularly because it took me back to that beautiful city I enjoyed visiting years ago!  Loved the double era theme too!

I am sad, since Phoebe, the difficult cat died last week.  Old age, nothing horrible, but sad still.  She entertained us enormously with her strong character. She loved water and would knock me over to get in the shower in the mornings.  And she went crazy over the scent of rockmelon!  Rest in Peace Phoebe... we loved you lots!

Happy, because I have finished buying christmas gifts and can't wait to give them out!  Looking forward now to a relaxing Christmas break!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Vineyards

Today my family and friends went on a bus tour of the Hunter Valley, a wine producing region in New South Wales.  We were celebrating my sister Helen's 60th birthday and re-connecting with each other.  There were views to die for............

Lambloch Vinyard

Lambloch Winery

Wine tasting with sisters, in-laws, niece, nephew, my daughter and son, friends.............


Grapevines galore....... then a stopover at a cheese tasting......

Lunch at Bluetongue
A delicious lunch.......... then another stopover at a chocolate shop......

Blueberry Hill Winery

Lastly, more wine tasting at this small boutique winery on Blueberry Hill ............

Blueberry Hill Winery

Then home again on the bus....

Monday, 14 November 2011

Out and About

I went to the Hen's Nite of a friend on Saturday at The Arabian Lounge overlooking The Entrance, a seaside location near where I live.  By candlelight, we sat on ornate poufs, ate Lebanse food and watched a Belly Dancer perform.  Some of us visited a fortune teller! We danced the night away and smoked from an apple flavoured Hookah finishing off the night with coffee & Baklava.  It was heaps of fun!

Back here on earth, I have joined a Yogalates class since the gym didn't work out for me, my hours being so variable. We take over the top floor of the Surf Club with million dollar views of the beach, lay out our mats and spend 90 mins stretching and strengthening. Today, a very hot day, a sea mist rolled in, totally blocking out the horizon and any view of the beach. Amazingly, it disappeared as fast as it arrived. I love doing this class!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

......and a little bit me.

This journal page is  a little bit 'Klee' and a little bit me!

Today was hot and humid so I headed down to the beach for a little R & R and to drop in on a craft market being held there.  However everyone else had the same idea and I couldn't find parking anywhere!  Not to be discouraged, I drove to another waterfront location and enjoyed morning tea, while watching the bobbing boats, seagulls and other picnickers playing cricket on the grass.  I read the Sunday papers and attempted a sketch or two.  A totally relaxing morning!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Patchwork Fish

A patchwork fish design....

I have been enjoying my days off and today I watched the Melbourne Cup .  It is such an important race day for most Australians, we reckon it should be a public holiday!  A French horse "Dunaden" won today by a whisker!

Interesting fact: Did you know that Australian racehorses receive chiropractic care, because it makes them run faster? 

Sunday, 30 October 2011


I haven't made a piece of art for the longest time, so I enjoyed my evening ...

playing with watercolour and ink....

While outside the weather kept changing from sunny to rainy, humid to cool.... best described as changeable.  I think Spring has lost its way!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


I nearly discarded this twilight pic of my studio, since it's a little blurry.  But the glow of light at the centre of my table seemed to represent what it is like when I'm in creative mode.  All the energy concentrated in the one place....

Speaking of energy, I had a mad burst of it today and went for two walks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Then I spent the rest of the day clearing out cupboards and generally de-cluttering and cleaning.  It must be Spring!

Then a quiet evening journaling, listening to my son play guitar in his bedroom.  My front doors are open and you can hear the night creatures and feel the cool air floating about the room. The Sunday papers are still lying about from this mornings read.  Wishing you a relaxing Sunday too!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Off and Racing!

It was a beautiful Spring day today and I joined my work buddies for Ladies Day at the Races for our (slightly early) end of year function.  We all dressed up in our hats, high heels and fascinators, sipped bubbly and placed 'huge' bets of $2 a race!  We had the benefit of a corporate box and were waited on hand and foot.  We had enormous fun!

One of our team and his girlfriend entered the fashion competition but didn't get a place unfortunately!

The horses, the stars of the show, all looked to be in beautiful condition.  We left tired, happy and a little tipsy as the sun sank low in the late afternoon sky.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Everyday Things

A couple of journal pages ...made in the evenings after dinner.  TV is mostly uninspiring and distracts me from being creative anyway, so listening to music or ABC radio keeps me amused and productive at the same time.

Daylight saving hours have arrived at last with Spring lagging far behind, bringing us lots of rain and cooler weather.  I think it's going to be a wet summer somehow!

Looking back over old journals I see it's been 12 months since we sold our old  house and began packing to move.  My journal was a godsend during those stressful months and I filled up pages and pages with writing.  I can't believe time has moved so fast! 

I enjoyed a journal class with my regular ladies last week and we explored decorative borders and lettering, achieving great results by following a simple idea!

Filling my days off work with busy everyday things - washing the dog, shopping, weeding, planting, watering, sweeping, washing windows..... happy times!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Labor Day

This weekend is the Labor Day Long Weekend here in Australia.  My son thinks it's funny that he was born on Labor Day.  "Ha, Ha, Ha" said I!  "If you only knew!".  Tomorrow it is his 18th birthday and I have toasted him with a long, cold glass of sparkling shiraz...

My first child, a daughter, was a strenuous labor.  Hard, because I resisted the urge to push.  Nerves and uncertainty were present.  Yet I went into hospital at 10pm one evening and delivered a bouncing baby girl at 8am the next morning!  A relatively short labour.  I remember sitting up in bed eating bacon and eggs, (I was starving!) prior to breast feeding my also very hungry, new daughter.

My second, a son, was easier.  I had done pre-natal yoga and learned how to breathe and learned to lean my elbows on a chair and wiggle my backside during the contractions.  (funny to watch, I'm sure!)  I coped really well and although the cord was wrapped around his neck, which meant that I had to stop pushing at one stage, it was a much easier and quicker labour.  Arriving at hospital at 10pm in the evening and delivering a healthy baby boy at 15 mins past midnight.

I am glad that they both came into the world drama free and that they are there for each other as sister and brother.  Happy 18th Birthday Phil!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Spring Things

~ This week I spotted my first water dragon of the spring/summer season , it's been really warm and sunny, perfect weather for them!

~ We sat in our sunroom over a beer and planned a holiday for next year.  Thinking about it is almost as good as the real thing!

~ Went to our son's High School graduation ceremony, now he has to knuckle down for the Higher School Certificate  exam coming up soon.  Then school is out!

~ Listening to Spring rain falling heavily on our rooftop tonight, such changeable weather!

~ Iv'e been busy in the shoe shop with lots of people coming in for their summer sandals.  Love the buzz....

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Fish Story!

For some time now I have been in the midst of writing and illustrating a small children's story.  I have progressed much further than this pic shows, I am only sharing the very early birth process here.....  They are absorbing illustrations and I love the challenge!

Illustrate, then mask, then wash, then paint, then decorate...  lots of concentration required!  I am happy with how she has turned out so far and only have two more pages yet to go.

The story is very simple verse and the illustrations fun and colourful.  I am posting this to give myself a shove in the direction of finishing what I have started.  Onward to the finish line....!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Seeing the Changes

I've been looking back over old posts and I can see a change in me.  Olivia, ever intuitive,  has pointed it out on a couple of occasions.  We change all the time and sometimes it's easy to see, often it creeps up on us.

My life is so full these days - work is wonderful and I just love the people that come into the shop.  They all have their stories/problems/joys  and share these pieces of themselves willingly with me.  I feel as though I am a sales assistant slash psychiatrist more often than not!

Life at the villa is happy and relaxed....... we are enjoying gradually making improvements to it.  I bought a large cane chair recently at the Salvo's Op shop for our sunroom and I am having the cushion re-upholstered. This is a simple pleasure for me and I can't wait to see the result!

Days at the gym are lots of fun.  Who would have thought I'd be saying that about repetitious exercise!

I am back on facebook too, after a long break and I'm loving seeing what everyone is up to!

Mind body and soul all doing well!!

The pic of the boat I took a couple of years ago down at a local waterfront. There is a pair of ducks on the deck of the boat and I posted it just because I love it!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Herd of Elephants

A herd of elephants!  I began collecting these quite by accident and now have quite a few of them.  It's funny how collections grow and grow.... what you focus on becomes larger!

I'm enjoying going to the gym these days and meeting up with other ladies also getting sweaty wishing to develop some fitness, as well as walking Jess the border collie.  I'm feeling like a million dollars as a result!  Busy with work, household things and school things, all of them jostling with each son received an award for excellence in music... the ceremony was today and he played a guitar piece called 'Ocean' by John Butler.  It was an awesome performance and always makes me cry!

As a consequence of being busy my art journaling has been sparse and a little rough and ready.  The urge to create ebbs and flows.....

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Spring at the Villa

These are the flowers showing themselves off in my sunny garden today.  This red one is a grevillea - native to Australia.

Not sure what this pretty yellow one is - another native Australian plant....

A pink diosma, very pretty at this time of year.  The feathery leaves smell beautiful when crushed...

Jasmine hanging over our back fence, filling the air with a heady perfume.... Max cut it back, but it is a very determined plant!

And brightening the shadows, a snowball plant...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Paper Dreams

I love decorating paper and find it very meditative.  I have lots of ideas for more and I am thinking now about the quality of the paper I choose to decorate.  I know many people make their own, but don't know if I'm ready for that yet.  Though I dream of fragile rice-papers and rough & rustic papers, lots of deep colour. 

However right now,  I just like making the designs.  Stamps.  How do you make them?  I need to get to work in my studio but won't be back in it until Sunday.  Hold those thoughts!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pieces of Me

My dining room table - I light candles every single night, I just love them!  The winter berries in the vase are picked from a nandina plant growing in my garden.  This vignette changes with the seasons.....

This plant is so elegant, with sparse leaves that always float beautifully in the air with little support.

This is a New Guinea artefact my family inherited from my mother depicting a woman (meri).  Set against one of my paintings it looks at home I think.  The triptych painting was supposed to be a buddha, but ended up being some sad and soulful looking character!

This cat is a woooden sculpture bought at a local craft fair.  Whimsey at it's best!  A beautiful teacup given to me by my daughter sits in the dresser cupboard.

Plants, I love them so much and would have more if I was a little more crazy!  This is a tiny philodendron.  It will grow huge and climb up any support I give it.... one of life's metaphors I think!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Where are the Lorikeets?

While Phoebe the black cat is sleeping, the lorikeets come to play.................

They love these native Australian spring flowering plants.....................

Can you spot them all?.............................

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Another Week

This journal page was half an old painting of a fish and half a flower cut out of a magazine and embellished.  I've been spending lots of time in the garden and made another trip to the nursery to get some large saucers to put under the pots I bought last weekend.  While I was there I picked up a couple of gardenias for my sunroom....looking forward to the scent they produce, I just love them!  Ahh... Spring!!

Life is happy and I am setting off for the gym for the first time in my life next week for a trial period.  I'll let you know how it works out!  If it doesn't, I'll be back to yoga and walking the dog!  I hope your weekend is a good one too!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Brunfelsia Undulata

Today, a sunny and warm Saturday, I went to the plant nursery to buy some pots and plants for the front verandah of the villa. It was lovely being amongst all the plants, smelling all the flowers.  And there were so many pots, large and small to choose from, in so many beautiful colours with shiny glazes.

However, to tone in with the brickwork I chose four soft, smoky terracotta pots and then after wandering around the nursery for a while longer, picked out brunfelsia undulata with its exotic looking, creamy coloured, fragrant flowers and glossy leaves.  The pots actually match my garden buddha that you can see reflected in the window glass.  They look great and I'm very happy with my choice!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Days Off

A couple of journal pages ... first a design and secondly a page mentioning Margaret Olley, the Australian painter, philanthropist and National Treasure, who died this week. 

Days drift by so quickly and this week I've been enjoying five days off in a row.  This means catching up on household chores, and since we are being treated to some springlike weather, getting out into the garden... and it looks like a wilderness!  Weeding and mulching are on the to-do list and a little basking in the sun to top up on Vitamin D.  Looking forward to a trip to the Plant Nursery too,  to pick out some plants to put in some large tubs for the verandah.  I promise I'll post some pics when it's all done ....

Friday, 22 July 2011

Collage Paper

I decided to decorate my own collage paper, with great results!  I'm glad I decided to do this, it is so rewarding!  I hope you can see the apple against the three papers I created and pasted in my journal. 

First, make a wash of your favorite colour, then add a pattern in a darker colour, then add more pattern in a darker colour still, then highlight it with white.  Repetition is the key here!

I cut this sheet of painted orange/yellow paper and pasted it in stripes, then added some decoration in blue ...

Worlds apart from collage papers you can buy and so easy to do!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


I played with the idea of layers in my journal today, over a two-page spread.  Like the layers of sediment when you see a cross section of the earth, I applied gesso, acrylic, ink, watercolour, pencils and collage papers, allowing myself to just go with the flow... 

This meditation took an hour and a half while it poured with rain outside and I felt very peaceful at the end of it.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Overcast & Rainy

I got my wish!  Today was cold, overcast and rainy...  easy then, to put aside things you do on a fine day and devote time to finishing these two little paintings in watercolour, acrylic and ink... I do love those mediums!!

I have a little heater in my studio that keeps me toasty and warm, and I have a nice strong light to see by.  Phoebe the cat and Jess the Border Collie often join me for art sessions and love curling up on the sheepskin rug beside me.  Now it's time to heat up some soup for dinner....