Sunday, 23 December 2012

Signing off

All of us here at the Villa are full of anticipation for a lovely Christmas Day with family.  Whatever your year end entails, I hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday season and take time to re-charge ready for another year.  Wishing you the best of health and happiness in  2013!

Signing off here for 2012 - see you in the New Year!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Test Run

Fish Test Piece

I've been having fun playing with shells, mosaic tiles, paint and shiny cardboard.  This pic shows my simple test piece, made to ensure that the glue sticks and the paint adheres properly to the 'corflute' board (a strong lightweight material) I am using.  So far so good!  I have a large piece to go inside a frame that I will work on over the next week or so.

A solution has been found to my market woes - I will be displaying my paintings in a few large wicker baskets for people to sort through, with maybe just one large painting displayed on an easel.  Although my stall won't have the gallery look I had previously, it will still have a nice market vibe and will no longer be prone to gusts of wind.  Amy who runs the market tells me that there are volunteers available to help me set up, so it's all systems go for the next market day in February 2013.  Yay!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Mirror, Mirror...........

This mirror I found today at my local Salvation Army store.  It's in really good condition and I am going to sand it and paint it.  An amazing find!  You can see Max sleeping in the background after a night shift then a hot and muggy Saturday.

His car, left as usual at a train station overnight, was broken into and vandalized yesterday.  Not a good day for him to come home to!  Thank goodness for insurance, hire cars and tow trucks!

Lately, I am making mixed media fish using my collection of seashells and other materials.  So much fun and a change of scene from simply painting!  Will show you soon!

Sunday, 9 December 2012



Today, as I usually do on sunny Sunday mornings, I walked up to buy the newspapers.  I love to make myself a coffee and sit outside under the shady umbrella and read/drift away in meditation for an hour or so............... 

The shoe store has been very busy this past week because of a summer sale.  Then in January it really ramps up with 'back-to-school'  ie. hundreds of school kids needing to be fitted for black school shoes!  I'm not complaining though, I really enjoy the buzz in the shop when it's full of people!

I have put my art market on hold for the time being, a pity since I will miss the potential of a pre Christmas market.  I have had problems with strong gusts of wind blowing over my paintings (not good for business!) Also, I no longer have a market buddy to help me set up since my son became a working man.    Not sure where I will go from here, so I'm taking a month or so to think about things.

The christmas tree and twinkling lights are up, a few gifts have been bought and wrapped and I will be spending Christmas day with extended family in Sydney, something we haven't done for years!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Still Journaling

Journaling still.  I haven't posted journal pages for a while, though it continues to be something that I love to do.  This page was a sketch of my frangipani tree I have in a large planter out the back, then on the next page the results of an art journal class pasted into the journal.
This page is simply about gratitude and the portrait pasted in, is of me back in 2005 in serious mode!  I have moved on from here in leaps and bounds.  Amazing how we don't stand still, even though it may seem that we do sometimes!  That's why it is good to do a self portrait every few years to see the changes!
This evening a spring storm is brewing.  There is thunder in the distance.  It is warm and humid and is kind of still despite all the background action.  I'm loving the atmosphere! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Spring Pottering

Jess The Border Collie
I love this pic of Jess the Border Collie, she looks so pretty with the pink daisies behind her.

I've been enjoying a week off from work, allowing plenty of time to potter around the villa.  I have planted a row of bright orange impatiens along my rear fence line and they will look fab once they've grown up a little.

The rest of the garden out the front is growing beautifully and we will add a little more summer colour soon to our mostly purple and white palette.

We continue to be visited by water dragons.  They love the buddha because it is concrete and retains the heat.  This guy chose to sit on the buddhas head!

I hope your days are treating you well too.  Happy November!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Countdown to Christmas

This is our outdoor entertaining area at the Villa.  We have a lovely table and chairs to sit at, lots of plants in tubs & pots and plenty of shade, making it a lovely yin spot for hot summertime barbeques.

We have been purging a lot of old bits and pieces, springcleaning I suppose!  Always a good feeling to clear the decks!  We promised ourselves when we moved into the Villa that we wouldn't gather too much 'stuff' and have kept to this so far.

I read a post by Michell Chant recently on facebook, suggesting that we support small business and local people, markets etc for Christmas gifts, instead of the big players in retail.   What a great idea!  And who wouldn't love to avoid a Mall at Christmas time?  I did this last year and hope to do the same again this year.   Countdown to Christmas starts now!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Small Spaces

My tiny office space.....  I love my small spaces in the villa, they are so intimate and cosy!

We lived for a long time in a large home with many bedrooms and living spaces, yet our snug villa is so much more inviting. 

I have bought my 2013 Diary already and am looking forward to filling it up.  Planning  a small holiday for early next year after a predictably busy January.  Life is full!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


On Sunday I travelled south on a silver train to Sydney's harbourside Kirribilli.  I was visiting my daughter for the day.

Kirribilli Markets were on and full of a lovely vibe!  We browsed for a while then I bought a French inspired shopping bag (I love it!) some scented melts for my oil burner and a divine loaf of rasberry & pear bread  (now sliced and frozen for future treats).

Markets make you hungry, so we wandered off to find a place to eat lunch and settled on Yum Cha and a pot of green tea on an upstairs veranda, overlooking a leafy street lined with Golden Robinia trees.

I got to share some valuable together time with my daughter, we don't see each other enough!

Afterwards we went for a walk along the harbour, alive with people and watercraft.  We sat and talked till the shadows grew long.  Then back home again on the train alongside the Hawkesbury River.

Friday, 21 September 2012


Is it the 22nd already?!  Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Enjoying my job enormously, enjoying my market equally!

The above little guy (or gal) visits our villa on a regular basis.  These birds are so beautiful and comical at the same time!  They nudge each other and preen each other constantly.  A loving family at work!

These trees are red bottlebrush getting ready to flower for spring/summer, with lots of tall gum trees in the background.

I am so proud of my son and daughter apropo of nothing at all - they are both in jobs they love and it is wonderful to see! Familys produce some wonderful adults, with just a little love as the fertilizer!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Spring Things!

Beautiful Mandevilla (Dipladenia) on my front verandah, a most rewarding plant!

Lavender and parsley, both loving the sunny patio at the villa.

Tibouchina, flowering despite Jessa the Border Collie sitting on them!

Lime blossom, so sweet and fragrant!

Peekaboo pottery, hiding behind the greenery!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Pocket Change

This week Bliss Fruit has been featured on the wonderful blog  Pocket Change

If you get the chance, go take a look at the other featured bloggers too!

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday Notes

This week I have had a couple of days off and I spent yesterday with my sister Anne at the beach.  We had lunch at a very nice beach cafe , then walked along the sand with the waves at our feet.  We bought some ice creams and sat on the rocks overlooking the beautiful, sparkling Pacific Ocean.  It doesn't get much better!

Today was a busier day where I travelled from plant nursery to plant nursery, looking for a particular plant - Dipladenia (Mandevilla).  I wanted pink and on my fourth nursery visit, I found them!  So I bought four for some terracotta planters I have on my verandah at the villa.  It was a hot and windy afternoon, courtesy of Spring, so I potted them up, fertilized and watered them in.  They look very happy in their new home!

Saturday is the SpringFest Market,with extended trading hours (8am till 3pm).  It should be a lovely day!  If you are a local, come out and visit all the stall holders, you will be very welcome!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Supporting the Homeless

I can't think of a more appropriate night to have been raising money for the Homeless.  It was raining hard and icy cold.  I shuddered in my light-weight cocktail outfit....  My feet got cold and wet on my way from the car to the coctail party venue, the Worthington BMW showroom at Kariong.  Poor me!

A Rotary organized event - the 6th Annual Portrait Prize and Art Exhibit opening cocktail party was held last night to raise money for  Coast Shelter.  I submitted a self portrait and some other works for consideration by the judge.  No luck for me however, though it was a great feeling to see all the local art and to try and make a difference in our community.

I had my supporters with me, Lauren, Phil and Miki.  Thanks to the three of you for coming out on such a wild and woolly night, it was fun!

Friday, 17 August 2012


I love creating these bowls of fruit, they represent abundance to me.  I'm fortunate to have plenty of it and my actual fruit bowl looks a lot like this one and at the moment it is overflowing with bananas, apples, strawberries and vine ripened tomatoes!

I've entered my first art competition/exhibit and I'm looking forward to an opening cocktail party and a weekend of rubbing shoulders with art lovers.  All in support of a good cause. More on this later!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

At The Villa

  • Keeping warm and cosy inside even though it's icy cold outside.

  • Loving my shiny new dishwasher!

  • Winter market cancelled due to gale force winds and rain, means more time to prepare for Spring market!

  • Beautiful sweet, fat, red strawberries are in season!

  • Two sleep-ins in a row means I get to catch up on sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mid Winter Market

We are at that place in the middle of winter where I have begun to yearn for warmer weather in a big way.  Even though today is a perfect day, all of us here at the Villa have head colds and have taken to bed!  It seems wrong to be under the doona when the day is so beautiful, but we all need the rest in order to get better.

This week I take my paintings down from the exhibit at Hornsby Library, ready for my August market.  The theme this time will be 'Supporting Local Talent'.  Each market seems to get bigger and better, so wrap up warmly and come along to support stall holders if you can. (11th Aug. - 8am to 1pm, Kibble Park, Gosford)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Loving Gesture

I bought these deep red silk magnolias last week after hearing that one of my co-workers had passed away after a short but severe illness in hospital.  The news stunned us all.  D was a beautiful person in every way and will be sadly missed by our team.  We girls are wearing red shoes to her funeral this week as a loving gesture.  D loved red!

Monday, 16 July 2012


Today I spent a few hours hanging twelve of my artworks at a local library in the large, empty meeting room.  I am doing a co-exhibit "Colour Effervescence" with sensational fellow artist Judy McFadden for a couple of weeks.

The hanging system is a basic one, however to get things straight and aligned was quite tricky!  We tried not to swear and eventually we had a fantastic result!  It's always great to see your own paintings hung!

These pics are 'faraway' ones, though you get the idea!

One painting missed the call however, as it flipped over in a gust of wind at my weekend market and the glass smashed to pieces!  The painting was not damaged luckily and simply needs the glass replacing.

Then I get my paintings back in time for my next exhibit on 4th August.  Stay tuned!

Monday, 9 July 2012


House at Night
I've never had so many hugs than I've had these past few days!

We visited a very dear friend on the weekend up on the Gold Coast of Queensland for her 70th birthday.  It was quite a reunion, with friends and family coming from far and wide.  It was a surprise reunion and I must have hugged more than a dozen people, multiple times across the weekend!  I feel so loved!

Then today in the shoe store a lovely lady came in for some comfortable shoes and was very cheerful till we came to say goodbye, then she broke down in tears all of a sudden, telling me about her husband passing away recently and how difficult it was for her.  I got all teary too and we hugged in the middle of the store.  Another loving moment with a total stranger!

I'm visiting my Auntie Pam tomorrow and I'm betting there's another hug to come!

Angel Bookmark

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Birthday Week

Trees.  I just love them!  Another visit to my local primary school went well.  I chose trees as the theme for our art and there were some wonderful and interesting results.  Kids are so observant!

A busy week in the shoe store culminated in my birthday celebrations - a birthday cake complete with sparklers and candles right in the middle of the store while I was serving a customer, lots of cards and gifts and well wishes.  Then dinner at 'Onda' restaurant at Terrigal with my closest family being the icing on the birthday cake!  Thankyou everyone for a very special day!

I am preparing for a co-exhibit at Hornsby Library (near where I work) with Judy, a dear artist friend of mine.  She also has colourful art work and our exhibit title is "Colour Effervescence" reflecting the one thing that unites our art. Lots to do. lots of excitement!

Another market at Kibble Park, Gosford (8am till 1pm) is coming up soon on the 14th July and I can't wait!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Teaching and Learning

Yesterday I headed off to one of our local public schools, on their invitation, to be a part of their 'Artist in Residence Program'

I had three sessions of Years 4 to 6 and we painted tropical fish in beautiful colours and exciting patterns, with seaweed, coral and other sea creatures like crabs and jelly fish.  The kids were amazing and produced sensational results! They taught me a lot!  By my third session I was feeling more at ease with my teaching skills.  I am back for more next week and I am so looking forward to it!

Today was my regular journal class with Jen and Judy.  We collaged with the idea of creating a tapestry or weaving.  I have been watching lots of Bollywood movies lately and my choice of colours in fabrics, papers and 'bits and pieces' was heavily influenced by India and those beautiful saris!  Hope you like the little bird!

Friday, 15 June 2012


My studio has had a few changes over the years. I've been in bedrooms, loungerooms, family rooms, and on my lap!

Today I have a designated room in our three bedroom villa, so special to me!

I have a long trestle table to do the bulk of my artwork on and now, i have a second glass topped table to take my iPad and completed artworks. I kept searching for extra space to put things and now I have it!  My studio is working so well and I am very happy with the arrangement. It's complicated and messy, yet somehow it is organized!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

One Big Step

I'm thinking about how one big step out into the world can lead to so many opportunities!  I am scheduled to teach a bunch of school children next week in the ways of my art, and I am about to launch an evening art journal class for some lovely working ladies in a couple of weeks, and preparing for a local art competition too!

My June market was successful in many ways, not least of which was selling a few paintings and bookmarks and I loved people-watching as they wine tasted and cheese tasted, while listening to the Gosford City Jazz Band entertain us, and of course taking in my art too!  All under beautiful blue sky, sunny, winter skies!

So I am back in the studio making art to sell and keep the wheels chugging along!  Loving my days and sometimes evenings, creating!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Winter Cosiness

winter cosiness
Carla Blazek has posted her summer to-do list and it is filled with wonderful things, go check it out!

However, i'm a southern hemisphere girl and I thought I would post my winter to-do list from down-under!

  • cook something (anything!) warm and hearty
  • snuggle in for a sleep-in at least once a week!
  • wear my Planet boots (flat, side-zip ankle boots in vintage stone)
  • enjoy my air conditioning
  • sit in my north facing sun room with Max and enjoy the winter rays
  • spend quality time in my studio with my new lamp
  • take Jess the border collie for a long walk
  • eat lots of bright orange imperial mandarins
  • shuffle about in my slippers
  • take hot showers
  • watch movies
  • eat mustard
  • sink into big fluffy doonas
  • have lots of early nights
  • light candles!
I think you get the picture!

Happy 'transit of Venus' to everyone, something we all share!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Today has been rainy and cold, grey and misty.  Light in my studio was becoming a problem, so I ventured out in the weather to buy a new one.  I found a nice fluoro light with a purple base, my favourite colour and now my desk is bright like a sunny day!

I've been creating self portraits in preparation for a portrait prize I hope to enter soon.  My daughter, one of my very first subjects, has volunteered to be my model and I'm looking forward to painting her yet again!

Journaling has been ebbing and flowing with my busy life, weaving a lovely tapestry of me.  Just what it's all about!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Keeping Warm

It's been a week since I last posted and so much has been happening!  I have sent in five more paintings for framing, set up an evening class for art journaling and have been invited to join a portrait competition/exhibition in support of the homeless people in my area. I'm up for it!

Meanwhile it's coming up winter sale time in the shoe store and it's all hands on deck! I've been relaxing in the evenings reading Danielle Laporte's Firestarter Sessions   Just what I need right now, then I will pass the book on to my daughter who has her own dreams to be ignited!

It's cold and wintery here as we head into June, though the sky has been clear and sunshiny.  There is rain forecast for the rest of the week and I am planning to be all cozy in my studio.  Looking forward to a couple of days of art!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

One Quarter

This is a corner of my latest painting, one quarter of the way through.  As usual, it looks like nothing much, as though you have just applied foundation to your face and are yet to put on the eyeshadow, eyeliner and blush! Too early to judge, so I need to keep moving on towards the finish line.  I love this stage though, when it's all about possibility.  Anything can happen!

I'm feeling the effects of a pre-winter cold today, all sniffly and sneezy.  So I'm keeping myself warm and rested and drinking lots of tea in the hope that it will pass me by.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Market Day

My son Phil and I headed out to our local market early this morning, a clear and sunny Saturday.  This pic is us setting up in the middle of the park.

The day started off slowly, then gradually the crowd built up.  I sold one large painting, one small and a few bookmarks.  I took the details of a teacher who writes children's books wanting to join my art journal group, gave out plenty of flyers and business cards, chatted to a representative from a local public school running an art program they want me to join and most importantly, received loads of positive feedback from so many about my art and its originality.  One of my paintings was sold to an Aussie celebrity, our first Master Chef  Julie Goodwin who was signing her latest recipe book at the market for Mother's Day!  Very chuffed! 

I couldn't be happier about our first day!

Friday, 4 May 2012

New Toy


This is me, courtesy of my new Ipad!  I'm having lots of fun using the voice recognition microphone too!

Things have been peaceful here at the villa.  Lots of blue sky and sunshine, hard work in the shoe store and many plans ahead.  Next week I dip my artistic toe into the water and display my original artworks at a market stall.  It will be interesting to see the reaction and I will keep you posted on my first day's activity!

Meanwhile, I will be making art in between work days, leaving not much time for anything else.  Happy times!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


  • Creating - flyers, signs and business cards to advertise my art
  • Planning - a successful business brainstorming session with my hubby
  • Seeing - newly planted 'tibouchina' grow and develop soft, fuzzy purple buds
  • Autumn cooking - meaning soups, roasts and pastas.
  • Walking - lots! 
  • Enjoying - watching my son play soccer - no wins yet!
  • Pinning - I'm about to begin using Pinterest!

Thursday, 12 April 2012


messy studio in motion
Easter was a wonderful break and I was able to catch up with family - daughter, sisters, brother, nieces & nephews, inlaws and friends.  Family always recalibrates me like nothing else does!  My sister Cate invited me for an impromptu visit of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and lunch at The Rocks and it was a wonderful afternoon!  I ended the day by catching a ferry across Sydney Harbour and past the Opera House to see my daughter on the other side and it was a sparkling clear day!

Since then I have been able to spend some time in the studio - an acrylic painting this time - unfinished, though I am happy with its progress so far.  I hope your Easter was everything you wanted it to be also!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Snow Tree

I'm looking forward to a few days break at Easter time, an opportunity to do some more painting, chill at home and catch up with family.  Our villa's garden is newly planted and will soon be doing its job of growing into a hedge along our fenceline.  We have lots more to do and may make a start on 'Stage 2' over the break.  It's a lot of work but we are enjoying seeing the new garden emerge immensely!

I've been busy too, setting up my art business, creating business cards and gathering all that I need to display my work, such as tables, easels etc.  More on this later!  I've been blown away by the support and suggestions family, friends, workmates and blogfriends have given me.  Thank you all, it means a lot to me ... xx

Saturday, 24 March 2012

A Country Wedding

 My niece Katie and her beau Anthony were married on Friday at Mudgee in country NSW.  It was a perfect wedding and the day was a warm blue sky one.  We stayed in Mudgee for a few days and enjoyed all that this lovely town has to offer, eating out at little cafe's serving delicious local produce.

The wedding was perfect in every way and Katie looked so beautiful! Gorgeous old wedding cars....

 The reception was a black tie affair and we enjoyed champagne on the lawn at Bunnamagoo Winery as the sun went down, moving inside at nightfall into the marquee decorated with chandeliers. Lovely food and wine, good company and plenty of dancing!

We reluctantly headed home after a fantastic few days.  Thanks Katie and Anthony!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Finding a Rhythm


I've been cross examining my time this past week and I've found that early morning (6am to 9am) is my peak productive time.  For anything really.  Who would've thought?  Now, after breakfast - oats, blueberries and greek yoghurt...I enjoy a cup of coffee, then art! I'm working less days in the shoe store, so the pressure is off there for a while, giving me more time at home.  I'm in the studio in the afternoons & evenings too, but doing different things that need less concentration.  A good time for planning etc.

The result is I am back into the rhythm of making art again.... And the exciting thing is, that I've found an outlet to sell my art & designs.  More to come on this....  Right now, everything is too nebulous to share. Definitely an exciting development!

These bookmarks were made purely for the joy of colour!

Have you ordered your copy of Seth Apter's  The Pulse of Mixed Media .  I have and can't wait for it to arrive!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Creative Process

Star Jasmine
Our garden renovation continues with more plants being pulled out today.  Gradually a plan is emerging as to how we want it to look.  A mass planting of star jasmine will give us a beautiful carpet/ground cover (see above) and an informal hedge along our fenceline of Murraya Panniculata is on the list.  Both are fragrant and pretty.  We will need a couple of tall feature shrubs and I am researching those to find the right ones for the spot.  Something with colourful flowers ......

Right now the garden is full of weeds and looks quite ugly and messy.  My garden buddha sits calmly in its midst, waiting patiently for it all to happen.  Creating is all about the journey however, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the process, however long it takes!