Thursday, August 31, 2006

Real Women - 4

I think that my creative woman has been inspired by Dot's art - look at those sparkles!

This has been a very busy week ... and I have made a new friend. My friend K's feisty, independent - but ill - Uncle had a fall earlier in the week. He was alone on the floor overnight and was lucky to be found by a census collector.

The situation has forced this little old man to admit he needs help, help K has been trying to give him more of for years. What a sadness in my heart when I saw the way he had lived. What a privilege to meet this digger (ex serviceman), to hear his stories of cricket and diamond mines. There is a hope in my heart that as he lives his final years I will be his friend - hear his stories, and occasionally, make him laugh, as he listens to mine.

All but my immediate family are in England. In 2000 I attended my Grandfathers 90th birthday, we lost him peacefully in 2005. Since 2000, when I spent time with my amazing, creative great Aunts, and chatted with both Nana H and Grandad S I have realised, that despite a wide circle of wonderful friends, my life is missing the wisdom of the old.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Same, same and different.

Hamish asks. "What is wrong with me? Charles is getting all the attention this week!" Seriously here is Hamish sitting on the same lap, in the same location as Charles earlier in the week. Different way up though. The funny little man nudges me until he is picked up and placed on his back on my knee. Thank you to everyone who asked about Charles, he is fine. And yes, it was ok to laugh at the previous post, by the time I wrote it I was standing a little outside of the situation and having a giggle too.
I have had a lovely totally relaxing day today. Lots of sleep, chat with friends, more sleep, a little school work and I did use these few decorated beads for some jewelry. The kids always comment if I wear new clothes or beads - even the boys (One lovely 14 year old commented when I wore new shoes - my feet have even become self conscious!)! I am quite pleased with the pin and will wear one of the strands of beads, the other is for a friend - pieces like this are almost disposable. I can wear them a few times and then perhaps use the beads on an altered book or journal.
Now for a challenge. I bought a new vacuum on Wednesday - tonight I removed it from the car, and I have even taken it out of the box. Oh my goodness, it has two heads! Apparently one is for hard floors (my wooden floor boards) and a turbo (((?))) head for the pet hair. Vacuuming is so, so not my thing, in fact I go without treats once a fortnight to have my beautiful cleaner come and deal with the noisy beast, however, tonight I must. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Work in Progress and a Deadly Visitor

Last night I fiddled with these beads until about midnight. I could of played all night - as you can see my mind bounced from style to style. I decided to finish off some of these, make some more, and make them up into jewelry over the weekend.

In an effort to wind down and get sleepy I hopped into the bath with a gin and tonic and a good book. I wish they made G and T perfume - love just getting a whiff of it. So there I am reclining one foot hanging out of the bath, two slices of freshly picked lemon floating in my drink and a trashy historical romance - guaranteed sleep material.

I hear Charles (He's been getting to much publicity lately, hence no new photo) crash, bang, thump, run ... Mildly annoyed by his bouncing on the wooden floorboards I picture him playing with one of his toy mice. Yep, at 3 1/2 he still loves to play. A favourite is to push a mouse under one of the floor rugs then dive under from the other side and look for it. Alternatively he will hide his toy behind one of the dining table legs and then spring to the kitchen, There he spins until dizzy runs back to the dining table and tries to find his mouse. I have no worries about his playing. And then a call of nature ...

As I make a nude dash (picture me wrapped in a towel, or still covered in bubbles if it helps), through the kitchen, I pause to adjust the gas heater, and glance down.

Hear palpitations, quickly drawn breaths ... there is a snake on the mat in front of the fire. Not to be too dramatic I will tell you that later, much later, I measured it and it was 52cm long about 21" for my American friends. Back to the gasping and hyper-ventilating. Is it alive? I am nude and it is 1.00am. Can't leave it - it might wriggle away. Where is Charles, is he ok? (Well, obviously or I would not be writing this). Brave, be brave ... Grab the barby tongs - quick grab the snake by the head - don't breathe at all during process.

Aaagh, dead ... head is damaged, bit missing from middle. It is dead. Keep tongs held tightly, find bag. Drop in clear plastic bag, tie top.

Hamish still asleep on study chair ... check. Phantom still asleep in lounge ... check. Charles on bed ... check, breathing, not sure, wake him up. Breathing... check. Start lap top. Wake Charles every minute to check he is alive (note, Charles is not happy at being woken frequently after an hours exercise), use other hand to Google Western Australian Snakes - all the time watching dead snake in bag ....

You are getting the picture. After no luck with Google and realising that at 3.00am it is 2 hours since I set off for the toilet I find that I am too scared to use the loo, after all there could be another one curled up under the seat! Well there could be, after all 30 years ago the 'Big Bad Wolf' lived down the loo at night. I pop the snake in the freezer and try to sleep. Then I start to imagine that this is not the first snake that Charles has brought in through the cat door, that he has let go of the others before he killed them ... after all every snake has a Mum, and a Dad, and google did say snakes have large litters ...

Well after no sleep at all I set off for work, with my now frozen snake on the seat beside me. It was identified there as a young tiger snake, highly venomous at any age ... It seems that Charles may have risked one of his nine lives last night and I have now had a very long afternoon nap.

Time to try for sleep, in the dark, again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Joyous Art and a Furry Friend

Here is a pic of Charles and I, (the dark blue is my knee, and the light my jumper) unwrapping a beautiful parcel. In our parcel - these two joyous prints by Kelly Rae Roberts (see my links). I check Kelly's blog every day and have so enjoyed watching her art journey over the past six months in particular. One day I will own a Kelly Rae original, but for now Charles and I are happy to hang these beautiful quality prints on our wall.
Today was a full one, but a fun one. I am off to choose spots on my walls for these lovely ladies, although they may not be hung until the weekend. Then I have an idea for some simple collage on large beads. Will share if it works ... try something else if it does not.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Real Women - 3

Does she travel? Or does she just dream about it?

Today a grotty 12 year old boy said to me, "Miss, I have been reading about over weight people, they usually have low self esteem, do you?" His comment did not upset me. What disturbed me is that he had so little respect, that I know he will go home and repeat the comment, and receive support, not correction from his family.

I love teaching, most of the time, I enjoy supporting teenagers through their emotional years, I like to empower them to choose their futures. I am however concerned that there is such a decline in community support for education and educators. I am also saddened that I teach many students who live in homes without a bookshelf and horrified that there are students who have never seen their parents read (sometimes because they can't).

In contrast I have a wonderful class of 14 year olds that I am teaching for the second year in a row. We are a mixed ability class ranging from a child with Down Syndrome to a couple that are gifted. What a joy it is to see them pull together as a team, to support each other, and to consistently give their best. I really love that their first question Monday morning is, "What did you make on the weekend?" :) This week they are helping each other write cv's and are so good at finding positives about each other - just a little more work on being bold about their own strengths.

And as I escape into another novel or biography I am on vacation - for a few hours at least.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The best made plans ...

It seems all my plans for this weekend have been way led by others. No big deal, except that I still have a list of things I must do, and would like to do, about the length of my arm, all before I go back to school tomorrow...

Oddly I did find time to find time to finish these mini clipboards ... So a swap, a gift and having learnt a little more - all achieved! Yeah! I will keep them next to me as I do some marking this afternoon - a reminder that I have had my fun, and that the garden is not calling me, that the list of ideas on my creative desk is one shorter.

I almost typed, 'perhaps next weekend', I thought it - then I gave myself a mental slap. I do not want to wish my life away waiting for the next moment. I want to enjoy the now. So off to see what progress my beautiful, hormonal, antsy, teenagers have made with this assessment.

Friday, August 18, 2006

At last ...

When I purchased my home four years ago the garden had not been touched for a decade. In fact the neighbour's stated, without any attempt at humour, that they did not believe the previous owner had ever stepped off the footpath leading to the car port. My beautiful lemon tree and this ornamental cherry were saved.

I love this tree, that it blossoms in winter when little else does, that it's leaves are a lovely marachino red and that it is part of my homes' history. Each winter I have meant to photograph it in blossom, and each winter I have left it too late - only to see a winter storm dash the blossom to the ground. Today, at last ... I remembered.

I remembered thanks to my lovely friend Dot (see links). I was looking for a sunny spot to photograph the egg people I received from her in the mail today. I bought the lovely blue egg from her (on e-bay), and generously Dot has included the pink one. Thank you Dotee.

While I have moved them safely inside, I have to say, they look gorgeous dangling among the blossoms of this favoured tree.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More Mail

Today I had the excitement of receiving a Deco I participated in arriving inthe mail... begun almost 18 months ago this oriental art delight has been lost for some time, and is the first deco I participated in. It truelly does feel like an old friend has come home.

The artwork on these pages is by Elaine Berkhout, Annie van Leeuwen, Kylie Mell and myself. I was going to share more but for some reason blogger has decided I may only upload 3 photos tonight.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


The week has been kind, one wet day, several wet nights (to soothe the conscience of a farmers' daughter) and sunny, sunny days. Days where just lifting my head for a quick look out a class room window, makes me smile on the inside.

I know we all smile at each other and in doing so give joy - and often if bounces right back at us.

I am also beginning to realise that not everyone is as conscious of their inner smiles as I am. The smile, seen on the outside which is a response to my heart's smile.

A smile when I see the back of a toddler trustingly holding his mother's hand (not realising it is he, not she, who is giving the gift).
A smile when I see an agapantha newly budded and nodding in the breeze.
A smile when my floorboards are clean and shiny underfoot.
A smile when I complete a piece of art and it speaks ot me.
A smile when I go to my mailbox and find a handful of letters with handwritten addresses.

I could go on and on.

Am I simple? If so, then I am glad, because to be able to take joy in the very small things of life means there is a smile around every corner. A smile which lasts, because my heart smiles are stored there and can be taken out at a later date.

Not great dinner time conversation:
I saw a cat asleep in the sun three weeks ago, and it made me smile.
It's paw was curled around it's button pink nose.
And it was adorable. I have held the memory to make me smile, when I am stifled by the mundane of work and chores ......... and dinner parties.

So perhaps inner smiles are not meant to be shared, and perhaps we all have them. Perhaps the wise keep them to themselves.

My Brother, SIL and neice will be over today, a visit to make me smile ...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What is in a name?

I took this idea from Anna Corba's "Vintage Paper Crafts" - a visual feast. These, notice I am not using a name yet, look similar, and yet I know I dyed the purple ribbon myself, selected images, and did the beading by hand -so they feel like mine.

Anna, and my American friends, would call these 'Candy Dishes', My English friends would say a 'Sweet Bowl', and possibly offer me a sweetie. As an Australian, I think that they are a 'Lolly Glass'. Pick what you will, I have decided that a few of these, of various heights, would look glorious on Christmas tables holding cherries, chocolate or candy/sweets/lollies.

I am off to work now, but in my head I am listing second hand and op' shops likely to have more glasses ....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Comments should work again

I wondered why no comments had been left for so long, even felt a little hurt, then realised I had accidentally turned on a comment moderation facility - and further to that - not left an e-mail for the comments to be run through. Silly, silly me.

So Blessed

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes totally overwhelmed by the generosity of my friend Dawnie (Dawn Thomas), I know it is supposed to be a secret, but we were each others Mystery Muse on INKrediblyRT ( this month. This morning I received this amazing double side, four collages, wall hanging - which I can not photograph to do justice. Each piece has so much detail, and is so beautifully put together. The junk chain connecting it all is in itself a work of art. A gift that I will treasure forever - and yet will not be on the wall for a while, as there are so many people I have to show.

I met Dawn on line a few years ago. We didn't strike up a particular friendship - just admired each other's art, and then we went to camp together. This warm, generous, funny woman will be a friend for life. Her positivity about my art, enthusiasm for life and wisdom (all while battling a shocker of a cold) endeared her to me forever. And yet, as it so often happens, she lives four hours away, I do not know her family, nor have we visited each others homes (yet) . I do know her parents run an animal rescue - a great heritage! What a wonderful world I landed in when I began to play with paper!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Too Cute

I made this ATC a while ago in a series I called 'Ode to Claudine', I have recently traded this one and it still had the power to make me smile so I decided to post it here.

Exciting news of the day - being a criminal did pay off. While helping my friend Kez move house I stole some of her cards and submitted them to Stamping and Papercraft. A total thrill for both of us when we heard that they are in the most recent issue! Well done Kerry!
My first niece was born in April and her birth seems to have sent me in a 'cuter than cute' phase. I am playing with some old fashioned ideas for album covers, and the one above took a few minutes last night. I am not so sure that it is art, but it sure was fun to put together. I wonder what is says about me, especially when I am feeling the most un-clucky I ever have. The child is from an old dress pattern and the stamp by Amazing Creations.

I received this gorgeous RAK ATC (Shrine to Love) in the mail today, from Michelle James. I really like all the layers and detail.

I so love the trades, swaps and RAK's which arrive in my mailbox ,to brighten the toughest days, or to add sparkle to an already sunlit day.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pink Parcel from France

While new to blogging I signed up for a 'pink' swap hosted by Sandy ( I felt-in some ways- like I was taking a step-of-faith. An international swap, no guidelines as to price of gift, or type, a step into the unknown.

After spending an enjoyable afternoon putting gifts together for my assigned partner I was happy. I so love shopping - and the thought that my parcel would be a surprise to an American, that I had not had any contact with, brought a smile to my face. The swap was over.

Then came the surprise this morning (yes, I always end up forgetting these things go both ways) a parcel from France. Just look at all those gorgeous stamps!

I sat down with a lovely coffee and opened my parcel from Caty ( What a joy - the most recent issue of Marie Claire, glorious illustrations, with my school girl French and a dictionary I will while away an afternoon very soon (Caty has offered to translate any articles I really want to read). Beautiful papers, a desk calendar, embroidery floss, embellishments and envelopes. Lots of lovely treats.

Thank you Caty

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Real Women - 2

Real women relax, or at least they should ... The second set of pages for my altered book. Isn't she lovely?

It was a T-shirt day today, another warm one in the middle of this southern winter. A day to be outdoors, to be wrapped in the sun's rays, to appreciate the garden, the flowers and the splendid blue of the sky. And yet, as the daughter of a farmer, my heart also cries out for more rain, rain to water crops, to fill dams, and to provide lush grass for animals.

Perhaps it will rain through night ...

Friday, August 04, 2006

One Friday

As far as Friday's go this one was a little below average. I left my bed with sighs of regret and longing glances this morning (yes, you read right, the bed - shared only with the furry people). It was one of those days where I wanted to curl up, pull the blankets under my chin and snooze for the foreseeable future.

However, I am happy with these ATC's for the Scrapbook Designs (See my links) heritage swap, more shellac and some ephemera from Collections. I save my photos for one-offs. Scrapbook Designs is a fabulous paper arts store, and I am lucky enough to work there part-time. My work at the shop really balances school. I love the kids I teach, but they are not all keen to be at school or to learn, everyone who comes to the shop wants to be there - and enjoys themselves. I come home from work inspired to create, even when I am too tired to eat/clean/socialise. I also work with a group of inspirational women who create with as much passion as I do.