Monday, July 31, 2006

Real Women

I have been buying bulk lots of cabinet cards to use in my art work - it seems to be cheaper than buying individual ones. Invariably in among my 100+ year old cards there will be a few 'bonus' ones, more recent photos. I got thinking about these photos, they are not the style I normally use in my art. However, I wondered about these women whose images had become freebies, and knew that somehow I had to pay them there due.

These women were real: they loved and laughed, flirted and cried, danced and sung; they are our mothers, sisters and friends.

These are the first pages in an altered book to celebrate the lives of 'Real Women'. I may go back and add more detail to the pages later, but for now the plan is to keep each page simple and the focus on the woman.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I should ...

How often our lives are tied up with 'I should', I have a long list and it is only 9.20 am:
I should do my dishes before work.
I should post this journal before it appears on my blog.
I should put the suitcase away.
I should hang the washing out.
I should get to school early because I have a lot to do (My start time today is 10.00am)
I should not waste time on my computer.
I should ring X
and a whole lot more ...
I have spent years rushing here and there trying to complete all the 'I shoulds' so that I could then have guilt free time to do what I wished. At last a realisiation, or perhaps a coming-of-age (35), I will never complete them, the self and other imposed 'I shoulds'. I am not sure if it is possible - and if it is, then I am not capable ... and that is ok. What is not ok is to be bound by the 'I shoulds'. Time for me to play, or sleep, or chatter - is important. Time without a label, or a designated task, is vital. Time, where time is not measured, is as essential as oxygen to my daily living.

I think I started to come to some of this years ago when I stopped wearing a watch, and became less houseproud. Now, however, I am letting go of the guilt ... Remind me, next time I seem overwhelmed, that I SHOULD have free time ...

And, Charles is enjoying the case ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I am home again and have been back at school for a few days, finally I have time to reflect on a wonderful weekend, yes, it was wonderful. I was fortunate to stay with friends who are, in so many ways, family too. We have known each other a long time and I have babysat twice while 'A' gave birth. The last time the result was a lovely little girl who is now ten years old. We had a lot of fun because this little girl is now enjoying playing with paper!!! Above are some of her fantastic creations from the weekend.

Staying with my friends was like a coming home of sorts, I have not been in Perth to stay for so long. One awkward pre-teen has turned into a handsome young man, who took me for a drive in his car; a cuddly little boy has become a talented soccer playing teenager; an animal loving child is now a spunky animal loving boy of double digits - so much change. And yet so little, long cups of tea for girlfriends, shopping, morning sport, swapping stories from our hearts and a feeling that this (our relationship) is a home of sorts. So many years apart and yet this 'Aunty' was trusted to trim the long curls of the 10yo, invited to share travel stories and asked for her opinion on so many things. All 6 members of this family are shining lights in my life.

My Maggie-Girl was deliriously happy to have her Mum home, despite the fact she had been thoroughly spoilt, and well looked after, by two lovely humans and Cherie the poodle princess. I asked her to pose for this picture last week so I would have a recent one to take away with me. This is my front step and she was desperate to go and chase a neighbourhood cat as it wandered by. What a good girl she was to hold her pose while resisting the slow walk, and twitching tail, of an overconfident pussy cat. The winter sun is going down on my front view in this pic. Isn't it lovely? I am off to play with another journal cover and we will see what else unfolds in the art zone.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Watery Winter's Day

It is a WWD and I could not resist the lure of my art desk. I made a couple of these little journals - just discovering the joy of coating everything with shellac. Love the gloss, love the colour and it dries so quickly! Umm, do you use this on floor boards? Perhaps if I collaged my floorboards I would be more inspired towards working on them..

I am also finshing prep for school and trying to get organised to be away for a few days. I have Professional Development in Perth on Monday, so will spend time with a couple of friends over the weekend. The day before a trip is always a funny one for me, caught between wanting to stay home and knowing I will enjoy myself once I reach my destination. Trying to pack without Maggie seeing - so as to put off her distress, and not really wanting to pack at all. Knowing that my next post will be about the wonderful time I had away...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Home - Out the back

My home is my favourite place in the whole world. It is just a little house on a hill, I share it with the bank. However, it is my safe cocoon when it seems the world is a scary dark place, it is my haven when people let me down, more than that, is still bliss when everything 'out there' is perfect.

I walk over my threshold to re-enter my home at least once most days and my body responds autonomously, it lets out a deep sigh - a tension releasing, emptying of old air sigh. At the same time a smile will curl across my face. A moment of complete refreshing, as I leave one world and enter another.

At times I may need to clean, or weed, repair or paint - but none of these things stop home being home. Today I share with you a little of my haven, the deck out-back and some of its view. My hills, the Stirling Ranges, as a little girl I grew up looking at them from the other side, when I moved down to Albany after 20 years it was like living near an old friend again. The deck is the perfect spot for drinking cups of tea, or a glass of wine at night. The lights of town below create my own little fairy land. If the decking could talk it would tell of adult parties, children's picnics, secrets told and memories shared.

My lemon tree, has a life of its own, and perhaps one day I will tell its story. For now, the fruit is good and the colours against an Aussie blue sky - divine. Sometimes it is hard to fathom why my God has blessed me so richly.

This and That

I just had the thought that I am so glad I am not a full time artist dependent on my mojo/muse/ability combination to make a living. Some form of artistic expression seems to be as essential to me as breathing, but while creating for project deadlines teaches me a lot, it is not as joyous as creating for the sake of art. I love the adrenalin rush of succeeding at new techniques or themes, and I love that my mail box has more art than bills delivered each day, so I won't give up swapping, or challenges - however, at this stage I want more of what I do, to be 'just because'.
Today I played with these cards - my break from school work, and wished for longer days. What a joy it was to receive this little doll in the mail - A PMS doll by 'creativeaddictions' (on eBay). I bought this one for myself and another for a friend. And unlike the Misty Mawn collage, which is looking very at home on my wall, I really will give the other one away.
I promise! Tomorrow I am having another self imposed 'home day' to make a big dent in my marking/prep pile. Wish me luck, and if you are in the area drop in for coffee/chai/OJ/ a glass of water ... , it would be rude to turn a guest away, wouldn't it?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Just Playing

After completing some 'must do' projects, over the last few days, I should have been tidying my art supplies. Instead I played. One of the lovely things about living by myself is that I can change the rules. So, tonight's rule was: "Jules can play, so long as she only uses that which is already on her desk." Luckily I had one of Marie's (Lost Aussie, in my links) yummy stamps on my desk - and a whole lot of other clutter. Unluckily there is still a tonne of 'stuff' to put in appropriate draws, jars and racks. Oh well, a job for tomorrow... unless I change the rules .

Would anyone like to trade a OOAK ATC?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Winter Warmth

Our bright sunshine filled days are but distant memories, even though this very blog is testament that they were here just a week ago. It has been icy cold for three days - with rain and some hail too. Hamish and Charles certainly have the right idea snuggled on my bed. I am so blessed to be on holidays, to have a warm fire on, soup on the stove and time to snuggle into what is left of my bed. My only decision, which of the mountain of books and magazines to lose myself in.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gifts and Giving

These two adorable dolls, June, and his yet to be named pink friend are gifts from the very talented, generous and warm Dotee (link to her blog to the right). Dotee is a Melbourne artist that I met on a recent stamp camp in Busselton (INKrediblyRT). I treasure these dolls, not because they are funky works of art - look at the glorious juxtaposition of aged face and hot pink petals - but because they were stitched by Dot. Dot puts her heart into all her art and it is a privilege to have been given these two.

Today I spent time drinking coffee with a close friend, she showered me with gifts, a gorgeous rooster plate (I do so love roosters), napkins and ephemera. All lovely and already I am planning a home for my plate - but the biggest gift was not wrapped up and taken away, it was tucked inside my heart. The pleasure of sharing honest conversation, of getting to know each other a little better, sharing our journeys and of course a little art chat, this was today's priceless gift.

Tonight I finished a couple more ha'penny dolls. One of these is for a friend who loves to cook, and spoils me with yummy treats regularly - hence the cutlery theme. I started a Stampers Challenge for Stamping and Papercraft and I have gesso'd a handful of journals and a book ready to alter. I am carefully eye contact with the pile of school work - at least for a couple more days...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Little Whimsy to Start Winter Holidays

Why? I don't know. This piece just appeared on my work bench ... leaving dirty brushes and green paint under my fingernails ... it came from my inside somewhere ...

It makes me smile.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Misty Mawn Collage Arrived

My second lovely collage arrived today - and it was celebrated, as I wrote to Misty yesterday.

The postie came just as I was leaving for work (I teach high school), so, not able to wait until I came home I took my parcel with me. I unwrapped my parcel in a class of 20 x 14 year olds, who all crowded around my desk. I have taught these students for a couple of years and we are quite close. They commented initially on the lovely writing on the package, then oohed and aahed over the green fabric and fibres wrapping the collage.

One of my lovely, but rather buffy football playing boys then picked up the two gourmet tea bags, tucked under the fibres and commented, "Miss will like these - they're organic with strange names"... next a crafty girl picked up Misty's note written on beautiful paper and asked if I would keep it.

When finally my collage was unveiled there was complete silence for a moment and then lots of positive comment and discussion, lots of questions about how it was created ... and such a lovely warm atmosphere. And no, this was not an art class - a Society and Environment (history) class. My lovely work of art was 'borrowed' several times to be shown to other classes, and teachers, throughout the day. Each time it had to be re-wrapped so that the students could demonstrate the full experience of unwrapping and exposing the art work.

Thank you Misty, not just for the beautiful art, but for the total experience - shared with my class - which blessed my day.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Charles: The Contradiction

This is Charles, the last of my fur babies to be introduced. This 'Little Face' is a lanolin scented ball of contradictions. Charles is half Turkish Van, and loves the water. He spends a lot of time playing in the rain, and almost as much drying himself - usually on my bed. In summer when water is short, outside, he will sit on the edge of my bath playing with the bubbles, occasionally perching on my leg or chest, it is too - too cute and trusting of him for me to be grossed out.

Charles is a warrior, the smallest of my three and the definite 'boss'. At five weeks old (when he came into our lives) my Maggie dog came to sniff him, Charles latched onto her nose with the tenacity of a lion and the grip of liquid nails. Maggie has the scar to prove it. Charles is, however, the only cat to curl up and sleep with Maggie. And, if Charles is asleep on Maggie's bed she will carefully curl up around him - it is beautiful to watch as he will often then stretch out to lay his head on one of Maggies big legs.

Charles hates to be picked up and will run from feet wearing shoes, flee treatments and children. He will also walk across to me, as I sit cross legged at the lap top, and push my hands and legs into position so that he may curl up on my lap. Somehow I am left feeling honoured, and like Maggie, unable to move until He, the little cat, is ready!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A Little Pink Book

I stayed with the pink theme, but was diverted by the colour. My close friend 'S' loves pink - a lot, and as I began to work in pink it seemed a shame not to make a gift for her. 'S' and family are building a new home, hence the house. Inside are inspirational quotes, stamped in pink and all surrounded by flowers, on cream card.

Isn't it amazing a 'grunge girl' has so much pink on hand? It seems I am prepared for every mood ... organised ... prepared... or just a combination of bower bird and shop-a-holic?

At home ...

After a very long and challenging day it is a joy to have been home for a few hours, to take a moment to appreciate all that I have, all that I am. To remember that I am not equal to the sum of my days experiences.

This lovely boy is Phantom, he is my un-cat. Phantom had a tough start to life and is pathetically grateful for every cuddle and moment of affection he receives. He doesn't quite match the rest of our family with the ginger hair, and human names. He doesn't quite trust Maggie (the woofer) or Charles ( my yet to be introduced pussy cat) and is as grateful of the affection Hamish gives as he is of mine. A few weeks ago I took him for his annual shots, he loves being held so much that he would not stop purring to have his heart listened to. We tried tapping his nose, listening as the needle went in, flicking his ear, all to no avail - he continued to loudly express his appreciation for all the attention from two humans.

Tonight I have started another hanging doll family and had an idea for a third. I have gesso'd the cover of a small journal - which has the working title of 'pink women', yep the pink bug has got me! I made a handful of ATC's too. So there are projects in the pipeline, but nothing to share yet.