Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I seem to have wandered in limbo for the last few days, starting new projects when I should have been finishing old ones, reading chapters from several different books and sitting, just sitting. It has been for the most part a pleasant limbo, with the odd moment of anxiety thrown in. Just now I have realised it the transition, after six blissful weeks of being full time ME and part-time teacher the roles are to swap. Back to work I go tomorrow and become the full time teacher, and somehow this year that seems like giving up myself.

I am not sure if that is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a, well – thing. But it is there.

These little Danglies/Pendants/Tassels/Key Ring/Thingies were finished this week. Two are in transit and one is hanging happily from my spare key. I have also added some more shellac journal packs to my Etsy and put some cauliflower soup on for tea, so I guess I have achieved some small goals.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Harvey: An Update

This image shows Harvey eight days ago, sad and wary sitting in my laundry trough.
As an aside, I love that I have an old concrete trough - no stress about a paint splashes or soap rings. But, it is not the place I would have picked for Harvey. He has a cat bed, a lined laundry basket, a cat carrier and more - all at varying heights.
Here today we see Harvey and Archer having a chat, Harv' just pulled his paws in as Archer over enthusiastically tried to lick them.
I didn't for a moment imagine that gaining Harvey's trust would be easy and no miracle has occurred. But we have made progress, noticeable progress. I let Harvey have the run of the house for a few days but soon realised he was actually regressing as there was no need to be seen. He would sit under my desk while I worked, but there was no interaction with any of us - other than Archer's one sided efforts, which were 'allowed'. So I returned Mr Harvey to the laundry with occasional side trips to the dining /kitchen. I also committed to spending at least half an hour three times a day with him. That has blown out to about three hours a day as I take some sewing or a book and chat while I visit. I also instigated the no socialising equals no food rule. It was hard, very hard, and I have cried. But I take food with me and place it about 30cm in front of Harvey and then go and sit on the other side of the room. If he does not eat I take it away with me. As you can see he is not starving - but at one stage I worried he might. Just as I was about to cave in he took the three or four steps of trust he needed to and enjoyed a combination of tuna, dried food and a little natural yoghurt. He likes to eat at night and I have a disgusting tin of sardines (human consumption grade) which Phantom and Charles love, hopefully that will be enough for him to take the risk for a second day in a row.
I am sitting on the floor and chatting to him as I wriggled my toes - he seemed to find them entertaining.
Today Harvey gave for the first time. At the end of a long chat session I was patting him and he actually edged closer and pushed his head into my hand, nuzzling, looking for a head rub. After a minute he realised that he WAS trusting, looked a little surprised, pulled away and walked (not skittered, or ran), just walked away. Bliss.
And in this one Archer was dancing trying to get attention.
Do you see the change? I hope so.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rusty Experiences

Address Book on Etsy

I had not created a thing for over a week between my trip away and waiting for my fingers to heal. Last night I headed into the art room and sat and stared at my desk a little hesitant at first, lots of ideas in my head, in the end I played with what was there - some papers and buckles I had rusted over the last few weeks.

Hanging Note Pad - Going home later in the week.

I have had a few people ask me how I achieve my rusty colour and wondered how to answer. I seem to use a lot of different methods to achieve the same shades of colour on different surfaces. For example, paint, shellac, bleach and vinegar, salt, Haymes Paint Effects, water pastels and coffee. Sometimes I combine multiple techniques. Often I am surprised by the colours that result.
ATC: But thousands die, without or this or that. Die and endow a college or a cat

~Alexander Pope~
Harvey is doing as well as can be expected. He spends most of his social time with Archer so perhaps I will let Archer fill you in later in the week. I don't think he is sad but he is still very serious and and bewildered by each new experience. Today I vacuumed for the first time since he arrived ... he is still under my desk recovering.

ATC: One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that the cat only has nine lives.
~Mark Twain~

Friday, January 18, 2008


It wasn't my birthday, or Christmas, and yet when in Perth I was showered with gifts. It was both humbling and a little overwhelming. My friend Dawn blessed me with all sorts of thoughtful goodies, including beading mats and blank business cards. My bed at J's boasted a tasty treat for Archer and beautifully scented bath goodies for me to bring home.
The bracelet above was made by Jessica, a new young friend, daughter of Kylie; I was blown away by her talent and generosity. Most of you know I love buttons and I have worn this bracelet three times already.
My friend Jane makes these amazing bags. The one in the background was a birthday gift from Dawn, and the paisley one a gift from Jane when we met up for dinner. I think this is the start of my Jane P bag collection.
Jane also gave me this wonderful collection of vintage/old jewellery to use in my art. Bliss! Archer is playing with his toy, a gift from our trip.
I feel so blessed by the friendship I share with the beautiful women in my life, the laughs, the tears, the journeys shared and stories told. I can't take pictures of them; know they are the most precious gift of all.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A very special swap.

My friend Kim proposed a 1-4-1 swap. Each of us would select four items to send to the other. The recipient would use 3 or 4 of the items in a piece of jewellery and return it. Kim sent me the items above and I knew at once that the solid metal tag was going to be my base. My typewriter keys were already out on my desk, as were a second set of wings I had aged when making 'Soar'. The rest seemed to follow.
I sent Kim these blue and silver items.
Both Kim and I have attended workshops with Nina Bagley (on opposite sides of the world) and her influence is present in the copper mesh I have attached to the bottom of this necklace for Kim and the wire we have both used.
Kim made me this stunning necklace which I have worn already. I love that the 'J' has a 'K' stamped on the back and the lovely old button she has added. The topaz/gold beads were the perfect colour contrast too. Thank you so much for suggesting this one Kim!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Archer Here...

... and looking very cute if I do say so myself.
Mum's fingers are much better but she is not keeping up with jobs, she hasn't even unpacked my doggy treats yet! Thought I better tell you about our trip. Our first stop on the way to Perth (Western Australia's capital city) was by this Aussie Christmas tree. Mum stopped five times. Odd really she made me get out of the car, drink water and then she wanted me to get back in before I had sniffed the whole lay-by. What's up with that? We visited my Aunty Dawnie first (Billy was a bit strange, kept guarding a smelly sock?!?), then on to Aunty Joyce and Staci.
Wowee, Staci is cute - but she was not very nice to me at the beginning, kept curling up her top lip. Mum laughed at her a lot, I think it hurt her feelings. She did stop pulling faces at me though. You should have heard the people cheer when she pooped, it's a long time since I was congratulated for that one and she is older than me.
Mum got lost after a night out with her friends and was so bored she took 'race cam' photo's again. Perth is actually a very clean city, but we really need to clean out car window. I think I will lick it next time I go for a ride, that usually works.
They ate Thai and laughed, a lot, while I stayed home and cuddled with Aunty J and Staci. These are Ev, Jane and Aunty Dawnie. I wanted to put Kylie's picture in but apparently photo's which give views up ladies noses are 'not nice'. Mum was given lots of pressies when she was with 'the girls' - hmmm, they look like ladies to me - and will post photo's later.
I stayed home while Mum went to Mindarie too, she talked with A and J for ages, and came back so relaxed she did not notice I had been asleep on her bed. I wish I had seen them again I did like all the cuddles at their house and they had some good left-overs.
This is Muffin, he lives with A and J and four handsome men. Silly Muffin he was scared of me and stamped his foot really loud. He did smell good, I hear he only eats vege's; I hope Mum does not get any ideas about feeding me carrot tops.
Finally Aunty Joyce and Mum went out leaving us alone. We partied and partied. Chasey, Hide n' Seek and Tag were lots of fun. B came home and played with us too. Funny Staci, she would not play infront of her Mum and mine, went back to being a princess, she even sat with her back to me. Mum kept cuddling her and laughing at her faces, I was a tiny bit jealous.
We saw lots of people who all said I was handsome and good but we did not get photographs of those, no, we got a photo of hay bales by the side of the road(???).
Harvey is an OK dude, bit of a fraidy cat, but it was sooo good to see my Phantom. We met on the path and could not decide who got to lick first. Mum cried. Silly really, we ended up rubbing noses then took turns licking faces.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Harvey was born in 2003. One of three kittens he went with his siblings to try out a new home. Unfortunately his family were chosen and he was returned to APS because he was too timid. There he has been until yesterday.

I wandered into a large sunny enclosure with tables, chairs, trees and grass, and instantly spotted him skitting away. There was a pretty white cat with spots, many blacks that wanted to smooch, tabby’s long and short hair. Yet my eye kept going back to Harvey. I watched him interact beautifully with other cats and felt he could be a friend to Charles. Eventually, as I sat patting a lovely black boy, Harvey came and sat alongside me, enjoying being stroked.

My main criteria for a new fur baby were a cat friendly with other cats and I do love my gingers. I knew this was my boy. Catching Harvey in this open plan shelter proved tricky (and painful) he was not happy to be held. After he had bitten and scratched me several times two wonderful carers, Yvonne and Kathryn, spent quite some time and patiently calmed him then helped me scoop him into a carrier.
Harvey travelled calmly back home (a four and half hour drive) with Archer. They touched noses regularly and both settled as close to each other as their beds allowed. Poor love does not like to have his photo taken so I won’t stress him for a few more days. He is happily ensconced in the laundry and both Archer and Phantom have spent time in there with him today. Charles has not yet been seen, but he does sometimes punish me for going away. I have been to sit and pat Harvey a couple of times, but he really is happier with the fur-boys for now so I will leave him alone to settle.
Update: Charles has been in and had a good sniff under the laundry door.

I went to the doctor this morning and the locum informed me, ‘people die from cat bites.’ Here I am hoping and praying the mega-oral antibiotics kick in before morning or he is threatening to admit me to hospital for intra-venous ones. I really do not need time away from Harvey at this early stage.

Banners and Brief

I am back home now with lots to tell: A new family member, a wonderful trip, art received, laughs had etc.
For now, do you see my fantastic banner here and another at my Etsy, both created by my talented friend Dawn.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Journey Time

Archer and I are heading off to the 'Big Smoke' for a few days. Leaving home is such a wrench but there are people to see and places to go. My friend 'A' has strapping teenage sons, and yet I remember so well the night I looked after No.1 while No.2 was entering this world (it helps that I got us locked out of the house in the middle of winter), the night I looked after No1, No2 and No3 while their sister was born (Ummm, the ultra sound dude said she was a boy). There are shared memories and a respect that comes from time, a love because our lives have been intertwined - like the vine above, sometimes the branches have joined, others they have headed off in their own direction, but always connected. We have history, and that makes the journey possible.
I am staying with J and her new dog. A treat for Archer, a joy that I can bring him. I anticipate long chats about what has been a big year for both of us. A year which has seen our friendship flourish and grow.
Dawn and I have lots of fun scheduled - I'm stuck on this lady (and her family). A woman who inspires me with her art, teaches me to have more fun and understands that 6.00 am IS the middle of the night. I'm hoping to catch up with more of my buddies as time allows, sneak in a little shopping, a trip to the city and more...
The Cat sitter is in situ Archer is clean, the job list fits onto one page. Pray for travelling mercies as we drive 4 1/2 hours up the Highway. Back soon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Shellac Story Continues..

Working Away
on Etsy
Dare to be Happy
Winging it's way to a new home.
The last of the journals I started before Christmas are now ready for new homes. I have loved playing with paper again. Tonight however, my fingers itched to twist wire and I guess the next things to emerge will be jewellery.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A different creation..

It is that time of year when we are surrounded by beautiful stoned fruits - delicious warm from the fruit bowl each time I pass by. And then the calling. Something within says I must make provision, lay up stores. A silly idea in a land of plenty - especially when I eat two jars of jam a year.
And yet the delight I have taken, refining this Apricot jam recipe - it is now over 60%fruit, the rest sugar and pectin. I enjoy the process of sterilizing jars, melting wax, and the sweet, sweet scent of the apricots as they bubble away. I keep looking at my colourful jars of fruit 15 of them now, and a feeling of fulfillment comes from within.
I'm off to try a new apricot chutney recipe...soon the strawberries will arrive...

Friday, January 04, 2008


I have wanted to use tintypes in jewellery for the longest time, and had not found any I ‘loved’ until I saw this little album. Oh my, I had to have it. And so began the internal conversations and arguments until I struck a deal with myself. I could have it if I sold on a third (oh OK, it was a half) of the tintypes and covered some of my postage and buying costs.
Well as you can see I now have this perfect little leather bound album in my hand, with its eclectic collection of portraits, and I don’t want to let it go. The inside says 1867 – the stories … whose hand caused the wear to the front of this little album? I could sneak this little treasure onto a bookshelf, and ‘forget’ it for a little while…
If you don’t see any of these on Etsy within the next 24 hours please e-mail me and remind me, I did a deal … with someone I respect.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Shellac Affair Continues

These journals are the first of a group that were meant as Christmas presents, need I say more.. An organised woman would file them away ready for next Christmas. Nope, as I worked on them, they were reallocated. The top one has all my favourite elements of the moment, copper mesh, rusty keys, an altered buckle and of course shellac.
This little concertina book is filled with quotes and is already winging its way overseas.

The mesh at the bottom of this journal is metal, brass I think, does anyone know where I got it? I would like some more... but it was on the 'too good to use' pile for so long I have forgotten.
What bliss it is to be away from school, to catch up on home duties, to see friends and to create. I feel so blessed to have this time.
Happy New Year dear friends and may you all have health, happiness and creative times.