Excitment all round – a Birdy blog hop!


As I said in my last post – Alpha Stamps have released my latest collage sheets – Nesting Instincts & Bird’s Nest & I am thrilled to see what Leslie’s amazing Design Team have come up with in using the imagery………..there are gifts, prizes & give aways if you follow the ‘blog hop’ between the design team’s blogs.

Visit each blog, leaving a comment you will automatically be entered to win a small piece of artwork from each Design Team Member! So if you go to all 9 blogs, between Thursday, June 7th and Sunday, June 10th you will have 9 different chances to win artwork!

That beautiful, hand-stitched coaster at right, by Theresa Martin, is one of the prizes you could win!

AND… check out this post here on the Alpha Stamps blog to find out how to win the new Birds in Hats Kit!

Theresa Martin | Visit blog
Alaskan Sapphire Rose – Shannon Tuttle | Visit blog
Starrgazer Creates – Rhea Freitag | Visit blog
Glitter Tart – Caroline Ouzts-Hay | Visit blog
Junk&Stuff – Kristin Batsel | Visit blog
Rhonda Mum – Rhonda Secrist-Thomas | Visit blog
Artfully Musing – Laura Carson | Visit blog
Pixie Hill – Nichola Battilana | Visit blog
Amys Blam: General Foolishness – Amy Mayfield | Visit blog
Below are my 6 x 6 collages using the newly released sheets – Nesting Instincts & Bird’s Nest.  Click on the link if you would like to purchase some from Alpha Stamps.

days filled with colour


there is a quote that says ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.  I had that experience this week when I happened across this graduation speech given by Neil Gairman  When I first saw it was almost 20 mins long, I thought I’d listen to a couple of minutes & see what it was like……….and in walked my teacher for this moment…….I was left with that Walt Disney feeling of wanting to do it over & over again.  If you are even remotely creative – grab a cuppa & have a listen.

aGAIN i feel compelled to talk about Autumn.  we have in Melbourne enjoyed a week of spectacular days. and now the rain.  I know there will come a point in a couple of months deep into winter when I will tire of the ‘gloom’ but for the moment, the colours of my favourite season surround me.  I enjoy a spectacular view of deciduous splendour though every one of our windows & the yard is littered with leaves that create a colour wheel every time the wind blows. In the long evenings, our home is replete with candles, bringing a cosy glow to everything.  I love the soft light & the smell of melty candle wax!  Autumn is one of my great loves.

I have been working on a few secrets lately – some new collage sheets & my first range of papers – soon to be released at Alpha Stamps (some of you may be aware that I have formerly been a part of Leslie’s design team @ Alpha Stamps) & some artworks to be auctioned at a local woman’s function.  This is the first time I worked on ‘wooden cradles’ and I am TOTALLY in love – it’s a bit of a story – but cutting a 3 month journey into a sentence or two, my artwork came to the attention of an influential gallery curator, who expressed good things, but it was not ‘acceptable’ in books.  (ie art journals) I cogitated on that for a bit – knowing that I REALLY didn’t like working on canvases – they just were too ‘fragile’ for how I liked to work & my habit of really ‘manually handling’  my work as it was being created………I investigated canvas boards, but it still came back to having the cost of framing before they could be exhibited/presented for sale……….what to do…….what to do……I remembered waaaaaaaaaay back that I saw someone painting on a wood panel & investigated this a bit locally.  TOTALLY cost prohibitive & cos of the bulk of sending – the mailing cost + product cost from overseas worked out about the same…………another brick wall.  Enter MOTH…….(man of the house)……….I could make them – easy!!!!  I have to say he is a person with a golden heart & the best of intentions, but usually not so good with follow through………BUT low & behold – he made me a dozen 10 x 12in birch wood cradles (which essentially just look like a thick walled canvas) & I am IN LOVE – TOTALLY in love – it’s a dream surface to work on & can take all the punishment I dish out……….can’t be sewn like watercolour paper – but I’ll just have to improvise with that one…………SO I am a happy little Vegemite (camper)……enjoying exploring a new surface…………AND – as an endnote – waaaaaaaaaay tooooo early for a drum roll – but I am excited to be working on my first range of rubber stamps which will also be available from Alpha Stamps.  It’s fun & scary at the same time – it will be months – but it’s why things are quite here……..lots of hush hush down under!! LOL!

Autumn, Fairy Shoes and Ticking off lists


I am entranced daily by delicious vistas of autumn light – and raindrops so big you could loose yourself in them.  The environment is exuding a wealth that beckons a generosity of spirit.  My world is alive with the magic of enticing colour, warm light & shorter days.

Within the art of  photography, there is a time of day, called ‘magic hour’ – without getting two technical the half hour after sunrise & before sunset    Light at this time is warm & soft & you can capture photos with good shadows & tonal transitions. Subjects look warm, saturated in color.  Autumn in our house has me dashing to our front verandah – camera in hand………the half hour before sunrise & after sunset the light is soft & rich & has the depth of velvet.   Shadows are deep, but the light is extremely saturated, which makes for amazing sunset shots – which we are ideally situated to capture.  Autumn is one of my great loves.

(if you’d like to read a little more about ‘magic hour’ you’ll find some good info here & here)

I have been creating a bit of art with a needle lately.  I am thrilled to say that our little princess’s quilt is finished (which you may remember was on my list at the beginning of the year)  She has just turned 2 & she is so full of exuberance & has just a mischievious little laugh.  She is a little magpie and her little nonsensical conversations and comments make you laugh out loud – such a joy!!  What’s the first thing you do when you are presented with an heirloom that has cost many hundreds of dollars & has taken 18 months to make – JUMP  FOR JOY OF COURSE!!!  LOL!!!  We love her to bits – AND OF COURSE – as her grandies – we ARE biased!!  Back to the quilt – it’s huge – it began life as a cot quilt, then transitioned (when DIL & I discussed how the precious cot quilts of the older two had become obsolete now that they were in ‘big beds’) into a single bed, then finally into a king single (when I realized that was the size they had bought for their eldest.  The final size was 66in wide x 77in long…..aka big & heavy to ‘man handle’…..but it’s done now & sick person that I am, despite it becoming a guilty obligation in the end – I am already looking to the next one!  It’s the euphoria of the finished quilt driving me – no doubt!  After the spectre of failure that makes me choke at every deadline is overshadowed by a success – I want to recreate it.

We have an event coming up at the end of May that I am creatively involved in & I have been painting, sewing & doing some watercolours, mixed media & digital work – all around the topic of feet & shoes.  I have had fun creating fairy shoes, sweet little booties, as well as creating artful invites & treasures to sell on the night.

I HAD intended to post up the patterns that I made for the shoes – but that didn’t happen, so it has to be next time!  Til then – take care………..xk

being an artist is not necessarily logical


I am always honoured to be included in Seth Apter’s blog.  Seth (who has recently published a collective of mixed media from around the world) is a hub of infomation of how artists tick – what they’re thinking, what materials they’re using – who is inspiring them – and so much more.  Being an artist is not necessarily logical.  Seth kinda gets a handle on this.  He brings together current exhibitions in his home town of New York, he ‘talks’ to artists across the globe, he IS an artist – check out his blog – you’ll be hooked!

Changing the subject, I have just gotten back from seeing the movie ‘The Vow’, where Rachel McAdams plays a young wife (who is a sculptor) who is involved in a car accident where she incurs a semi serious head wound.  As a result of the injury, she ‘looses’ a 5 year chunk of her memory – during which time she had left law school (her parents dream for her); breaks up her engagement to ‘the perfect’ guy; gone to art school……… become a sculptor (who has just secured a significant commission) & subsequently met, fallen in love with & married a gorgeous guy.  Through various toings & froings in an attempt to prompt her memory – she ends up back in her old life, living with her parents, in law school, and with the potential of hooking back up with the ‘ex’.  The thing I love about the film is that she never does regain that 5 years back – BUT her need to create is within her – & she sits in law school classes drawing studies of the human form, akin to the sculptures she was/had been making prior to the accident.  She has a ‘do-over’; yet her life (without the prior experiences) heads down a very similar path – with this art inside her needing to be birthed.  AND – amazingly – it’s actually a true story!  A bit gooey – but worth a look.

Sadly – Misty’s Open Studio has run it’s course.  It was fantastic & I feel a bit of a hole.   I have just downloaded Katie Kendrick’s  new book onto my iPad, encouraged by some other participants that this is a worthwhile purchase.  (I have to say, whilst I LOVE my iPad – I do miss ‘leafing’ through a book & the texture of pages!).  The piece above is much bigger than I usually work on – Misty encouraged us to ‘work big’ this is about 18in high x about 30in wide.  It is a combination of markers, crayons, watercolour, pens, acrylic & beeswax pencils.  It is loosely based on the work of Paul Klee – I love the way he uses colour & breaks up line & form……….but the evolution of the image itself & the form it took was inspired by Alan Alda’s quote:

‘ You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. ‘

I’m there.  My life has had so many twists & turns – some that I have chosen – some that have been life happenings………that I don’t any longer have a ‘city of comfort’  – but I must admit though – like all of us to some degree, I come carrying my own self protective wall!  So a little wilderness now and then is not entirely unwelcome! This piece of Klee’s is one of my favs – it appeals to me as a designer – a quilter – some one passionate about colour & an artist – it’s titled the highway – so it even has a tie in to this creation of mine.

I am attaching a new selection of free images for your own use & for use in your own published work, but not for sale or reproduction.  Despite significant effort – I CANNOT get them to behave – so they are appearing a bit higgldy piggldy…….they work just the same though! LOL!  ENJOY, and feel free to share the link to these with others, or on your blog. (cut & paste – http://wp.me/pXG69-m5 )

More Lists and Free Images Too


I realized two things when I came to post this morning – firstly that I DIDN’T press ‘publish’ last week when I posted AND – my post read like something that is probably rambly introspective trash that people imagining themselves to be insightful (minus an editor) writes.  (also a hazard of posting infrequently – you don’t know where to begin to catch up your readers – if I have any of those any more!)

In several forums of my life at the moment, I am being encouraged to thankful and there really is LOTS…………one of the significant things that kept coming up on my lists were my ONLINE art friends & forums that I belong to…….you all have made such an impact on my artistic journey.  SO – my list is at the bottom of this post – but to start with a THANKYOU – I wanted to gift you some of my ‘altered’ images – to use in your own art work.  I retain the copyright, they are images I have taken myself & altered – however, I release them to you to use in your own work & your own work for publication (BUT NOT for redistribution or resale).

Unfortunately – they are not very big as I have used iphone apps to alter them, and it kept crashing the larger sized files.  They print up nicely at 6 x 4 & 5 x 7’s or even better sized as ATC backgrounds.  They will increase with a double click – then right click to save.

For those that don’t know – I am  participating in Misty Mawn’s Open Studio Workshop.  There are many adjectives that could be used to describe it (I COULD write a list!!!) but in short its the best I have ever been exposed to.  She has certainly sorted ‘the men from the boys’ as we say here in Oz and set the bar high for online courses. It is affordably priced, content rich, beautifully presented (name me one thing of Misty’s that isn’t!) – both challenging & achievable………..and YES – I am in love with her all over again!

The course covers both anticipated & unexpected inclusions like sculpture with paper clay, writing poetry, mark making with interesting mixes of materials, & other fun things.  You can certainly notice the difference between someone formally trained in art & and those that are not in the depth & intensity of material included.  If you have the chance to participate at some point – can I highly recommend it?

Having said that – and noting my post from a few months ago about ‘soooooo many faces’ – I am back to painting faces!  Of course I have returned to my first love (the start of my ‘learning to draw’ adventure began with faces in July 2008)  HONESTLY – they are 100% better than where I started……BUT I am not sure that I’ll ever get really good at this – even IF I paint them forever! LOL! (although, I must admit when ‘altered’ with my iPhone apps [as above] they look better) here is some of my work I have done throughout the 5 week course.

3 lino cuts (bud, blossoming, bloom) printed on vintage text. Pen & ink & watercolour drawings on page

inspired by summer beach trips to 90 Mile Beach, Victoria. Pen & ink w. watercolour

GHOST GUM - a linear abstract

myself - as a shape

i AM grateful…………………
for healthy children & grandchildren
for sky canvas set out before me daily (any one who has read my blog for any length of time will have seen one of our beautiful sunsets – for new readers – I have added one below as a treat!  Taken a week ago from our front verandah)
for freedom to worship
for my home
for the gift of creativity
for pristine beaches
for the clean environment we live in here
for dear friends
for the online art community
for accessible, affordable education
for the wonder that is creation
for the smell of newborn babies
for the joy of a toddler laughing
for the wonder of childhood discovery
for the pleasure of sharing a life
for the privilege of growing old with someone you love
for the freedom to choose

there are plenty of other things…………..but they will be for a list…..another day

Confessions of a list maker

Confessions of a list maker

How glorious is summer?!  The sunshine is just intoxicating after many months of gloomy weather ..lots of rain, then more rain…as the the days stretch out, my soul is crying out for the beach……..for the surf, to walk for miles on the ocean edge…….beachcombing for treasure from the sea.

We have had a couple of 4WD excursions down the coast & it’s been amazing.  The sky on this day was surreal.  SO BLUE.

I am blessed and constantly enriched by the lives of our grandblessings……….and without going into a whole ‘Nonna Brag Session’ (which we grandmothers can very easily do…) suffice to say we passed a significant transition time as the two older ones head off to school this week for the first time.  Milestones in their lives, create markers in mine…….ever aware of a countdown happening in my body.  There are days it hurts so much it’s physical, there are other days, when I am so busy going about life, I hardly notice the sand rushing through the glass.

As I have been saying for some time now – we are mentally (& physically) getting ready to move from our family home of 20+years at some point in the near future.  This has made me more critical of the value of things I create.  Where am I going to put it – how will I store it – am I ‘making’ for ‘making’ sake & there is no real ‘value’ in what I have created……(a technique refined, a new material/method explored, a gift or occasion marker)…..It was this contemplation – along with my confessions of the last post (seeking the ‘fresh’) that I decided a few months ago that I wanted to give each member of my family something meaningful, made by me for Christmas.  This meant putting aside some of my artistic preferences to accommodate the recipient.  I made a list, which, even to me (oh thee of little sleep), was a little ambitious…….and I didn’t get there in the end…..but here are some of the pieces I did finish……..Above are ‘envelope’ books I made to hold all of the school treasures…………below……….6 METRE accordion fold out (YES – that is NOT a TYPO!) & 160 photos – documenting the first five years of mile stones…….

For our precious DIL – I made a series of 5 canvases, with personal messages……here’s some vignettes……

As a ‘Natural Born, Card Carrying List Maker’ I have spent a little time making a life ‘to do’ list. Since that film came out with Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson in it the term Bucket List’ has almost become a noun……. but I think that’s a morbid term, I don’t want to ‘check off a list’ and then I’m DONE – A lesson I learned from the seemingly random reasons why one person was in the towers (who should have been) & another (who should have been) wasn’t – is I’ll be ‘DONE’ when it’s my time & I KNOW that won’t be the end of it!  Being around New Years it’s the time I like to revisit these kinda things & see how I’m tracking – reassess, whether what I have written there – is even important to me anymore.  This year I am hoping to be a little kinder on myself – instead of a punishing ‘to do’ – balancing a little ‘slow time’ and ‘grateful’ acceptance……..am I mellowing?  Is this what growing old is – perhaps a little ‘wisdom’ is starting to be evident after all!  I have lived long enough to understand life is not an event….or a goal post – and that no achievement ever creates a true sense of self.

There is conflicting information out there on the value of this – one school of thought says JUST by writing down my goals (even if I don’t refer to them again) I am more likely to achieve them.   Derek Sivers advocates that if you tell anyone about your goals – you achieve social accolades as though you have achieved them already & you are less likely to actually do it……You can watch what he has to say here…….kinda like this new eco house that is seeming like it is NEVER going to happen!  But then – this runs a different kind of problem……..

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams. Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they’re still there.” – Erna Bombeck

So – here I am JUST putting these out there – just to write them down – to clarify them in my own mind really – NOT to receive any accolades from you, my special online friends.  As a certified ‘list maker’ it does seem to be like garnering resources for the future & providing direction for the now.  It helps to eliminate peripheral …..that prove to be only sparkly distractions for the now & not what you TRUELY want…

they loosely fall into 4 Genres: travel; personal; family; creative

1. Photograph architecture in England – I’d actually like to spend about 6 months to a year there – but may need some ‘fairy godmother’ intervention for this! LOL!
2. Photograph doors & windows in Italy (esp. Venice & Florence)
3. Shop for Christmas deco’s in Germany
4. Improve my conversational Italian
5. Fly first class
6. Do an extended (?3+ months) road trip to explore Western Australia, Northern Territory
7. Fly to USA & meet some long time art buddies

PERSONAL (I have about 6 other goals that are too personal to waft in cyber space)
1.Improve my knowledge of manual camera functions (F stops ‘n’ stuff)
2. Refine plans for eco/recycled materials home DONE
3. Participate in building our forever house – complete with Blow your mind Garage for hubbie & Studio Amazing for me!
4. Improve my fitness to make travel more manageable (i TROOOLY, rooooolly want this to be in progress – but it’s not!! No travel on the horizon = no incentive)
5. Settle into a manageable employment groove (manageable hours & expectations for a moderate return that still leaves time for a ‘life’ out side of work) – a cuppla false starts here – still hopeful.

FAMILY (likewise – I DO have other Family goals beside quilting! LOL! -ditto about the wafting in cyber space! LOL!)
1. Finish mini Princess’s quilt – in progress
2. Make single bed quilts for older grandblessings – purkulating!
3. Finish large quilt for our bed – in progress – but not recently!
4. Take EGF to Venice for her 16th birthday
5. Lay up an inheritance for my children’s children
6. Make meaningful contributions to each of my (grown) children’s lives
7. Support my DH achieving his dreams
8. Build a ‘home base’ for my family that will become their inheritance

1. Transition to primarily using my own imagery for all of my artwork
2. Publish a book (NOT progressing – not because I haven’t started – because I vacillate between wanting to write an art book & wanting to tell my story – I have started both!)
3. Create an inspiring website that I can edit & update myself – no more ‘web boys’ who talk techno speak!! LOL!!! – in progress. 
4. Design & run some online classes – in progress – doing the ‘field work’ at the mo

OH – I forgot to show you my CHRISTMAS architectural TRIUMPH – my very first gingerbread stable (house)

“One ship drives east, and another west
With the self-same winds that blow:
Tis the set of the sails

And not the gales,
Which decides the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As they voyage along through life;
Tis the will of the soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

looking for a quiet place


I have had an interesting few months since last time I wrote.  I think this is the longest time I have gone without a post since I started blogging in 2006.  Yes there have been life distractions – but more than that, I have sat at the keyboard so many times thinking – I will not go to bed until I post – only to be distracted by the slightest thing.  No, not writer’s block…….I am wanting to break away, break the mold my art has settled in – I am still searching for my voice………..I am want to find something – inside me……  It started in about late October last year when I created that ‘murky’ greeny, collaged junk journal…….which I loathed (& still sits on the shelf where it landed after I photographed it!)………..I parred back and started to create a journal using white, titan buff & burnt umber – with just small amounts of colour on the pages…………and while it is a ‘nice’ journal (BTW – by the end pages – I was in FULL colour again! LOL!) – it is still not authentic…….it’s a mish mash of things I have seen in books, life experiences, You Tube vids, coffee conversations……I spent the two years I was at art school trying to figure out where the dividing line in the sand was between art & craft (so mercilously distained)……..and I think I am kinda getting it……its about contemplation, reflection, gestation, inspiration, time……..so much of what is around at the moment is the same…………. and I was making more of it……….what began as intuitive, use what’s on hand, use ANYTHING art of mixed media, has become formulaic & predictable……..In the world of everyone being published it seemed to me that much of what is around (whilst beautiful & inspiring publications in their own right) are just variations of the same thing.  Gel transfers & stencilled lines & dots & texture paste & stitching & golden paints………..and sooooooooooo many girls faces…………..soooooooooooo many journalling books.   ..I felt like a fraud…..whilst I believe the plethora of resources is equiping & encouraging people that may never have tried in the past – it is also almost creating a ‘style bias’………. I ache for fresh.  I have it.  I just can’t find within me yet…….. so I just stopped.  I didn’t do any art.  My family noticed it first.  I was crabby and not nice.  Too often.  I realized that I can’t separate the creating thing from who I am.  I must art.  Misty expresses it, as ever, with such poetry & elegance…………

So much of what Misty says here resonates with my soul – but I want more.  I spent a disproportionate amount of money to cross the country, thinking a different environment, with different tools & different influences would produced……….um, well………..DIFFERENT art……….alas – NOT.

So, little by little I have been playing – not turning any heads – nothing of any significance…………..dabling, sorting, questioning, writing………hoping………..for fresh.

I am blessed to be surrounded by influences like Seth Apter………who encourages & nutures artists into being………& am honoured to be a part of his blog this week…..you can check it & other entries out here:

I’ll keep you posted………….

Apprenticed Art


I’ve been spending extended weeks & months with one of our little Princesses who is now a very knowledgable four and a half years old.  My goodness how that time has flown.  Having had restricted reign in my art studio since she was born, she is very happy surrounded by ‘things’ to

Hey Nonna - what IS this white stuff anyway? (16mths)

working on first collage

create with.  Her first experience with PVA was very tactile as you can see from the picture.  Her mum & I were talking in the kitchen & realised she had disappeared…….such a funny memory of discovering her – covered in PVA……much to my daughter’s horror – MY first instinct was to grab for the camera – I AM SO glad I did.   The first collage she made just before she was 2 years old is one of my most valued treasures.  Over the weeks of February, we have been creating some ‘larger’ projects that have been far more intricate than miriad of little notes & drawings & paintings that appear as a part of her imaginative play of the day. 

1st collage (23 mths)

We have spent time discovering the different look & feel of various mark making tools – pencils, crayons, stamping & she has experimented with watercolour and acylic paints.   I don’t have any inflated dreams of her being a famous artist – I am just enjoying the pleasure of nurturing her own passion to create – what ever form that might take, now & in the future. 

We have played with creating colour wheels & I found this site had a great range of free resources that were easy to print out & use. (keep in mind if you are adding any kind of wet media, the print out needs to be lazar copy so it doesn’t bleed).  Kinda Art & Deep Space Sparkle are a couple of my fav sites (although the activities are for children a little older – I can usually adapt it).

The day she discovered sticky tape – about 9 months ago – a bit after she turned 4 years old – we had been ‘working’ in the studio and she said – Nonna, can I have my dinner in here – I don’t want to stop working in the ‘shhtudio’ (as she says it).  It was a first indication of a growing passion, which excited me almost as much as the priceless comment.  It is now common place for her to wake up & head straight for the studio, or for me to find her there, at her ‘desk’ drawing or colouring & sometimes painting (although I still enourage supervision for this)  – sometimes she just gets everything out herself.  At Christmas I bought her the whole range of Imaginisce – Enchanted Collection – Snag ’em Acrylic Stamps for her & she is JUST getting the hang of how to use acrylic blocks with a clear stamp. (you can get them from Scrapbook.com for about $1!)

I feel compassion for the generation of women who are ‘choosing’ to have their children so late in life, that not only will they not enjoy them as adults, but they will not ever experience the joy of grandchildren.  It is an amazing pleasure and joy, sprinkling delights & sunshine through the day like glitter – you don’t know when the sun is going to ‘catch’ it and you are bathed in sparkles.  Like these recent little conversation starters:

‘I am very busy today Nonna, I am going to have 18 babies and they are JUST about to be born!” (hmmmm…….sounds like a busy day to me! LOL!)

Girl discovers Sticky Tape (4 yrs)

(I was reheating some left over Indian food for lunch & she commented) ‘I don’t like Indian food – I just like the yarn (nann – bread); not the saucy stuff’

Nonna could I please have some Mangoes  on my mosquito bite’ (mistaken for ‘Stingoes’ – bite relief)

& excitedly recounting our shopping trip to the local shopping centre – ‘Poppa we used the alligator (escalator) to go up stairs!’

One of my proudest moments recently was when she told a complete stranger…… “My Nonna is an Artist – and I am one too.”

Anyways – I began this post some time ago & was determined this morning to finish it BEFORE I went to bed – & it’s 2am THE NEXT morning!…. all of this rambling I am doing about my grandaughter is all to say – it’s never to early to share your passion to create – start with a colour wheel! Colour is SUCH fun to share! (see the tab at the top of the page)

Mermaid - 26in long

WIP fairy - 30ins

flood update


Thank you, all of my treasured overseas readers who have been inquiring after us with regard to the expansive flooding our nation has been experiencing in the last couple of weeks.  We are at the opposite end of the country to where the majority of flooding is happening (Queensland) and the flooding in our own state (Victoria) is in the North West & although it has been significant, it hasn’t impacted as much urban area – so there are less people & households effected.  We are, however we are still experiencing unseasonably high rainfall, that keeps falling in short, sharp bursts – then leaves everything flooded & humid.   It’s NOT flooded like you may have seen – over the roof, house destroyed flooded – but there is so much rain, it is breaking away our garden walls & is coming down the block in streams………we have our own ‘rivers of living water’ running down our block daily!!! LOL!!!……we have water coming in over the decking & our french doors at the back, so our rugs & furniture in our back family room have water stains & we are constantly drying something out………then it’s hot and REALLY humid…..….it’s very odd for what should be the middle of our summer.  It’s weird, weird weather – very tropical – which is FINE – IF you live in the tropics – but unheard of here in Melbourne, which is WAY down South! 

Over the weekend we were driving up through some of the areas impacted by the floods and although there is wide spread evidence of the path of the water,  much of it is already receeded.  Although this picture may look a little grim – yes there is water either side of the road as far as you can see! – we were able to drive through here as it was only about 2-3 feet deep, & it was the only water we encountered across the road.



HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE, I hope you enjoyed my 5 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS – I have been very busy in the studio over the last week completing a “SECRET” project I am submitting for publication……….here’s a little peak at some progress…………

As a new year commences & I have hardly noticed the last one gone, I am reminded how quickly our life flashes by. In the process of my “SECRET” project, I have been reflecting on the book of Ecclessiastes and the Jewish folk tale of King Solomon…..gam zeh ya’avor. This Hebrew phrase, often mistakenly thought to appear in the Bible, means “This too shall pass.” Some surmise that it was derived from Psalms 57:1, but most Jews attribute it to a folkloric parable about King Solomon – here’s the story:

“There was a king who had the most magnificent collection of jewels in the entire world. It was the source of his greatest joy. One night he dreamed that somewhere in the world, a magnificent ring held the power to make a sad person happy, and a joyful person even happier. The dream was so real to him that he decided that he must seek and possess this ring.

“He offered a huge reward to anyone who could find it. After everyone else had given up their search, one of the king’s servants continued to scour the world for the magical ring. Finally, he too was ready to give up, when he stopped in to one last shop. There, the owner said that he, indeed, was in possession of this ring!

“The servant offered to pay whatever price the shopkeeper asked, but the man refused payment saying, ‘No, your king needs this ring. Take it as my gift.’  “The servant rushed to the palace, entered the king’s chamber, and presented the ring to him. Upon opening the box, the king found a plain, unadorned metal ring. Could this truly be the precious, magical ring he had dreamt about? Then he noticed three Hebrew words engraved on the ring. ‘Gam zeh ya-avor – this too shall pass.’

“The king was puzzled. And it took him many years to realize the true magical power of the ring, in time, he came to realise that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

When he was truly sad, he would look at the ring and it would remind him that “this too shall pass,” and he would be consoled. And when he experienced true joy, the ring reminded him that “this too shall pass,” and he learned to hold on and appreciate those precious moments of joy. Soon the king realized that this truly was the most valuable ring in the world. He lost interest in the rest of his collection. All his dazzling jewels and gems paled when compared to the plain ring with the three Hebrew words, ‘gam zeh ya-avor, this too shall pass,’ and he always wore this ring of greatest value with pride on his royal finger.”

Abraham Lincoln made reference to this parable in an 1859 address, and there is a custom among some Jews to wear rings inscribed with the phrase (or its acronym), particularly during or after having coming through a seriously trying period in life. It’s an apt tale for the passing of another year, with the precious blessing of our darling new grandie, Ariel Faith……welcoming a season of emotional sunshine – after a long black winter……..watching the gradual deterioration of my mother-in-law in her twilight years, some changes in our family living arrangements, acknowledging the loss of some of my physical capacities this year & the purging of long held trinkets & treasures & the timely handing on of various significant family pieces in preparation to move from our home of the last 20 years………the good and the bad……..material & immaterial……..this too shall pass…………. It reminds me of the rewards of patience, the fact that no season, despite how good or bad it is, lasts indefinitely and the wonders of the cyclical passage of time.

This amazing montage of 365 days of photo’s sum up the year of 2010 in about 2 minutes – that’s about how fast the clock seems to be spinning for me right now.