Category Archives: CHRISTMAS & other Festive Occasions

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…… 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




MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.  I pray you have a safe & blessed festive season & a 2011 filled with artful adventures!

I KNOW this is a little ‘cutsie’ for my normal style – I made this little ATC for our Princess tomorrow from the ‘door’ images from earlier in the week.  She is just starting to enjoy ATC’s & had fun playing with my cast off bits of paper on chipboard.  I love this little range – it’s from the Prima  Jack and Jill range and it’s SOOOOOO sweet……..

AND……..the news you’ve been waiting for – the winner of the handmade journal IS – CINDY!!! Congrats Cindy – email me privately with your details & I will have it on the way to you straight after Christmas.  thank you for your support & kind comments about my work and my blog……….& thank you all for being a part of my art journey this year.  I appreciate you all.

GIVEAWAY Day 3 – and the Winner IS


 SO – the moral of the story is – that in this sharing & caring art world – many people go to a lot of time & trouble to create things, pass on knowledge, help others, share hints & tips, etc.  Few people however, take the time to write a comment, say thanks, or even acknowledge the source if they are using the material ………in over 500 visits in the last 2 days – there were only 10 comments – and some of those were the same people on different days.  In the end – as there were so few – I allocated each comment a number – those that left a comment on different days got 2 numbers – and then randomly generated the winner.  And the WINNER of the Art supplies give away IS………….ta – da – WENDY MC – who – among some others – worked out, like the lepers, that the idea was to come back & give thanks – congratulations Wendy – email me using the link & your box of goodies will be on the way to you.  Tis the giving season – but tis also the season to be thankful.  I am EVER thankful for grace & mercy.  Merry Christmas – enjoy the coloured torsos, available for all personal use, but not for reproduction or to be redistributed in any form.  Tomorrow I have a great collage sheet – I am just trying to work out how to upload a high res version & still have the blog page open ok.

GIVEAWAY DAY 2 – collage supplies? what a prize!


that title sounds like something cheesy a bingo announcer would call out doesn’t it!!!  Well you’ll be as surprised as me, when you see what i am giving away today!  It’s TOTALLY painful for me – but it’s part of my ‘de-stash’ preparing for us moving house sometime in the near future and YES – I am starting to conceed that I may have been in denial about being a hoarder!  I guess the seeds of it have always been there, valuing & being VERY sentimental about things of the past……….but now, not having moved since 1992, I am reaping the ‘rewards’ of that!..

I can’t help myself really –
I feel as though the artisan skills of the world are being squandered
by a disposable life manufactured for ephemeral needs
that produce a never ending parade of land fill..

I love anything that looks as if it has a hidden story, or a story within it – waiting to be uncovered……….. my treasures usually take the form of paper, fabric, buttons or bling……..sometimes a book with an interesting title or cover (regardless of the subject) – a vintage brooch or buckle at my local op (thrift) shop, a card of sun faded ric rac, or my all favourite….. a discarded jar of old buttons………….with an assortment of bits & bobs of treasure.

I am compelled to collect and surround myself with these castoffs,
waiting for a flash of inspiration
or a creative ephemeral inspiration
that will give bring these treasures into a new, continuing story.

BUT the day is coming soon, when the ‘piper’ is to be paid – and all of it has to be packed up & held in storage for a year or two
(I haven’t even TRIED to contemplate what it will be like living with out my treasures around my creative space
– whatever form that ends up taking!!! 
I think I may end up going back to my ‘black’ period of a couple of years ago!  I hope not!)

I am imagining large open industrial expanses, with soaring, skeletal ceilings, huge beams & columns, cloaked in light. 
I love the rawness of these spaces.  I love the honesty of the volume.  It echoes ‘fill me with life’


   how I long for them……………..

I have just added to my problem, securing something I have wanted forEVA
a fully adjustable drafting table/board 
– sadly, it’s not a vintage one like this beauty,

but still it’s a fully adjustable pneumatic drafting table with all it’s rulers & pens & picked it up literally for a song – $50!! 
It has been there for some time & started out at $375……….I was just hoping another designer/artist didn’t spot it.  It has gradually been marked down, still with no one except me showing interest…….and today they had 50% off everything as long as you took it with you.
WOO HOO, I love my local thrift shop.  It’s all in bits at the moment but it will be operational soon.  Now I just have to make space for it!!
(exit – temporary plastic folding table – enter elite drafting table)

AND so – enough blabber – we have come full circle & back to my point!  AHHHHHHHHH – how did I get so much STUFF?????
I MUST, I MUST, reduce my STUFF!!
I MUST, I MUST, reduce my STUFF!!
I MUST, I MUST, reduce my STUFF!!
I MUST, I MUST, reduce my STUFF!!

Here is today’s give away

 included are products from darkroom door; kaiser; collections; Tim Holtz (grungeboard elements, distressables); Basic Grey; Cavellini; apart from those supplies – I have also delved into my treasure chest and have included hand dyed tags, vintage chandelier crystals, buttons, bottle tops, game pieces, scratchboard, various ‘playing cards’ of mixed type & size; some etched book plates, chipboard letters AND a gorgeous little handmade book I have made. (2.5 in sq).  AND WAIT………there’s more (but no steak knives!!), some blocks of carving rubber, some christmas tree blank jigsaws, a couple of chipboard books, a couple of note books, some of my napkins & a package of my handdyed wire edged ribbons….I will announce the winner tomorrow at approx 8pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time (GMT +11).  If you are wondering how to win – the clue is in yesterday’s post.

free things – 5 days of GIVE-AWAYS


merry christmas this week everyone – I hope you have a little time for YOU!!  I feel as though I have cheated – we had our christmas celebrations early, so ‘Christmas’ per se – is done for us!  People all around me are still ‘stressin’ & running around & I’m done!  It was a dissappointing thought when it was first suggested, but now it’s over, it actually feels good!  We had lots of simplicity this year……most of my christmas wrapping was in brown paper with stamping & ribbons.  Garnishing with lace & ribbons, using twine, tissue & things on hand to make beautiful gifts.  SO – now I have a week to think up fun things for you – 5 DAYS of GIVE-AWAYS for you – my special readers!………’s a start! 

Today – some free images for you to have fun with – Tomorrow – hmmmmmmmmmm………some supplies I think…………HOW TO GET THEM???? I will leave you with a cryptic clue………you will find it in the book of Luke 17:11-19……….. that’s all I’m sayin’ is all!!! (in the words of one of my fav. Southern Belles)  If you work it out – leave me a comment & I will create a random draw from the order they come in.

If you right click any of these you can save the larger size – they are high res. suited for full ATC size background – or to cut or tear as an element in a larger collage.  If anyone would like a particular colour in a larger size for something – feel free to email me using the link.  This image is a photograph I took myself while travelling & has been altered by me.  It is free for you to use personally (in your own work)  for anything you like (including published work) BUT is not for re-distribution, re posting (please link back to this post if you’d like to tell someone about them)  They are also not for use in royalty free compositions or collage sheets in any form.  Thanks for respecting the personal property I am sharing with you.

DON’T forget to check back tomorrow – you’ll be sorry if you don’t!!!

PS you may want to test you printer settings & colour out put to print these out to how you’d like to use them – I have printed them on bristol board with inkjet, on transparancy using laser & photo paper with laser & inkjet – the transparencies came out a bit dark the others were ok though.

Some Christmas Cheer, and published here!


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Christmas this year has been devoted to ‘art with a needle’ and although I have been doing a few pages in my latest art journal ‘A Different Perspective’, intermittently.  I posted some pics on my flickr site a few days ago, so you may have seen them, but I am hoping to do a post about the new pages in a week or so.  (here’s the link if you want a sneak peek at the pages)  We are having our family celebrations a week earlier than 25th as our son & his wife celebrate Christmas with interstate relatives this year.  I don’t mind, ‘cos I prepare for Christmas all year – but it does feel a bit of a crunch now getting to the ‘pointy end’.   I wanted to create some personal gifts this year for people I care about, so I have hand made decorations for our childrens’ own trees & for a few special friends.   Another project I have been working on is some additional Christmas stockings.  Our SIMPLY GORGEOUS Princess Ariel Faith, newborn this year needed one (pictured below) & funnily enough, all though all our children, grandchildren & DH have hand made & embroidered stockings, I have never had one myself.  I have only begun it in the last couple of days, after everything else was finished, so I am not sure whether I will get it finished or not – it depends how I go for time, especially since it will be needed a week early!  Soft moss green/murky olivey yellow being my current ‘to die for’ green (that makes sense if you read this story), but wanting to stick within the traditional palette, I have chosen ‘A Partridge in a Pear Tree’ as my own stocking theme.  I will post it (if I get it finished) next week.

as an end note, it was a nice suprise to recieve an email from my fav. mixed media publication – Somerset Studios – & to find out a piece I created a while ago has been featured in the ‘Winter Gallery’, which is great fun!   I was especially ‘chuffed’ to see that they are using it to advertise the magazine this time.  Woo Hoo!  (my work is the Alice Spool made on a vintage reel)  I can wait to see how they have photographed it, cos it WAS  a tricky one!!   You can get all of the collage images  and stamp sets  that I used from the fabulous ALPHA STAMPS (including some of my own Alice collage sheet designs) Unfortunately, the article is still referring to my blog as at ‘typepad’ – so spread the word & change the link!  THANKS for your support & encouragement guys!!

Quilted Angels


19_quilted_angels_web While this may seem a funny title for a Christmas Page………I spent the non working hours of this day (4am – 7am yesterday & 10.30pm – midnight!!!) working on the babies quilts for Christmas.  Ellie’s is all but finished, I am just attaching the binding………..but I have only just finished the quilt top for little Toby’s.  I got the fabric ages ago, however I got stuck on the whole gender thing……..things for babies seem to be either gender specific…..or pastel………& I couldn’t get inspired.  I eventually ended up using the fabrics that I started out with anyway…….so that was all wasted productivity time……..oh well…….who can figure the mind of an artist?!??!

This patchworky pieces on this page are the colours I have used in Toby’s quilt……the image is from an art friend (?Suze?) & the card is rubbed down with Harrison Bell gold leafing powder.  I spilt it on my work table the night before last & it’s migrated everywhere… is hard to clean up, I will just have to throw out my plastic cover sheet over my table, so I just turned the page over once I had stuck the images on, & rubbed it all around in a circular motion.  It (of course) looks much nicer in the flesh……….soft & etheral.