Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy christmas...

I have loved crocheting these past couple of days. I have been sick, such a joy this time of year! But then again isnt it always a pleasant surprise? Anyway, while resting up my fingers have been busy creating some lovely new flowers from a great pattern taken out of this great book.

(crocheted accessories by Helen Ardley.) It is a great book for beginners with clear comprehensive instructions for the most basic stitches. The projects would be satisfying because some feature chunky wools and large hooks which give fast, exciting results. There are lots of projects I'd love to get into..I just wish Brisbanes climate was a little more suited to shawls and mittens. Perhaps if I create these cold climate items though they will become somehow compelling excuses for visiting Melbourne and Ballarat and Rochester more often?

The year is drawing to a close..and while I take time to crochet and rest all the big reflective questions rise up...did I do the right things, what are the right things? All the little questions flood in as Christmas looms too-is there enough presents, enough food, enough drink, enough of everything?
I give myself permission to let go of it all! To cherish peace, to cherish others for being exactly who they are, is my christmas present to myself. To know enough is enough, what everyone offers and gives of the heart and mind is always, always enough.

Merry christmas all, be gentle to yourself, eat, drink and be merry and love and love and love.

Enjoy this beautiful song...

Monday, December 22, 2008

the country

I grew up in country Victoria and most years I have visited my home town or others at least once since moving to urban bases. When I first left my little home town I remember my art teacher(the gifted printmaker and all round lovely man Ian Westacott)told me that it took him years to adjust to city life. As an eighteen year old I scoffed at the very idea I wouldn't settle into the heart of Melbourne like a duck to water...

Well, I dont know if I have adjusted yet Westy!? I do love city living and could not imagine living in a country town again but somehow when I am here a part of me that is tensed relaxes, and it is a part I don't even know is tense 'til then...

I am back down here, for Christmas and a wedding,
and I am crocheting(eek-presents to complete!!)
and have also ironically been doing a lot of shopping(eek-presents to complete!!!!)

And I feel peaceful, I imagine I could stay here forever
(mainly I suspect because I don't have to )
But it is a good think to feel content to enjoy a moment or a whole day and to have the space and time to really appreciate and notice it...

So here's a list of things I love (and love to find have not changed in the 17 years since I left home)

I don't have to lock my car,

the lady who babysat me when I was 8 still lives in the same house and will still welcome me the same loving way,

my parents leave their back door open for me(even when they will be out the whole day),

the houses are old and grand and owned by ordinary people,

the roads are wide enough for a bus to do a u turn in,

every ones gardens have fruit trees in them, heavy with apricots, plums, peaches, apples,etc

the night skies are spectacularly beautifully amazingly thick with stars

trees like river red gums hundreds of years old line the river banks

the horizon line can be seen everywhere

...and now there is even a great restaurant in my folks town where they sell wonderful wines and delicious foods(Kits cafe in Rochester, I can't rave enough...sigh!)
I think the lack of distractions and the possibilities for roaming is the thing I love the most. I love these moments where you can feel time rolling around you, feeling like a spoke in wheel.

'So the world just rolls on by

slow enough for us to paint the sky,

orange red,

orange red,

here take my hand

and we'll paint it blue again' Emma Dean.

Peace and best wishes,


Monday, December 15, 2008

my favourite shots of this year...

available now...

hey locals,
I set up a display of brooches, postcards and coaster sets in Blackstar cafe today...
so for an up close and personal experience of some of these...

or these...
head here...
Thomas Street, West End, open-6.30-3p.m Mondays to Saturdays.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

going, going away

There will be a collection of brooches and coasters available in Vonneys and Martys cafe, Blackstar, on Thomas Street in West End from this coming Monday. Do check them out if you are in the area...thier iced coffee is the best and contains nothing artificial...fairtrade coffee, organic milk, maple syrup for sweetening, divine in this weather.

I am driving down to Victoria in a couple days time to spend Christmas with my family in near the new south wales border, attend my brothers wedding in the Dandenongs and hopefully squeeze in some rest time amongst all that travelling! I am going to stop in at the Dubbo open plains zoo, for a bit of a safari style animal experience, I am sure my kids will love it.
I hope we all get some big love down there like we did last year...

eeing the woman who babysat me as a child give my son a hug was such an emotional recharge...

I am feeling really reflective, as the year and work winds up for a while. I think a lot of people find Christmas brings up memories, and it can be very difficult, lonely. I find walking really calming and hope I can enjoy some river walks in my parents home town. The banks are lined with enormous river redgums and it is beautiful, so I am crossing my fingers the weather will be good for it, and not too many flies about!

I took this photo last year of some graffitti near Sam and Bruces old house. Sam and I love it.
Be kind,


musical highlights of the year...

Hello you,
these fell into my hands this year...some are older than a year-they were all new to me or fresh or important...mmm, sooo beautiful and inspiring I have to share them and remind me of them and the moments I had with them too!
jose gonzales solo piano, feist album "open season"
Relapse-little birdy
love and misery-ane brun&tobias froberg
japan-Coco Rosie
common around here-Jenny Wilson
Little black sandals-Sia
Horse and I-bat for lashes
Dry land-Emma dean
Everbody loves you-Tara Simmons
and last but not least:
Bouncing off clouds-Tori Amos

Friday, December 12, 2008


Yesterday I saw Dralion, the circus show being staged by the Cirque de soliel in Brisbane this summer. It was fabulous and the performers are mindboggling-ly talented. It was the kind of show that anyone could enjoy, families were there in force because it was a matinee show and it was sweet to watch young and old faces alight with joy and wonder.

I did classes in aerials and general circus skills at the supportive and safe space of the Vulcana womens circus classes this year. The instructors are so encouraging and skilled, they make everything fun, challenging, is a womens only space and attracts a diverse group of home makers, career performers, students, business women, etc. It is a wonderful learning environment and is a great way to get fit while learning new skills, meeting people and having fun.
They are having a show case this Saturday at the powerhouse and it is on at 2. I can't be there (because of the markets) but if you are local and are interested in seeing what its about, do go along, gold coin donation for entry and the show usually goes for about an hour.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Redcliffe-this Saturday the local!

'The Local goes troppo' is happening this Saturday, 3-9 pm, at the Juice Tank cafe on Oxley Avenue, Margate.
Markets, music, munchies...much, much more besides.
You can check out everything I have been working on over the past year, ranging from coasters featuring old book illustrations, coasters with vintage fabric, felt shaped brooches, crocheted brooches, wallets, clutches and purses, tea cozies, oven mitts, postcard sized artworks... plus more! And of course all the other stall holders will have thier handicrafts, yummy goodies, etc out too.
It will be a fun and relaxed event, music, cocktails, delicious cakes and treats, coffee and fresh juice.

I encourage anyone who heads out for the market to make a day of it, Redcliffe was my home for a few years and has a lot to offer. I loved regularly walking by the shore and having cups of tea with views like this...or being under the stars on the beach.

My top picks for a day out;
start off the day with a walk around the cliffs at Scotts point, with some morning tea (thermos you packed at home, perhaps?) or grab a coffee and a raspberry housecake from Banjos cafe on the waterfront in Redcliffe...

Head over to Scarborough and check out the amazing cabbage tree climbing park(a must if you have kids.)

You can have lunch at the best fish and chip shop in Redcliffe, Suttons seafood on Sutton street, my pick would be the spicy calamari.
In the early afternoon head back over to Scarbourough for a wine from Burroughs wine bar, then it will be time to get on over to the Juice tank! Hope to see lots of people there!

Monday, December 8, 2008


View BlogAs I have recently been getting some new visitors, I have to take a moment to say hello and welcome, thanks for your interest, and feel free to send me a message. I have a new email account set up, if you have any questions I am happy to answer them.
With my kids confined to home with chicken pox(not to worry, very mild) I have much time to craft and get on here and upload things. I have some been taking some photos of my work and have a collecton of brooches to share which I loved making.

This one is white on white, a cloud flower, my personal favourite style to make. I was happy to have collected enough second wools and buttons to make up this whole set.
This poppy one is big, bold, red and was fun to piece together.

This piece is made of mixture of recycled felted woollen jumpers and I was thinking of sea creatures when I made it, after seeing some images from a deep sea life documentary called the 'aliens of the deep.' The sight of tentacles moving through water is really exquisite and I translated this into something much less delicate but perhaps cuter.

Unless she is asleep I have to shut Miss Lovely(the cat pictured above) out of my room when I am doing any crafting. She is very kitten like and playful, and will bite wool, fabric, me, if I let ger in with me. So how ironic then to make this cat brooch.
This one is crocheted from hand dyed organic wool, given to me by lovely Sam and is very earthy looking isn't it? It makes me think of dried grass heads and indigo blue night skies.I am going to make some christmas crafts today with my sons to decorate our house (although we won't be here it will be fun!) Hope everyone else is getting excited rather than bothered or stressed by the thought of Christmas,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blackstar opening

The Blackstar cafe had its opening on Friday night, and what a lovely night it was. It was good to see some old friends and to meet some sweet new people as well. As expected the food, company and drinks were wonderful, but beyond that there was something much more special going on for me.
It was about seeing something really rare and discouraged in capitalist society as the heart of, the reason behind a business. Not token, not for good p.r, the guts of something. And it is inclusion, it is nothing less than love in action.
Fairtrade coffee is very important, the business, but for me the beauty of this place is that it is a space for everyone. For community. While working as a support worker and in libraries it became clear to me there needs to be spaces for communities, not just for 'customers.' Spaces where people will speak to the person travelling in a wheelchair instead of to the person pushing it. Places where you can stay and linger even if you have no money. Places you can go to for company. For peace. For any reason at all.

Vonney read a poem she had written and one word stood out to me, 'unity.' I loved hearing the origin of the name Blackstar and will write more about it down the track, but for now, I really want to encourage anyone and everyone to get on into Blackstar on Thomas Street in West end for a cool iced coffee and a warm smile.

Also a quick reminder about the local-music,markets of locally produced hand made goodies, food and drink happening this Saturday, 3 'til late at the Juice Tank cafe on Oxley Avenue in Margate...hope to see you there!

P.S-why buy handmade? Follow this link for some reasons...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cloud crocodile

I think I have already mentioned this several times in my last few posts but GOD, IT IS HOT!
I am dawdling in shops and taking longer than nessesary car rides, keeping myself in the comfort of air conditioned coolness for precious moments.

Can you see the crocodile in the clouds?
(p.s-this photo was taken by Luka, from the car window as we drove home over the Hornibrook bridge. All of that considered think it is pretty good shot!)
Luka has been having swimming lessons through his school and I popped in to watch him this week. Oh, they all looked so cute!

Besides drinking vast quantities of iced tea and driving all over, I have been busy, busy, busy tying up loose ends, cutting stray threads, glazing, stitching, crocheting.. and I have a nice sized collection of goodies ready for markets and cafes. So here are some of my latest or favourite-st hand mades...

Coasters(made with vintage fabric, book illustrations & recycled cork off cuts sourced from reverse garbage)

Birdy brooch(recylced fabric and cork)

Sleepy brooches(recycled and new felts)

Purse and evening clutch (recycled yarns and buttons)

All of this and more will be up for sale at the Blackstar cafe(mainly coasters and brooches) and the local market, so soon! I am very nervous...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

cheese rambles

I love good cheese and bread, had it for lunch(thanks to Sam and Maria) and then for dinner(thanks to Christel, Sol breads and myself.)
Simple yet complete meal and big bonus in this energy sapping weather it requires no cooking!...salads, fruit, yoghurts, nuts, cheese and bread are going to be the main items on my menu til we get another cool change!

I am also loving my new glaze (which I use to protect and stiffen my brooches and coasters.) It is water based, has virtually no odour and dries clear...its called crystal clear and yes it really is. It is also tough enough to be used on floorboards so plenty strong enough for my purposes. I had been using the most god awful stinky oil based glaze, which was thinner and required more applications and gave everything a grotty yellow tint. It costs more but I use less, and water based means less nasties going down the drain. :o)

My room is becoming a bit over run with stock, fortunately some of it is made to order so it will be gone soon, and hopefully the rest will be snapped up(whoosh," like that"-imagine me snapping fingers) at the market. Or else everyone will be getting 'em for Christmas presents!!

Here is a typical scene in my room: note mug& mobile beside coasters...only thing missing is chocolate-a terrible situation, I must get back to Aldi!

I went out and saw 'Australia' last night, at three hours it is a bit of an epic but it really didn't feel long. The scenery was stunning and although admittedly at times I felt as if I was watching a tourism ad(so many sweeping shots of escarpments) it was utterly beautiful. I recommend it, keep in mind it is typical Baz Luhrmann style: stylised, songs, magic and melodrama, so you have to let go of your modern tastes a little and go with it, to enjoy it.

Photos of new things very soon+cafe opening party this Friday night!

pretty things

Interesting house, made of rusty corrugated taken while hanging out washing on rooftop clothes line.

Some other little things, ladybugs(surely the cutest bugs?),Himalayan restaurants prayer flags and an old painted sign.

When I have a camera in my hand ordinary walks will progress at a snails pace. I would like to say it is because I appreciate everyday beauty and the little things, but um, it also means anyone walking alongside me will need to be patient! These are a sample from the one minute, half a block walk to the corner shops. Not to take photos really, but to get milk and loo paper.
Actually walks with my camera are probably not unlike walks with toddlers who wander this way and that and point out, 'og-doggies' and 'fwowars' and all the other things they are at the right height to enjoy.

A drawing lecturer, Godwin Bradbeer, (from when I was at uni a billion years ago), once got down on his hands and knees on a busy pathway and called my friend Nadyne over to come see a 'cute bug". She was, y'know 2o or so, so a little embarrassed, but its pretty sweet. He also wore bright yellow jeans with big yellow boots and did and does the most incredible and huge drawings of faces and monkeys. He is a gifted artist and was a kind respectful man during my uni days.
A sample of his lovely work can be found here
Anyway, I do think there is something a little more alert to everyday observations in some of us, not just arty types either but just appreciators of little pretty be on the look out..for either pretty little things or types like me on our hands and knees looking at cute little bugs, it'll give you a laugh either way!