Thursday, December 20, 2007

Earthquake in my home town

Just before 9 oclock last night there was a rather severe earthquake in my beloved home town of Gisborne, New Zealand. The shops in the town were particularly hard hit, with stock tumbling from shelves. Heather my sister in law who has a shoe shop in the town told me that it appeared that the walls seemed to push out and a lot of ceilings collapsed in the shops, the building her shop is located in, is not that old, so escaped relatively unscathed, and as you know you can throw a shoe and it doesnt break. The town area has been locked down until the damage has been assessed and it is deemed safe again. A lot of the shops will be closed for quite a long time as damage is excessive. Gisborne is a lovely historical city on the East Coast of the North Island, (first city of the sun) it has some wonderful old buildings, unfortunately these have been damaged. Over the years Gisborne has lost a lot of its historical buildings to earthquakes, it is really sad to see it losing its character and charm as these beautiful peices of architecture are replaced with modern buildings lacking in soul changing the whole landscape. I have experienced many earthquakes in Gisborne and they are really scarey, such an unknown force of nature. Most of the big ones occur at night, you wake up with a jolt and hold your breath waiting to see how severe it is going to be. Every year while I attended school we would have earthquake drill, but when you awake to one, it is hard to remember what you should do when you are in a state of panic. Heather was cleaning up her home, where jams, chutney, sauces etc had crashed to the floor, breaking and spreading a sticky mess over everything. My nephew was on his computor when the television attached to the wall crashed down, luckily it didnt hit him.
The image on the top of our website is an early photo of the main street in Gisborne, if you can see one of the buildings is Howchow's dining rooms, this was my great grandfathers.
I have really fond memories of christmas eve in Gisborne, where they closed the streets to traffic at 6.oo pm and all the young ones run amok on the road with water pistols etc running into the toilets in the movie theatres to refill, all harmless fun. Before coming to Australia John always had work christmas parties (any excuse for a booze up) so I would take the kids into town, we would have tea at a restuarant then the kids would have fun on the closed street while I finished last minute shopping. This was such a tradition that the kids never forget, it was such a safe place for them, nothing bad ever happened then. I believe that is not quite the case anymore. My thoughts are with you all in Gisborne, as it is always at this time of the year.

Merry Christmas to you all

Best wishes for 2008, may it be a creative prosperous year for you all. Above is the Christmas Journal I put in an earlier blog displayed on my lovely old chipped paint mantle peice, of course there is no fire opening behind the mantlepeice, I just love it to display pretty things on.
These are sitting on top of the heater that sits below the mantlepeice. Can you see that lovely old shoe last still with a scrap of old metal, all rusty on top.And this lovely little old metal cabinet sits in the corner of the window above the bench in the kitchen. Its a lovely faded mint colour. This little cabinet along with the shoe last, I bought while on my week away with my sisters. I ended up buying two of these cabinets, the other is cream and its in my studio. Why two, well they are hard to find, really cheap $25 each and I could always find somewhere to put them. Use them in displays at fairs as well. Well have I justified my purchases.

This christmas I have not put up as many decorations as usual, time was a big factor. I like to put these green swags of eucalytus leaves and nuts that I got several years ago, on the top of the curtains, only thing is close up view of said curtains showed how dusty they where. Consequently curtains had to be dragged down to wash along with the long lacey ones over the doors above. Hanging the curtains on the line the long curtains had disintergrated into great big holes, much to large to disguise as antique lace, so ended up in the bin. Fortunately I had a set of these lovely gauzy curtains I had bought from Freedom about a year ago waiting for the bedroom to be painted, saved the day and I like the way they puddle on the floor.

Today is the last day the shop is open until I re-open on the 2nd January 2008. I have 4 of my granddaughters here scrapbooking while Jo wraps christmas gifts. I find with the shop I dont really get much chance to just be Grandma and I really enjoy their company. I will have 2 of my grandchildren from the country staying with us for a few days after christmas, I intend to not try and do anything ie housework and just enjoy them. Hope you all enjoy the break as well.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas at Artistic Journey

The christmas tree we have in the window is one we have had for about 4 years, the first year I had it at home, then the next year I brought it into the shop where it looked lovely and snowy white, but the next year when we went to put it up one side had yellowed. We guessed the sun had yellowed it so we turned it around so the white side looked out the window and this year we have a very vintage looking tree, sun can be good!!!
This year we didnt have a lot of time to make new decorations so we used what we had and made a woodsy tree, we had these long twisted bare branch's that the dear Sunny had got for us at a sale in a nursery, so draped them around the tree. Popped in some nest's with quail's eggs that we had in the window previously and occassianally there would be a loud crack like someone had thrown a stone at the window but on closer inspection, one of the eggs had exploded in the sun, pooh the sulpher smell. Some old artificial rose garlands seemed to fit in nicely a few of Anthony's (Jo's Husband) rustic bird houses and tin teddy bears and wella tree done.
In the image below you can see how yellow the tree has got, it does not show up in the other images.
We made up a lot of journals for christmas, they look good in the shabby cabinets dont they!!
We made up these journals from Cavalini Folders and I used one to journal my holiday with my sisters last month. The pages inside are the beautiful Magnini papers and I just printed my photo's and journalling straight on to these papers, I was pleased with how good they looked, and printing them straight onto the paper saves so much time, took me about 2 hours to colate my photo's and put down my memories.

How good is this idea for wrapping your gifts, I saw this idea in a magazine (I am a real magazine junkie). A brown paper bag, the sort with raffia handles and a flat bottom, some nice tissue poking out the top, attach a photo (mine is a Cavalini postcard) with a small bulldog clip or wooden clothes peg, I have also added a soldered microscope slide. So don't throw away you shopping bags fold them down flat and recycle when the need arises, some of the shops package your purchases in lovely paper bags, I got a lovely pink one at a lovely french giftware shop I discovered last week. hmmm

I will try and photo my home christmas decorations for you and post before Christmas.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas house book

Well here I am again, this is like talking to friends. Such a busy time of the year, what with classes, craft fairs and shopping I haven't got time to turn around
I am sharing with you a house book we have done in class, I showed you a page in a previous entry and have finally finished. The idea was taken from the lovely book 'In this house' by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn, and of course you will recognise the wonderful Nina Bagley techniques. Above is the front cover, for all the pages I have used old vintage Australian Christmas images and on the front is a wonderful image of a santa on a kangaroo. On the left side I have glued down scrunched up gauze and lightly applied Golden fluid acrylic in silver with a dry brush. on the right side a stamp of a tree trunk from Michelle Ward as well as the stamps of the birds stamped onto a black and white script paper and roughly cut around so you see the paper behind. white buttons have been added onto the branches. A poem about the Christmas Bush cut into strips and placed randomly down the page.
The second page has an old paint brush and white painted twigs ( a la Nina) tied on with gauze. A small square of cardboard roughed up and painted with gesso is held down with gauze glued across with PVA watered down sprinkles of silver micro beads (these are so cool, have been dyeing to use them, have had them in the shop for ages). Photo of my son, oh isnt he cute, bit different to the tattooed man he is today. mica cut with pinking shears and held on with Coffee Break Design silver boubs, dont you just love that word, sounds like boobs.
Page 3 has a cut out oval from the centre, a sweet image of a little girl in her sheepskin coat and muff is place in the centre and a large peice of mica split in two is held back and front of the page with long shank silver eyelets a strip of pink silk fabric glued on top with PVA and dictionary meaning of the word playmate glued on top. All the pages have had the Claudine Hellmuth peeled paint applied to the background.
Page 4 using similar techniques has a photo of my two girls that little dark haired one is Jo can you believe that little round face. On this page a silver and white scrolled paper napkin has had the two back papers removed then torn in pieces and glued down with watery PVA. A feather with round silver frame and acrylic insert covering some text.
yep thats me, just a little scrap back then in my little smocked dress. A lovely image of a vintage santa in lovely shades of apricot that matches the strip of silk fabric glued down over the painted cardboard, a sprinkle of silver micro beads around santa's boots, believe me they are there. A striped awning, some more white painted twigs with patches of micro beads and tied down with the threads that came off the edges of the silk and wella! finished, I am happy with the result think it will look nice on the old chippy paint mantlepiece at home. measurements 25 x 20 cm