Friday, March 28, 2008

Journal in a hurry

If you are time challenged like I am, don't have time to journal holidays. We designed a journal from the beautiful Cavallini file folders see above.
Last November I went on holidays with my sisters down south, I found this journal perfect to record the great time we had. It took me about 2 hours to upload my photo's from digital camera, enhance and re size photo's and insert journal text using the photo's to prompt my memories. The program I used is Microsoft word and I save my photo's to my documents on the computer. We have put the lovely magnini papers that we sell which is 140 gsm in a lovely ivory colour. Now I have just got to do the same for other holidays. We also want to design a file holder to stand the completed folders in. How easy is that.

Lovely vintage small metal cupboards

These small vintage metal cabinets, presumably made to store bathroom items or medicines are just so lovely to arrange small vignettes in hard to decorate corners. The one above is in a corner of my studio, surrounded by old books and vintage cigar boxes, this one is white and nicely chipped.
This one is in the kitchen in front of a corner window on the bench and surrounded by old glass bottles. The colour hasn't photographed so well but it is a lovely pale turquoise.I want to share with you this lovely david austin rose peeping out amongst the branches of the climbing roses in my garden. I think it is the only rose out at the moment in my garden. The heat of summer is hard on the garden and we are only allowed to use the reticulated water twice a week, not nearly enough water so I hand water with the hose in between to keep them alive. This rose opens right out and has lovely soft yellow stamens.

Project Vintage Romantic silk and satin Journal

At the moment I am in the beginning stages of a vintage romantic journal that I am designing. Lots of vintage laces, ribbons, buttons and vintage ephemera. This project is not for the time challenged, as hand stitched ribbon embroidery, making fabric paper etc are time consuming. I find sitting in front of the television at night a good time for this
Above is a part of the collection I have been saving for this project. The chipped metal drawer handle and name holders will go onto the silk fabric covered front. The lovely crochet glove will be inserted on one of the inside pages perhaps holding a handwritten letter. The etched silver watch case below the old photo has glass on the other side perfect for a lovely sepia photo, maybe attached to the side of a page peeping out from the ribbons and lace.

Laying out a page to get a feel for the balance and symmetry, I do this a lot, these pages can sit like this for weeks, whereby I will move things around from time to time. The book I am using is a reproduction victorian photo album with floral images surrounding the cut out for the photo. I cut all the pages out and use them as a base. Can you see the vintage laces the wide one on the left side of the page is very old and a lovely sepia colour. The ribbon on the right of the page will maybe have shell buttons sewn along its length. The photo's are my mum as a bride on the left and the other is my dad holding me. the photos in the background on the left are printed on soft cotton and will be embroidered into a page somewhere. I am hoping you will be interested enough to come back and see the progress of this journal, I hope to have it nearly finished to take to the Melbourne Art Retreat we run in May and will possibly teach a class on a smaller version at next years Art Retreat which we may run in Sydney.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Image of embroidery I did a few years ago on silks and satins.
Today started out with hot cross buns, paid for that later (reflux) just love hot cross buns but the spices in them give me much pain, still it was worth it. This was not a day for housework, so I finished a book that I have been reading by Bernard Cornwell, 'The Winter King' the first of a trilogy about the legend of Arthur and Merlin, I have always been fascinated in this Legend and while I was in Cornwall UK a couple of years ago with my sister Phillipa, we stayed in a castle called Camelot, not the Camelot but it was over 100 years old, built on the top of cliffs overlooking the sea, across from the ruins of Tintagel where Arthur was supposedly born and below were the caves that Merlin supposedly inhabited. There is no proof in history that Arthur or Merlin existed during these wars with the saxons after the romans left England. A really good read I must get the next book in the trilogy now as its hard to keep track of the names.

I watched the DVD Fleetwood Mac 'The Dance' which was 106 minutes of pure magic. What talented musicians, I am transported with the beautiful smokey tones of Stevie Nicks, and the mellow voice of Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham what can I say about this amazing guitar playing genius and voice. I do so admire people who are so passionate about their music and it comes through in their performances. I loved all the tracks but The Chain is a favourite and Tusk with the Marching Band joining in was pure magic, John has a really good sound system and loves to turn the volume up and the music just washes over you in waves. I have a very mixed range of music that I love, my favourite from way back when was Fats Domino, voice of pure molten treacle. But I love gutsy singers with a very raw sound, love good guitar playing, blues, jazz, hard rock to gospel. When I was a young girl living on a sheep and cattle station in NZ, my older cousins used to sing gospel songs in harmony when doing the dishes, I was in heaven, singing is not something I do well, breathing is my problem but I do love listening to music when I am doing my art, Leonard Cohen's Dear Heather is a good one for me. In the afternoon it was around to Jo's to make more birdnests with my granddaughters for their easter eggs, this was a fun time for them and me.

Our website seems to be operating again, our IT man Scott very patiently explained to me that the problem was between our website provider and our internet provider BigPond, in language that I could follow, he explained that there are a number of links ie Perth - Adelaide, Adelaide - Sydney, Sydney to LA in the USA, and so on, and there was a link broken in America on a Bigpond line which is why those with Bigpond where having the problem. We found some people had no problems where others had intermittant access I am guessing their providers went through Bigpond and to the likes of us on Bigpond who had no access for nearly a week. So our deepest apologies to anyone trying to access our website

Finally a message to the lovely Juliarose I have been unable to reply to your kind comments on my blog as I cannot access your email by reply, would love to contact you so could you send me your email address.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sorry Juliarose, I am not very good with blog procedures, I am supposed to tag someone. Sorry I can think of only one blog to tag and that is my dearest sister Phillipa who has a wonderful blog on her vintage collection, she also sells vintage products if you contact her via her blog. A lot of my wonderful vintage stuff I have got from her, oh there is no better friend than a sister and I have three, how lucky am I.My dear Jo has been under a lot of strain with a rebel teenage daughter which has increased in intensity this school term. Its very hard being a mother and a daughter at this age, one questions reasons for the behaviour which is so out of character, they have been through all the counselling routes to no avail, one has to think maybe a physical unbalance. Once they come out the other side of all this I am sure they will be the greatest of friends. The photo above of Jo shows that she is very slight in build, what it doesnt show is her sensitive nature. As Jo's mother I am trying to cut her slack in the shop to enable her to cope with all the tension, and be supportive both to her and to my granddaughter who I usually have a very close relationship, guess I can only be there for them both to help pick up the peices.

This week has been a bit of a challenge, it has come to my notice that an online shop has downloaded an image of my artwork from my blog and directed her customers to my blog. I can only see this as using my knowledge of the Golden products to promote their online sales. This website does not have a retail shop so does not have to contend with the expenses involved. I understand there is a place for online shops but their ethics are not always very high, there I have vented my spleen. Unfortunately for those who visit my blog and have learnt techniques that I have been only to willing to share and promote the wonderful Golden Products, I will not be putting anymore of my art samples on my blog, however if you contact me by phone or email I will do my very best to help you. I really, really am sorry to take this step but it leaves me very vulnerable to predators. I hope you will continue to visit and read my blog and if you don't I am sorry I will miss you.

ciao bella

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The lovely juliarose tagged me, this is new to me, not sure what to do but will give it a go, 7 random facts about me. oh gosh!!!! ok
1 born in the land of the long white cloud, my wonderful New Zealand, moving to Australia with my family in 1982. NZ is still home.
2 oldest of four wonderful sisters at 63 years young, so i am the big sister.
3 drove through Germany on the right hand side of the road with my sister as co pilot and map reader, think it was more of a challenge for her, reading the sign posts.
4 love mixed media art, pure escapism
5 have a never give up belief in life, and will give anything a go
6 my passions are chocolate (oh I cant believe I said that one) vintage everything, reading, music
7 I would love to be able to dance, any kind of dance, just love the rythm and in my mind I can soar with the 'So you think you can dance" contestants

There now as you can see I am a quirky minded soul who will be up to my elbows in paint for as long as I can move my hands and fingers. Love to travel, especially Europe and the UK, I am a late starter where travel is concerned. Thought I would go for 6 weeks with my sister, do it on the rough, and that would be that, wrong, now I can't wait to go again. I come from a warm loving family who instilled in me that I could do whatever I want do where I like, I just took a while to come to believe it.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Hi to you lovely readers who take time to read my ramblings. I have had a very relaxing week away with my wonderful husband, we both needed it. Was great to spend time with my oldest daughter Kirsty and her family. Collie is two and a half hours drive away and we don't get to go down and see them as often as we would like. Kirsty feels a bit neglected sometimes. When your children grow up and have their own families and a ultra busy life, as parents you feel that you dont quite fit in as much as you love them. I treasure the times when Kirsty is able to come and stay with us in Perth on her own and we get to spend one on one time together. As I too treasured the time I was able to spend with my dearest mother who died 15 years ago, I miss her so very much. Just a message to those of you lucky enough to still have your parents with you, treasure them every day. Well enough of my thoughts. While I was in Collie on Saturday they had a Trotting Meeting that Kirsty, Jack my grandson and self went to on the spur of the moment. We are not gamblers, but I have always loved horses and find trotters pure poetry in motion, so I just love to spend time watching them. We where the last of the big gamblers, took $1 bets on the last four races for a bit of fun. I spent $4 and won $2.30 so for $1.70 had a lovely afternoon. The week was extremely hot and the countryside down south is very dry, so it was a rather beige landscape of dry grass. John and I spent one day driving a round trip to Kattanning where there is a wonderful antique and collectible shop called 'The Goose's Bridle' can you remember the saying a wigwam for a gooses bridle when you asked what something was, well this is what it is named from, how cool is that and what a great name. Naturally I found a few things to purchase, they also have this wonderful old Aussie shed to the side, cobwebs and all. In there I found a tin of old rusty nails, a part of an kerosene lamp that looks like a crown and a lovely old bedside clock which I like to collect. Inside I found some lovely vintage fabric peices that I just had to have. Some of these peices are for a collaborative peice that Joanne and I will be starting very soon, I will put the different stages on the blog as we go to share the creative process, this will be using techniques we learnt from the wonderful Michael de Meng. The fabric bits will be going into a vintage mixed media book I am designing and will be teaching. This book requires a lot of vintage peices and fortunately I have been collecting for a few years now. I will also put this on the blog to share with you and I will have it on display at the Art Retreat, so I will have to work my butt off to get it done in time. Still I find with most projects its the collecting of all the elements that you want to put into it that takes time. Here I am digressing again, its just that I have so much I want to get into, art related. Above is a photo of the beautiful Collie river on the hottest day!Above is my dear Kirsty, worrying about her double chin hah! she should worry. We spent a lovely day in Bunbury, this photo was taken at Aristos where we had a fresh fish lunch. While driving around Bunbury we came across this row of baby doves taking flying lessons, how cute are they. We have doves in our back yard, but never have I seen so many babies altogetherThis one obliged me as I zoomed in for a close up. How ghoulish am I, a baby pigeon flew into our garage and killed itself trying to get out, I left the body there for months until it mummified, its safe in a container now waiting to be put into the right art assemblage, its short life was not in vain.I cannot stay away from art for long, on pondering what to give my two Collie grandchildren I came up with an idea that would involve them as well. I picked them up after school then we went up to the bush and gathered bits and peices to make a birds nest for their easter eggs. Think they loved the gathering part most, although Jack 8 enjoyed the construction also. We got a couple of tennis balls to use as a mold. Wrapped small peices of the lovely paperbark around one half. then was the creative part of twisting wire, old string, dried grass, leaves, seed pods, bits of glass etc around the shape, gluing with lots of pva glue. When all this was dry we took the ball out and lined the inside with lovely goose feathers we found down by the river. We wrapped the easter eggs (bigW) in glad wrap keeping mind the mites etc that would be in the feathers. and wella not as good as the bird makes, what do you think, the kids loved them. Now I am thinking how am I going to make 7 more before easter!

This dear little nest we found on the ground in the laneway, as I collect nest this was not one I was prepared to give away, goose feathers enhance it.

Well now its back to work again, must say I love my work, mmmh parts of it not so much, the creative side of it yes! We have a lot of work getting things ready for the two art retreats. Have you seen the lovely Judy Wilkenfeld's blog Red Velvet, this girl is going places her blog will wrench your heart. Judy is off to teach at Art and Soul very soon, and we are negotiating to have her teach at our Art Retreat next year so keep an eye on our website Joanne has some real interesting artwork that she has been doing lately, if you have time take a look.

ciao bella