News from Spring

I thought I would swing by to update you on few things I have been up to lately. After a holiday visiting family in the country, Camping at Wombeyan caves followed by a relaxing few days at the beach, we returned refreshed and ready for the lead up to Christmas... maybe.

I recently joined Illustrators Australia, I'm very excited to be part of this great resource for Illustrators. You can see my little page over here.

I painted a piece of timber for the "9x5 show" for the Illustrators Australia CARNIVALE exhibition. I was inspired by a past trip to Venice and Padua. If you happen to be in Melbourne you can visit the 9X5 Exhibition at SPACE 39, Lvl 2, 39 Little Collins St, Melbourne. Opening night is this Friday the 9th November 6pm-9pm.

Last Saturday I made the long trek into the Blue Mountains to "Pinerolo" Margaret Hamilton's children's book cottage in Blackheath. She runs courses on children's book publishing among other things. It was so lovely to be swept up in her enthusiasm for the books she has created over the years and all the amazing writers and illustrators she has worked with. She was also joined by renowned illustrator Wayne Harris who showed us many of his award winning books and and the original illustrations he created for them.

I enjoyed Margaret's extensive Owl collection, original collections of artwork from many amazing artists including one of my former tutors Tony Oliver. I didn't get a chance to have a good peek at her book collection.

Home Inspiration

Just discovered this sneekpeak on DesignSponge which I love. We all know how much I love green and I have also been loving reds, orange and blues lately. I love the mix of old and new in this place. Somehow it just looks fresh.

I must admit I have been loving frames made from recycled bits of wood recently (like the ones in the bedroom) I think I am a frustrated beachcomber.

And the nursery has been done in similar colours to ours. We have done the green wall again like in E's room with orange and red accessories. I can't wait to finish our house someday. It is currently so far removed from my vision for it that I am secretly embarrassed whenever anyone visits!

On making things

I was thinking about a conversation I had with a friend the other day, on having time to make things... and I realised something (which is probably quite obvious really)... That the best friends you can have are those that encourage you to improve or grow. Friends can do that in different ways, they can listen to you or comment on your life / actions (in a positive way) or empathise, or share their philosophies on life. Friendships can go through "seasons" too, so stick with them if you can!

What I was lamenting was the fact that I don't find the time to make things because I used to be able to find hours at a time to paint or create, so I would wallow in a creation or creations for maybe even a whole day (much to my husbands frustration). Now I struggle with the fact that my creative hours have turned to minutes at a time. I was asking said friend how she found time to create and she told me that she had to change her pre-concieved ideas of the outcome. She doesn't think "I have to create this perfect object that I have in mind, I'm just going to create because I need to, to stay sane!"

I loved this idea from Jenny Sue and this post by Penny and this post which I happened to read not long after this conversation. It also got me onto thinking about my life and current stresses too, my bad back and all the things we want to do to the house. I just need to step back and realise there is no hurry, I can spend an half an hour to an hour gardening instead of two and maybe my back won't get so bad, it doesn't matter if we don't get everything done, so do it by half.

One thing I know is that I have to be creative in some way, it doesn't really matter what it is, I can cook, decorate, draw, paint, collage, make jewellery, sew, do web design, you name it. At the moment it is cooking. Today I made healthy pear muffins and pumpkin soup! Oh and I made playdough shapes with E!

My current to-do list (much shortened version)

finish hand quilting E's quilt!

Finish the quilted coasters I'm making for my sister

Finish blocks for my friend's son's birthday

new website for my friends business

Potty training book for E in Aussie wording and doesn't talk about buying a new potty (we already have one)

Finish the book I am writing

Table runners for living room

Placemats for the dining table

Rug for Ethan's room (Handmade Home)

Door stop (from Crafty Minx book)

Sketches for children's books

Make a Colouring book

Things to make

There is a tutorial to make this mirror on Design Sponge, I'd like to make one. Luckily my Mum has some leatherworking tools!

The forest wall art is sold at Freedom Furniture. I want to make something similar using three wood panels, painting them white and carving out some trees. I want to paint our fireplace a green colour ( I think) and hang them there.

I want to make similar cushions using some of my cherished fabrics from Cloth, Ink and Spindle and Umbrella Prints. Photo from the home of Shelley and Stephan as seen on the Design Files. I also love the old ladder in the background which holds picture frames.

And because I think this would look lovely with the other things pictured here, a vintage lamp - I would love to find one similar!

Found on the Design Files from Lyn Gardener's White House - photo by Tim James.

Artist - Maira Kalman

I recently discovered this excellent artist Maira Kalman and read her NY times blog in the pursuit of happiness and an interview with her. I instantly felt some affinity with her art. When I was in highschool I would sometimes paint picures quite similar to hers; bright colours, a bit naive, quickly painted, at the time my style was somewhat influenced by Chagall and Matisse. Also I have recently been toying with the idea of painting a lot of "brain dump" sort of pictures for my blog, rather than using so many photos and using hand written text like Penelope Dullaghan and Jenny Kostecki-Shaw.

Hunter Valley Gardens

These gardens are just filled with goodness! They are themed in different sections such as Formal garden, Asian garden, Indian Garden, Italian garden, Storybook land (for children!) etc. These photos are just a small section of these amazing gardens. I was really inspired by the Asian and Indian sections.

This table design reminded me of the tables we saw in the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy.

The Indian Garden and mosaic garden were gorgeous. I had never seen an Indian style formal garden before this.

Indian Mosaic Garden, it smelt like Curry plant, the blue bush in the foreground. I bought some of the curry plants to take home and try in our garden.