Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Today is the longest day of the year here in the southern hemisphere.  It has been the most glorious day in Hervey Bay! A breeze has blown all day and that has kept the humidity down.  I have been busy most of today: going to the gym, doing a bit more Christmas shopping, doing some ironing, sewing and drawing.  I also wandered my garden with my camera for ten minutes again.  We have some beautiful flowers at the moment.

The hibiscus are stunning.

The frangipani are always a delight, but these ones don't have the perfume of some!

 For the past few days these two have been regular visitors (they spent most of today day feeding in our back garden but did zip around the front for a dip in the pond!)

To me the day's most important celebration is that of the birth of this wonderful lady 89 years ago!  I won the Mum lottery on the day she gave birth to me.  She is one of those truly amazing women.  Incredibly intelligent, strong and resourceful.  I love you Em as do all of your children and grandchildren (happy birthday to you too Kylie!).  We are all blessed to have you in our lives!

Friday, 16 December 2011

A Week of Smiles!

Just had to do a 'Joyjam' entry today because it sure has been a week full of lots of things to make me smile!  Tuesday was a brilliant day.   Lunch with my two beautiful children which included sitting listening to the story of my daughter's last day of her first year of teaching (all the other teachers had one or two students from their calsses turn up for 'clean-up day' - Ashy had 15 of her Year 6 class!  My son's story was no less inspirational as he told me how he had led a major project to help a mate in need.  He co-ordinated an incredible effort to help out.  Just makes a Mum's heart swell to hear the stories that her children are going ahead and making a real difference in this wonderful world of ours.

Major smile number two for the week came when one of my wonderful friend and I went to see 'Cold Chisel' on Tuesday night.  The concert was fabulous, but I think the biggest smiles....well actually belly laughs, came as we ran to the car through torrential rain after the concert!  We were both completely drenched and at times running through ankle deep water, splashing like two five year olds and laughing hysterically!  It was topped off by the rain stopping just as we got to the car and then the two of us singing along to 'Cold Chisel' songs as we drove home. Sometimes it is absolutely the simple things in life which bring the greatest joy.  Here's a 'long arm' shot taken of Jane and I before the concert....mmm it's a bit off centre .....I think I need to practice these more!

Next big smile was all day Wednesday when Jane and I visited an art store, had lunch in one of our old haunts from years ago and then found some bargains in 'Spotlight'!  Just got to love this sort of shopping with a friend!

Thursday's smiles came when I had the chance to talk on Skype with some of the students I taught in London and a few of the wonderful staff members I was inspired by in my time there.  I miss these people incredibly and to have the chance to chat was just brilliant!

.....and today I just had to think of some of the things I am grateful for to start smiling all over again!

  • the ability to go to the gym to keep fit
  • my art which continues to be one of life's true treasures

  • receiving things in the mail (60 new paints!...ooohhh can't wait to play with them!).  'Lots of colours' has always brought a smile to my face!

  • being blessed by loving and being loved by my darling
Who wouldn't be smiling I say!!!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Gate Crashers and Visitors

This week has been another very busy one.  Today is our youngest's 20th Birthday.  I can't believe that the little 12 year old boy I met when I started going out with Richard is 20 already!  Sam I hope you have had a fabulous day!

I have joined the gym and have started to try to get myself fit again!  I need to strengthen up and get my flexibility back!   I was there four times last week.....let's see if I can keep that up!  I also did a lot of creating throughout the week.  Here's just some of what I made:

Do they say something about my moods this weeks...meditative and yet full of energy?  Well the second one was done as a sketch initially the right way up as I drew.  I then realised that my journal was upside down when I drew her so decided to try to make sense of her that way and this is what came along.  It was a huge challenge to try to get the shading and the highlights in the right places when I was thinking of her being upside down.  Let's just say an interesting challenge.

A couple of weeks ago we went to my friends' 10th Wedding Anniversary party in Maryborough.  It was a lovely evening held in their carport.  This little guy decided to gate crash.

That's my hand behind him to give you some sense of scale.  I would say he had to be at least about 20 cm or 8 inches long!  I had to get a photo of him because my friend in London has some he keeps as pets and I thought Simon would just love to see this one!

There were more interlopers in my week!  On Friday I decided to do a little bit of gardening.  There was a Eucalypt seedling in the front garden that I decided needed to go so I reached across it and got the nastiest sting on my upper arm from this little guy!  I have no idea what sort of caterpillar he is but my goodness he packs a punch!  He stopped me in my tracks.  I needed to come in and put an icepack on the sting, take an antihistamine and sit down for a little while.  This morning I decided the price he needed to pay was to be my model while I played with the macro lens on my camera!

While I was out there I also spotted this chrysalis and decided he could model for me too!

I think this next story though takes the cake for the week's excitement!  I was laying in bed reading last night (a real book, not my Kindle) and Richard decided he wanted to go to sleep.  I knew at one point I had a reading light on my bedside table so I decided to have a scout around for it.  Well I nearly jumped out of my socks....except I wasn't wearing any!  When I turned around there were two little eyes looking at me!  This is who they belonged to:

She is an Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog and is about 2.5cm long (I can fairly confidently say 'she' because the males only grow to about 2 cm).  She was sitting under my lamp I guess hoping to catch any bugs the light attracted. She is the third one we have had in our house since we have been home.  I keep catching them when I can and popping them back outside.  We have had so much rain lately (about 150 mm or 6 inches this month and we are only up to the 11th!) that I guess they think it is moist enough indoors for them!  I can hear them right now out in our garden....they are noisy little devils too!

Another joy I had this week was to go to watch Harry perform at a local retirement village.  His Kinda group were singing Christmas Carols there.  It was delightful and best of all was his comment when I asked him if he had had a good time.  His response.....'Oh yes Grandma!  I just love being on the stage!'  Oh he melts my heart!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Our Creative Side

Our house has become a very creative one in the past few weeks!  Richard has been busily working on his new model railway and finally received the track underlay from America late last week so he could start laying the track.  He he was at the weekend:

It took him quite a long time to do and seemed to be very fiddly, but the part he has finished is looking good!  There are three big sections to the model and the final one has a turntable.

This is what I have been up to at my brand new studio desk!!:

I have had my sewing machine out for the first time in definitely more than six years, and may be even eight or nine!!  I can't tell you at the moment what I am making (Santa surprises!), but I have to say that I am loving doing it!  I have a view out of that window directly into some Frangipanis and have to say that I have lovely chats with the butcher birds and kookaburras that come to sit in them! One of the great things is also that I have the iPod dock we had in London in the room and can have it playing as I create.  I just love it!  My storage unit it made from the old TV unit.  I will be painting the walls and furniture and hopefully making a patchwork quilt for the bed that is behind my chair so that it becomes more like a daybed.

I have also done more work on my latest art course:

This is meant to be like a fashion mood board.  The girls were traced from photos from a web site and then coloured to suit my theme.  I really enjoyed this challenge.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Filled with Joy (One for Jane)

I have been following this blog since it started a few weeks ago and decided that I would add to it today.  The idea is to blog about the things you are grateful for or joyful about.  So here goes:
  • I am so grateful to have friends in my life who encourage me, like my wonderful friend Jane this morning encouraging me to blog today!
  • I was so excited to complete the 'Supplies Me' online course with the wonderful Jane Davenport and as a result be able to produce artwork like these:
Fairy Dust



Just Relax

  • I have just started another online course with Jane Davenport called 'I Heart Drawing' and did this for my very first assignment:

  • and I have finally started to get Christmas organised!
So yes today I am filled with JOY!!!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Art and Rome!

I returned to work at my old school last Tuesday and am surprised at how easily I have just slipped back in.  Admittedly I have no preparation or planning to do, no assignments to mark, and so it is only really school hours without the normal extras!  The up side is that it has not interrupted my work on my art course too much!  The initial plan of me working there two weeks and then going to my new school has not come off, so I will be at my old school for four weeks and then we will see! I have to say it is lovely to see some of my old students again!

I thought I would share a couple of the pieces I have made for the course first and then some more photos from Rome finally!

This was drawn as an exercise in shading. The idea was to try different media and to build up the layers to provide the illusion of the sphere.

With this one I was trying to practice shading with blending of pencil and so I shaded the balls with the main colour, a darker colour and white.  I then used what I had learnt to shade the girl's back!  I am so excited about how much I am learning!

At the moment I am working on a page using markers.  I have never really drawn with them before, but have to say that I am pleased with how it is progressing!

Ok so let's do a quick side trip to Rome...

We visited the Colosseum

...and of course Harvey had to jump in front of the camera!

We were amused by the games of 'Cat and Mouse' played by the Police (see the car on the opposite side)......

....and the illegal street vendors (see the guys running with their white sacks!) 

We were in awe of the age and the beauty of Rome.....

.....inspired by beautiful and ancient artwork.

Just look at the beautiful folds in this robe!!!

We visited the archeaological site across from the Colosseum and were impressed by the fact that they are still excavating!

We made daily visits to our favourite (this trip anyway!) Gelateria.

...aahhh that 'pruna' or plum flavour was absolute heaven!!! 

...and of course had to revisit the Trevi Fountain to throw in our three coins to make sure we would return to this beautiful city! 

When we left Rome we did it in style!  We flew business class so Harvey got to chill out in the comfy chairs in the lounge while we enjoyed food and drinks before our flight!

 The food on the plane was fabulous and the space even better.  We were on the top deck of the plane....something we both admitted we wanted to do when we were children!!

...and yes Harvey got to enjoy the experience too!

 Got to love that husband of mine, he sure has a way of making dreams come true!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

At home and loving it!

I know I left you somewhere in Rome last time, but honestly the two and a bit weeks we have been home have just flown!  We have been to Melbourne to see one of the most wonderful people in the Mum.... and I have been doing 'stuff' around the house.  I have rediscovered a couple of garden beds (probably not even a tenth of the way there!), sorted a few cupboards and parts of the house ( I need to times what I have done there by 100) and most importantly, spent time with our beautiful daughters (love you Ash and Jade) and with our grandson Harry.  Add to this list that I have been doing an online art course called 'Supplies Me' with the incredible Jane Davenport that is up there as one of life's treats!  She is a brilliant teacher and in just three short weeks she has us all doing the most amazing journal pages!

Here are some of the things I have done with her:

Sketching with coloured pencil to learn about proportions and how to draw the parts of the the face

Starting to learn to blend coloured pencil for the face. 

Drawing a bottom and back! 

Blending and using watercolours 

A journal page using a textured gesso background, coloured pencils and water colours 

Same as above (I used feathers as my texture!)

 I bought myself the portrait set of prismacolour pencils....I am so glad I did!

Anyhow as you can see I have been a little distracted...but so has my love!  I got a glimpse of what retirement might look like for the two of us tonight.

Richard has started building a new model railway (it's not a trainset!).  He was busy sorting out a locomotive and I was drawing and painting.... the kitchen bench is under there somewhere!  Yep it is bliss!  I will try to get back to Rome soon and then Thailand!