Friday, 31 December 2010

Bower bird brained

For a little while now I've been frustrated at the lack of space for me to come up with some creative ideas that I am finding interesting or satisfying. Now my physical space is always fairly cluttered and that doesn't generally bother me. I 'spose it's like my head crammed full of stuff and usually I like it that way. But recently my head has been over full and anyone who knows me would probably say that it is exactly like my house- FULL. Tim is quite a bower bird, actually he sees himself as a magpie but truly he is a bowerbird
bringing home all sorts of bits and pieces and scattering them about the place hoping to please me with their interestingness or prettiness. Chicky Babe has found an old "No Junk Mail" sign and posted it on the back door it now says "No Junk Mail Please!"
Anyway my head has been too full but I've been concentrating on trying to find some quiet in my head. I've been reading a couple of books about creativity. One is called The Confident Creative the other is 'The Artists Way' the second is a little 'new agey' but when you get past some of the excessive bits it has some great exercises to help 'unblock'.
So over the last couple of days I've started to play with some ideas for making jewellery combining my love of textiles and natural,recycled and found objects.

This one is hand stitched sari silk and recycled beads from old pearl necklaces.
Tim and I went walking along the beach yesterday looking for driftwood, pebbles and sea glass but unfortunately it is not really beach weather at the moment being summer or s(B)ummer. as Anki so rightly calls it. Beach weather to me is winter when the sea throws up so many beautiful bits of flotsam and jetsam.
Although I didn't find anything really interesting to work with I found a few bits and pieces to start playing with and practicing skills for when I do find something worthwhile and I got more exercise than I realized along the way!
Crochet pebbles as brooches or pendents- I'm just playing with the technique at the moment using the threads that I have on hand but I will experiment a little more with different threads and colours.

And then when I find some decent driftwood some of these...

This is very much a WIP! and a way of playing with ideas before they get lost in the clutter!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A so that was christmas...

I had two Christmas dinners at my place this year so the last two weeks have been a bit of a blur. There was the flurry of Christmas tidying which left us all worn out. Check out the look on poor Pablo's face.

I was going to print some tea towels for friends and family for Christmas this year but ran into a spot of bother with the inking of the print plate, so I abandoned that as a last cause. I have since had some advice from a friend who has done quite a bit of printmaking on fabric and she gave me some tips so I've put it on the back burner for now and will explore this technique later. So as I did not get the tea towels done I had to shop- ick! And I foolishly decided to make cloth serviettes for Anki with crocheted edges - 2 days before seeing her. I started out with a sensible number, 6. Then I thought what if she wants to use them as a Christmas thing being red and white and quite christmasy although not limited to Christmas. I reasoned that she would need at least 12 in that case. So at 4:30 on the morning before I was going to her place for a pre Christmas catchup I conceded defeat at 10. I did the 11th while sipping tea and enjoying cherry cake on her delightful deck but sadly the 12th has eluded me. (I still owe you one Anki and I will get there!) I was going to do a tablecloth like this one I am doing for myself too but that would have been pure lunacy in less than two days!
Christmas eve Tim decided to spoil the family with a new TV for Christmas. He had had a little bonus and as is in keeping with his generous nature he has shared it with us. The TV seemed smallish in the shop but it appears enormous in my little house! Scale is everything.

And even at almost 18 one can still play with the box! (I hope she never loses this playful streak!)
Here are some photos of things that took my fancy at Christmas time.
 Rays of light falling on the christmas tree...
 Reflections in the baubles...
The light falling on this lone blue chair. ( It really must have taken my fancy because I took several photos of this chair at different times.)
 Crisp folds in presents remind me of my grandfather. I was eight when he died but I remember he used to be in charge of the present wrapping. Not only at Christmas but I remember Christmas most vividly as when we returned from the northern territory he showed me how to create these lovely neat folds and every time I wrap a gift I think of him.
I read Anki's post and it made me think, I used to love Christmas too for a number of reasons- starting with our not being invited to share Christmas with my Dad's sisters on the first Christmas following Dad's death, although this had been the tradition for years before, my separation - and the muddle of working out of how to share the kids and my sister living far enough away to make it tricky, I have kind of come to fall out of love with it. At least when the kids were little I went to elaborate lengths to create magic for them I didn't have time to think about how I felt about it. I also think I used to get quite melancholic thinking well there goes another year and I'm still single, I haven't done x, y or z. This year has been much better but I am determined to try to fall in love with it again and start to create some new traditions that bring me joy.
This holiday I have decided to make an effort to make some stuff as that brings me joy too. On boxing day I started with this.

I've seen examples here and there on the net and remembered that I had an old case stashed on top of my wardrobe. It is not fancy yet, I will get round to lining it to make it pretty like the others I've seen but I needed to make sure it was functional first and that I had the right stuff in the case lid and in the boxes stashed within the body of the case. It is dedicated to my art journal, drawing, painting and printmaking and the like.
I've taken step by step photos so I will make a tutorial of how I did it at a later date.

PS. I really should have removed the post Christmas wine bottles off the table before making tutorial shots!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Car update.

'Tis not the transmission as we had feared it could be. It is just something to do with the fuel getting into the engine or something of the like and it won't be scaringly expensive!
Thanks Christmas fairy!

Monday, 13 December 2010

My christmas wish...

I want a new car.
Well I want a car that goes.
A brand new one would be really nice but if mine would go that would be good. I decided to do a spot of christmas shopping yesterday on my way to pick up Chicky Babe from a sleep over. On the way to drop her home before continuing my shopping the car lurched and then the power ebbed. I told tim off for mucking about. It wasn't him. It made a couple of weird noises and then it stopped.
So since I've been a really good girl this year maybe santa will bring me a new car....
just putting it out there, maybe a nice lotto win.
I just bought myself a new bed which I thought was a HUGE extravagance. I wish I'd done it earlier, but I am as usual on the bottom of my spending list. The new one has no springs poking into me and I woke the last two mornings since I've had it without a huge back ache! MAGIC! The bed has a 10 year warranty so at $1890 it works out to be something ridiculous like 30c a night. I've decided I must be slightly crazy to have waited so long.
But the car is a really big expense. I was going to wait until my home loan came of it's fixed rate thingo (I set it when it was going up and up fearful that it would go up to 19% as it did in the eighties. I fixed it at almost 8% for 5 years while the kids were at high school thinking that at least I knew it was manageable on my income. Then it started to fall...and fall...and fall down to about 3%. I got a letter saying it will go onto the variable rate next month and I noticed that the amount I will have to pay is almost $100 less- enough for a car loan maybe. Now I have to decide what type of car to get. I've been looking at a GETZ. They are small compact but quite roomy inside still and run on the smell of an oily rag.
PS: I also wish for world peace.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Is this an aardvark?

Anki's little girl wants an aardvark for christmas. I read it in her blog and the very next day I found this fellow. I thought he was an aardvark
the lady in the shop thought he was a Kangaroo.

And for no reason at all - other than they looked like a funny face. 
Here are my eggs that I had for breakfast yesterday.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The pointy end.

We are fast approaching the pointy end of the school year. Only three weeks left and I've very nearly completed all my reports - about 300 art reports and 28 year three general class ones. So no I probably shouldn't be blogging I 'should' be finishing what I need to finish so I can breathe a sigh of relief than I can blog or whatever else I choose to do  like crochet or printmaking without any guilt whatsoever.

I've started going to the pool again so I need to have a nice bag to take all my stuff in. It is almost finished. Well the crochet part. I am going to line it and make a zip up section for a bit of money. They make passable coffee at the Fremantle pools so sometimes we stop and have a coffee after our swim. Tim, Bantam Boy and his girlfriend have been coming with me.

I did print that flower from my previous post. The print, ie the design looks quite good but the printing ink I used was not at all what I expected. I used permaset, an ink I have used previously with much success. But this time I used green as I was making it for my sister and green is her colour. The ink was very thin and refused to make that lovely 'kissy' noise that printmaking ink makes as you put it onto the plate and roll it, and it printed very streaky. Not nice. Perhaps I might need to use a foam roller with this type of ink.
When I've finished my reports I will experiment a little and get back to you about it.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

carving, cleaning & gardening

For some time I've been wanting a decent set of lino carving tools and a month or so ago Tim ordered me a set on eBay (I think I may have complained that he spoiled the girls -Chicky babe and Bec- buying them manga stuff on line) Anyway I have been waiting and waiting and the girls got their posters and other booty and day after day went by without my tool set arriving.

Yesterday the neighbour handed Tim a package- it was my tool set! They had had them for a couple of weeks and just hadn't got round to bringing them over! Oh well, never mind today was the first day in ages that I've had time to play with them anyway. They or it rather is quite nifty. It has one handle and 5 interchangeable blades that are hidden away inside the ergonomic handle. It is so comfortable to use. And amazingly quick, I'm using a relatively newish product, the white easy carve rubber rather than the traditional lino I'm used to using, It carves like butter!  Which is both good and bad. Quick to use but also quick to cut off more than you thought you were! Fortunately this didn't happen for me but I can see this could happen if you used this with kids. Tomorrow I'll do an artist's proof..

I want to make some handmade Christmas gifts and this year it might be hand printed tea towels. I have several plain white towels ready for printing. I looked through a book I have on designs from different cultures and historical periods and found some inspiration from the Asian flowers which carry a meaning of happiness- a perfect wish to incorporate into a gift. Maybe I should do a second one reversed so that I can print them alternating along the edge of the tea towel, maybe not it is actually quite big....We'll see.

I just had to include this photo of my sister and my mum from not this weekend but the one before when my sister decided to relax some more in my garden -in the middle of the day in the horrible heat on my only day off that weekend (I was not amused at the time- but this photo is quite amusing and just blurry enough to afford them some anonymity!) She woke me early and asked if she could come to visit- no mention of gardening - half way through morning tea she was up and gardening, then mum joined her, hence the nice top and the fluffy purple hat on mum (tee hee!), it was hot and we were totally unprepared for this kind of get together!They came back again this Sunday but I was prepared this time and had the whole weekend  spare this time. We ran out of room in the skip bin so and will be returning next Sunday ( one of my trees had to come out because it was damaged when the pipe burst recently and then there was 5 years worth of weeds along the driveway!!!!) I think that her garden is so totally clean and tidy she has nothing left to tackle. Fortunately for her my garden could use a little work especially in those areas that I ignore and pretend are not there.
So I was in charge of cooking morning tea and lunch on Sunday and will be again next Sunday- I now have a new found respect for farmers wives or scullery maids of yore. As soon as I finished washing up dishes from first morning tea (yes they are part Hobbit) They were ready for second morning tea. Wash those dishes cook lunch, clear and wash again. Mind you they were a very hungry and appreciative customers.
I made pizzas and a leek,asparagus and fetta tart, potato salad, sausages (at my niece's request) and these scones made with yogurt and oil- they are my step fathers favourites and very easy to make.
I will be able to repeat the scones but I'll have to think up another lunch.
I won't know myself soon. Our newest house mate is quite tidy and likes to clean especially while she is supposed to be studying and likes to rally Bantam Boy into joining her!

Friday, 29 October 2010

And grows!

Bantam Boy's girlfriend is moving in too. I've told Bantam Boy he has to give her one of is two daily showers!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

And the family grows...

Don't panic,
It is not me nor either of my children who are adding to the size of this family! We have adopted a cat.

Meet Sparkles, (as she is adopted we didn't get get to name her!)
Bantam Boy's girlfriend lives on the outskirts of the metro area and has a menagerie of animals that she is responsible while the rest of her family have travelled interstate because of her father's work in the army ( a fact that made BB very nervous when he met them on his travels- think "Meet the Fockers'.) She opted to stay here on her own in order to attend uni- on account of the army will transfer her father again in a couple of years and she wants to stay put to complete her studies. So she was left in charge of the pets- 4 cats a couple of dogs and a small flock of sheep! As she is supporting herself (all be it free of rent, she has to pay for utilities and food etc) she has to work and is attending Murdoch uni and spending time with BB. All the travelling about is making her life a bit stressful so sh has decided to move closer to uni, and the pets have to be dispersed. Chicky Babe has been wanting a cat for ages, as have I but the expense of a new kitten is not high on my budget list just at the moment- so as this one is free, has been sterilised and house trained already it was mutually beneficial. BB's GF gets to see one of her favourite cat's regularly, her most favourite one was her old cat that was about 17 years old and I wasn't prepared to take on a senile old cat. We had 4 to choose from so I made sure to ask questions about them before I took them. The mad one who refused to use a litter tray was definitely out of the question! Sparkles was one that was picked on by the others so we decided to take her. She seems quite happy here and has quickly made friends with Chicky Babe spending most of her time either under or on her bed.
The dog however is a little miffed.

He would like to play with his new friend but she is not so keen.

Last week was ART BLAST (an art exhibition for schools in our district,) about 30 schools participate and as much as everyone says "it's all about the kids" you (well I ) still feel a little stressed and feel that it is a reflection of my teaching and it is a lot of extra work. I was up until 4.30 am monday morning having worked all day sunday went to bed, got up at 7am kept cropping and sticking, went into town to set up was there until 3.40pm. Went home quickly showered and rushed back at 5 for the opening and 'wearable art parade at 6! I got home for tea at 9. That was a long day! Then I had to do duty there after school on wednesday and then take it all down in thursday night. All the while doing my normal teaching roles as art teacher and classroom teacher. Needless to say I am  little tired this weekend.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

No butter scones (3.5 weight watchers points for 2)

Until you add butter when they are cooked!! Very delicious and very easy to make on a sunday morning when you have no bread.
Click here for the original recipe or read on for my abridged version
1 cup SR flour 
1/2 tspn salt 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 cup low fat milk
sift flour and salt into large bowl. mix other ingredients together in a small bowl pour into flour mix with a knife until just combined. Put tablespoons full of mixture onto baking paper on tray. cook for about 10-12 mins

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A post with no title and just a few words...

I am off from school today and decided to water my garden. I found that my rose bushes have burst into a mass of glorious blooms. I cut some to bring them inside to enjoy. 

I was pressed to decide which photos to use the colours are so lovely. 
So here are a few.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

spring in my garden.

And berries in the kitchen.

(Gluten free low fat apricot upside down cake- made with wheat flour and berries, still worked
and still yummy!)