Thursday, December 30, 2010

worse for wear...

I feel a little like a real estate agent... maybe not a real estate agent, maybe more a construction company that sidelines in real estate.  I build a few houses on a hill then I remove one and replace it with another, then I fill them with imaginary families.  I am not too sure about the sky yet, it is quite hard to see in this picture but there is subtle colour there, but I don't think it is quite enough... so I will work on that.

I took my Christmas tree down today {the day before new years eve} I know there are rules and rituals about this sort of thing but... well... I just don't like the idea of starting the new year with last years Christmas tree sitting in the lounge looking a little worse for wear, it just doesn't feel right.  Has anyone else broken the rules or planning on breaking them?

Anyway I wish you all a happy and safe end to 2010 and a wonderful new year to come... xxx

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

it is probably best to look in both directions...

Some of my Christmas presents...

 DVDs... The Jane Austin book club, and a three pack
Books... Knit two Kate Jacobs, The Pact Jodi Picoult and Minding Frankie Maeve Binchey
A map thermo cup
perfume CKone
No 3 glass bottle {my favourite number}
A Moopie
bedside lamp
string dispenser with a place to put sissors {very handy for a girl like me}
babushka dolls
I also got a few other things, but they were in use at the time of this photo shoot... sandwich press grill thing, a beautiful mosaic plate that is piled with goodies and a herb chopper.

I am going to a friends place soon for a day of 'making'... so last night I got out my box of bits for making my new house pictures and added a few things... my 2011 diary which I have covered in red leather {top left... just a wee note here if I ever say left or right, it is probably best to look in both directions}  I think I might add some coloured end papers to my new diary {I can't stop picking this up and holding it in my hands, it feels and smells so lovely}, an old piece of work I found the other day that I might want to rework,  a creepy but cool moopie face that I haven't actually done anything with yet... but I like to look at it so will bring it along for a day out. Also some pages from old books and an old piece of paper that is handwritten in French text that I plan to use for houses.  When I bought the pages with French text from a shop in town  the lady said 'oh these are so lovely I have them displayed in a roll on my mantlepiece'... she then asked what I had in mind for mine, I said 'I am actually going to rip mine up'.  The look on her face was rather funny.

So at the end of today I plan to have a few more house pictures done and my red leather diary ready for the coming year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

if you squint your eyes it looks like it's snowing...

More houses...   these are starting to remind me a little of maps, maybe it is the colours I am using, or possibly some of the little characteristics I am using are reminding me of the details on a  map, like the white half circles represent waves and the graphite ones are rocks... maybe I need a key at the side like on a map? Hmmmmm...

I thought I would share a few things that are happening in my world over the last few days before Christmas...

We don't have snow here, not even in the winter time... but we do have this tree (not sure what it is called).  it is covered in blossoms at the moment and when the wind blows the petals all float down and if you squint your eyes it looks like it's snowing... it really does.

This is my favourite tree decoration, a friend gave me a set of five of them , they are each holding something different around their necks and they all have small nails for hair (which are quite hard to see in this picture).   They also have arms that swing back and forth and one day a friend of Hannah's came over and thought that our angels were carrying rifles as one of their arms were sticking right out (it really did look like a rifle... she must have thought we were quite odd).

It was so warm the other night I decided to have fruit salad for tea... water melon, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, paw paw and nectarine... mmmm I heart fruit salad for tea.

So thats what has been going on around here... I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your families and will look forward to sharing 2011 with you.   I am not so good with words, but I would also like to say thanks, now that isn't just the ordinary thanks, as in thanks for the salt type thanks, it is the thanks that says I wouldn't be where I am today without your support type thanks... that silent kind of thanks that goes beyond words.

Thanks... xxx

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

if only I was able...

Wow... it was so muggy today, not really good weather for doing anything much.  In saying this I am really aware of those in the northern hemisphere who are suffering the opposite.  would be nice if we could swap a few degrees.

Anyway this is the third piece in my houses series.   I am quite partial to the house on the far right, I think I would like to live in it... if only I was able.  Something else I used to do a lot of in my old house paintings were washing lines (washing is my most favourite household chore).  So you might see a few of these in amongst my new houses.

If anyone is interested I will be adding some of these to my poor neglected etsy shop in the next few weeks.

Now I must dash as there is a total lunar eclipse happing in just a few minutes!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

minding my own business...

Someone came to my stall at the Fruit Bowl Craft Jam and told me she had a piece of my work from a few years ago... she said it was of 3 houses.   I haven't done one of them for about four years now and so I have decided to take this small connection as a sign to give them a go again... {my Mum will be pleased}.

Houses have always been an important part of my work...  many years ago I based my end of year student exhibition on these handmade books I made in the shape of houses and a few years after that I had several exhibitions with my printing ink and shellac houses.  Anyway... these new pieces will be a little bit different from the old ones, for anyone who remembers them.  Although I am still wanting to incorporate maps, silk tissue, stitches and page numbers... all of which I used in the old houses and maybe a few new things like fish, flowers and boats {especially the handy little tug boats}.

Well... it was my last day of work yesterday and I am looking forward to getting ready for Christmas and six weeks of holidaying.  Despite the fact I am starting my holidays with a swollen and bruised ankle...  I was walking back from the mail room at work, reading a Gordon Harris Christmas catalogue minding my own business but not watching where I was going.  A split second later I found myself sitting in the garden with a very sore ankle!  Luckily it was the end of the year so there weren't so many people around and no one saw... {I hope}.

Monday, December 13, 2010

natural to my hands...

I have been re-aquainting myself with my art supplies the last few days. After a long break (two and a half months!!!)  I sometimes struggle to get back into the routine of making art again and I find the best way is to do something I know, something that comes natural to my hands without too much thought.  Starting with something familiar works well for me as it gets my brain into the groove of creating again, slowly bringing back the thoughts, methods and feelings I have filed away from where I left off last time and the new ones since.

I usually pile my table high with pretty papers, colours that inspire, quotes that get me thinking, inspiration from others, notes and sketches scrawled on scrap pieces of paper... and I soak it all up.  These first few days of diving back in can be a little frustrating as I nut things out, but it is a necessary part of my process and sometimes good things can come...

Monday, December 6, 2010

it's me again...

Wow what a crazy month it has been... that kind of wonderful crazy that happens at this time of the year.  I like to keep myself busy and boy has it been that!  

The photos below are from the Fruit Bowl Craft Jam at the Hawke's Bay Opera House in Hastings, just last weekend, wow what an amazing weekend.  This all weather venue was the perfect place to hold a market, such a wonderful setting.  It was light and airy and plenty of room for all the lovely stalls and stall holders... some of which were old friends who I hadn't seen in a while, some I work with and saw the day before and some were new friends I had never meet before.

 (Hawke's Bay Opera House... Fruit Bowl Craft Jam 2010)

(my stall... looking from the street back into the market)

(a rather messy close up of my table... bookmarks, pendants, prints, diaries and an empty water bottle)

(and the other end of my table... diaries, magnets, calendars, notepads, prints, button magnets and cards)

It was so lovely to meet all the people who came by my table... I really enjoyed meeting you all and appreciate your custom and interest in my work.  I am always so nervous before these kinds of things, not knowing how it will go, what people will think etc... But I always come away with a really good feeling inside.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

blog break...

I have decided I might take a blog break for a few weeks... just while I get all these things made for the three markets that are coming up.  I am not doing any new works during this time so I don't really have anything new to show you.  But I will come back soon with some photos of my stalls and the beautiful settings where some of the markets will be held.  I might also fit in a little bit of painting... I can already feel the withdrawal after not picking up a paint brush since the opening of my exhibition starting to set in.

So see you again soon... x

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a little lost...

This is the beginning of a new piece of work... I am not sure what it will look like when it is finished or where it will lead but this is where it's at right now.

While I was nearing the end of getting work ready for the exhibition I had a lot of new ideas forming in my head, but I couldn't really do anything about them as I didn't have time to start new works. And now these ideas have gone... well maybe not gone, they have just gotten a little lost.  Which is the way I am feeling at the moment.  Like this piece above I am not sure where I am heading, where I want to go, want to be... I feel like I am just a tiny step ahead of everything, with not much room for breathing. Although I guess it is better than being a step behind and it is probably just the way it is at this time of the year.

I am finding it is so easy these days to give myself a hard time for not living up to my own dreams...  I wonder whether there is anyone out there who is completely living the life they dreamed?

Out of the blue the other day Ben asked me this...

Ben..."Is Michael Jackson dead"?
Me... "yes he is"
Ben..."was he alive before he died"?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I am the winner of aroha...

button magnets

I have had a few days of doing nothing much after my exhibition opened and now I am starting to think about making things for the three art markets I will be involved in, which start 21 November...

So here is a list of things I will be making in the next month...

button magnets

I have started on the button magnets... these are very cute and the magnet is very strong.  Both Hannah and Ben had fun with the magnets before I glued them onto the glass button.  After finishing these I proudly showed Ben what I had done with them he got very upset and wanted me to take the magnets off my new creations as I had ruined his fun.

Some exciting news... I just found out yesterday that I was the winner of Pam's giveaway!!!  and this is the print that will soon be on it's way to me... I can't wait!

Aroha (which means love in Maori)

Monday, October 18, 2010

exhibition opening...

It can be so hard putting your heart and soul up on the wall for all to see and comment on, in fact... really quite scary.  As I was hanging my work yesterday afternoon I asked myself several times why am I doing this?  It wasn't until I woke this morning that I remembered why...  I do it because it makes me happy and after all the nerves and self doubt, last night... I went to bed happy.

just finished the hanging

my Dad next to the food table down the back 

people looking just after we opened the doors

and more people looking

Latecia showing me her favourite...

Thank you everyone who came and supported me it was a great opening and to all those who would have liked to have been there but couldn't make it or were just too far away (as in the other side of the world) I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts. xxx

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christmas ornament swap...

I am taking part in this 'Christmas ornament swap'... if you would like to take part in this fun global event as well or want to read more about it click here

I am not completely sure what I will make for it yet... but am thinking along the lines of a magnet of some sort???  Maybe a multi purpose magnet that can be hung on your Christmas tree or for your fridge... hmmmm?

Friday, October 8, 2010

no pink cheeks...

(after this piece was finished I realised I forgot to give her pink cheeks)

On the way home from a little road trip during the week Hannah and I had this conversation...

Me...'that is the All day breakfast place where people go in and never come out'
Hannah... 'really'
I nodded and after a few kilometers of silence...
Hannah...'didn't we stop there once'?
Me...'yeah we got ice blocks'
Then we both looked at each other and burst out laughing.

For some reason when I think back to this conversation it still really cracks me up, just one of those silly moments where I guess you had to be there.

Some things I am looking forward to...

  • 8:30pm 17 October as I shut the doors on the opening of the exhibition
  • having a play around with a few new ideas
  • getting things ready for the next design market
  • 'How to train your dragon' coming to DVD
  • playing dinosaurs tomorrow morning

What are you looking forward to...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

miscellaneous components...

Ben and I had fun the other day making these magnet characters...   I started collecting a whole lot of magnets and little bits of metal years ago, and to be honest, I was actually quite obsessed for a while.   I remember going into Mitre 10 Mega to have a look around and found a treasure trove of little metal bits.  One of the assistants came over to see if I needed help and asked what I was going to use the bits for.   I said "Oh nothing in particular... I've just gotta have them"  He said ok... and backed away.  So Mitre 10 Mega man I hope you read my blog and see that I am not a complete nutter.

It is amazing how a few little miscellaneous components when put together can become something quite wonderful.  It is the art of giving life to and therefore having feelings for inanimate objects.  Hannah was always a big one for doing this when she was younger, and even now at 17, as we looked at an old suitcase for $10... I said 'is that cool or a little too ratty', she decided it was the latter.  I said 'oh well' and started walking away, she stayed there looking at it and said 'oh now I feel sorry for it' and tried to talk me into buying it.... I didn't buy it, with her teenage brain she had forgotten all about it by the time we had gotten back into the car.

Friday, October 1, 2010

We're all going south...

Please consider this your official invitation to my exhibition... will be good to see you if you are able to come along.

sorry it is a little blurry, here are the details...

It opens on Sunday 17th October at 5:30pm
Community Art Centre - Hastings

Exhibition runs 18th - 30th October

I have just received a package from Colorado (man I love etsy) containing components to make some button magnets.  They are so much fun and I am addicted... I am making them for the Hawkes Bay Design Market on 21st November at Ormlie Lodge.  I will post some pictures early next week.

Yesterday I got accepted into the Fruit bowl craft Jam in December... yay! so I will start working on things for that as well...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Porangahau Spring Fair...

First of all... I just want to say thanks to those who let me know their opinions on my tutu girl, it was really helpful to get a different view point.  It can be hard when you are close to a piece of work and good to see it though fresh eyes.  I have decided to have no tutu (which was the way I was probably going to go before I asked your help) but I will save the abandoned tutu for another painting in the near future.  Thanks again you guys.

The Porangahau craft fair was... well, it was windy, now when I say windy I mean like gale force gusts kind of windy!!!  I had to hold down my two easels and pendant stand the whole time I was there.  Although the wind did die down a bit in the middle of the day, there was still the odd gust that would suddenly come unannounced causing things to go flying all over again.  It was quite exhausting... But apart from the wind it was a good day, quite a few people came through and I meet some really lovely people, even someone who said she reads my blog, so sweet.  It was also great to share the experience with fellow New Zealand Handmade members Mel, Kya and Joy.

Here is a picture of my table (I took 7 photos, and this is the only one that looked half way decent).  I took the photo just after we set up and it wasn't too bad, wind wise, it actually looked quite promising, little did we know what was to come.  

It was really interesting to see what people liked, what they were drawn to, what they requested more of, what nearly ran out and what didn't even get a look in.   I really enjoyed talking with the people who came by my stall, nice to hear their positive encouragement and to meet people who had bought some of my work at other venues and recognised it as they walked by.

It has encouraged me to do a little thinking on a few new display ideas for the Hawkes Bay Design Market on November 21st.  

Friday, September 24, 2010

tutu or no tutu...

(so much time gets lost in my mind)
Just a quick post before I go to work.  I have a little dilemma... I am not sure about the tutu? I quite like it... but I also like it without the tutu as well (and I do like the little buttons that match her head gear).  I am usually so sure with these kind of things.  Whenever I try something it is often either a definite yes or a sure fire no... But today it is more of a ummmm yeah I am not sure, type thing. 

so what do you guys reckon... tutu or no tutu?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


(what's at the back of your mind)

I have decided to do another three paintings for my exhibition... I am on the side with a big window at the front of the gallery, so I thought it would be a good idea to put three plinths in the window with a small easel on each and then one of the three new paintings on each easel.   So that will be 45 paintings in all for the exhibition...  phew!!!!  Now that I am on the other side of the work load, I am getting a little bit excited.  

This Sunday brings the first of the craft fairs I am attending (Porangahau Spring Fair)... I think I am all sorted, although I have just realised that we are going to have to get up an hour earlier as daylight savings starts this weekend.  The clock will say 6am but it will feel like 5am!!!  

I always feel a little nervous doing craft fairs, they are such an unknown entity.  Even doing the same one from one year to the next can be very different and the one I am going to this weekend will be my first time... eeeek!

Anyway... wish me luck and I will post some photos next week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

my best...

One of the things on my to do list was to try a few new mediums including the Golden clear tar gel, which I have tried before, but not with the two Golden fluid acrylic colours that you add to make the encaustic look... the two colours that you add are 'quinacridone/nickel azo gold' and 'interference blue'.  I added half a drop of the first colour and two of the second to about 1/4 cup of tar gel... I brushed it on the bottom pale green part of this background above and it gave a yellowy waxy look to the paint.  Next I am going to try and add more detail to the background before I brush on the tar gel mix. 

On the top part I tried a one part crackle medium (this is something I am sure many of you have tried but I have never given it a go, until now)... I first did a coat of thin white paint over a patterned paper and then brushed on the crackle medium (the thicker the medium the bigger the cracks).  As it was drying red tones from the patterned paper started coming through.  Must be some kind of chemical reaction with the medium and the red ink that the paper was printed with.  I brushed another layer of paint on top to try and cover the pinky colour but it didn't really work.  So although this is not what I was wanting for this piece it does have potential.  I think the crackle medium might be best used on patterned paper that doesn't have any red ink in the design.

We have school holidays coming up soon so I will try a few more ideas with these two mediums and let you know how I get on.  I might also focus on a few experiments after my exhibition is finished.

A friend from work gave me this sweet little badge for my birthday... from now on at work it can get a little hairy with students frantically trying to get ready for their end of year assessments and they often come into my storeroom wanting things asap... as in yesterday.  So she thought this badge was just the right thing... so cute.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

on a promise...

I so wish I could send every one that commented a print and one for their special chosen person as well, I really do...

But the winner of my giveaway is number 34 Angelina... the number was randomly picked by a friend.  Angelina, if you could email me your address to and let me know which two prints you want I will get them sent out to you.
(on a promise)

Well the art retreat was every thing I had hoped for... and it was so nice to see people from last year back again this time and a few new faces.  I got a lot of work done including this piece above (not quite finished).  

I have used silk tissue on the bottom part stamped with white ink, and I am quite liking the effect. I used to use silk tissue all the time and am pleased I took it with me over the weekend.   I also discovered a new paper that I can use as a background as my favourite one is no longer available and I only have 13 sheets left!!!  I also had a go at using a few different mediums which I will show you on Friday for those that are interested.

Friday, September 10, 2010

just the right time...

(a friend in need is a precious thing)

I am off this weekend to an art retreat for three days of creating... I have been looking forward to this for a few weeks.  I went last year as well and it was just the thing I needed at just the right time, I feel this year is going to be the same.  I will have the winner of my birthday giveaway plus a show and tell about what I got up to this weekend on Tuesday.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend too...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

birthday giveaway...

Well... today is my birthday and I have decided to have a giveaway to celebrate turning 39.  

Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post.  I am not really worried about turning a year older, it just seems to have come around so fast... this year has just whizzed by.

So for this giveaway I am going to give away a print from my etsy or felt shops... as well as the winner choosing a print of their own they can also choose one for a friend, mother, sister etc...   All you need to do is tell me who you would give the print to and why.

Good luck

note:  When I say today is my birthday I mean 6th September, I published it a bit too early... and also I forgot to say that the giveaway will end monday the 13th September, so you will have a week to enter.... oops

Monday, August 30, 2010

in and out of days...

I have been flying lately, flying at full speed in and out of days and weeks. Goggles at the ready, propeller whirling like mad, raising my hand for anything that's on offer, forcing this year to its end.

But I need the world to be still for a little while, for just a moment so I can catch my breath... I don't think I am ready for the last year of my thirties, not just yet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

three, two, one...

I think I have just about over booked myself, I have three craft markets, two online courses and one exhibition coming up... and all before Christmas.  But then I think to myself 'what would I rather be doing'... and the truth is, there is nothing I would rather be doing, well maybe apart from a little more travel (someone I work with is off to Italy and then Turkey tomorrow and I am rather jealous).

So many things to think about and organise... especially with the craft markets.  It can be a daunting task agonising over what to bring, how much stock to take and whether you have everything organised. 

So I have made a list of the things I will be taking to my next craft market...

Your products 
How much to bring along is a hard question... from experience, it is way better to take along too much then to have not enough.  So over do this part of the preparation, you can store your extra products under the table and bring them out as you need them.  If you don't sell out you have a head start on your next craft market.


I would make sure that everything is labeled and priced the night before
Table and chairs if they are not suppliedSignage or banner
Displays for your products ie: shelves, easels, baskets, mannequins, mirror for customers etc...
Table cloth or sheet to cover your table
Extra price tags
Bags, paper, bubble wrap, tissue, boxes for sold items

Vase and flowers

Business cards
Catalogue or flyers with information about yourself (people like to know this stuff)
A newsletter/mailing list on a clipboard for people to sign up to if they wish
Maybe a copy of your latest newsletter so they can see what they are signing up for

Notebook to record sales, take custom orders, etc...


Receipt book (some people might need one)
Cash box
Change (I usually take  $120 which is made up with  1 x $20... 4 x $10... 7 x $5... 5 x $2... 5 x $1)

Extra stuff
Needle and thread
Safety pins

Craft knife
Push pins

Ruler/tape measure
Baby wipes
Rubbish bag
Mobile phone
Extra paper

Inventory list with prices

For Yourself

Dress in layers
Comfy shoes
Pain relievers/small first aid kit

If you are able, wear your items
A friend to help out
A smile

I am lucky because my actual products don't take up more room then your average file box, but with the rest of the things on this list I usually pack them into a big plastic storage box with wheels.  And I try to pack all of this in the car the night before to give me a little more time in the morning to tell myself that it will all be ok.

Monday, August 23, 2010

my mum...

I have the best mum in the world and in space (when Hannah was younger she made my mum a card that said she was the best grandma in the world and in space, it has now become a regular term of endearment in our family) and for as long as I can remember my mum has spun and knitted... when I was obsessed with all things American in my mid teens she knitted me an American flag jumper, leg warmers in the 80's... etc, and  has knitted both of my children all the jerseys, slippers, scarfs, hats, and beanies etc... they could ever need.  Everyone in our family is always cosy for winter. 

 (Batman Ben wearing an alpaca beanie)

She has sourced all the fleece from around New Zealand and spins it herself on her Majacraft spinning wheel.   She knits at the speed of light and can whip up a pair of slippers in a night... just like that!  (sadly, this is a skill I did not inherit, a scarf is my limit... in time for the following winter).

This weekend she decided to open a Felt shop (New Zealand equivalent to Etsy).  She will start by selling her slippers in 4 different natural wool colours (size 6 months to 18 months) and 2 colours in super soft alpaca especially for new born to 6 months.   Both of my children have grown up wearing these slippers and they are the only ones that have stayed on their feet!

(Ben wearing some of his snugly slippers)

So if you have a little one in your life that needs some practical, snugly, hard wearing slippers take a look at my mum's shop on Felt... you will be pleased you did.

Friday, August 20, 2010

everyday things...

I just love these, they are my most favourite lead pencil to use... I love them.

Now there are several barrel sharpeners that I like to use but this one has a sharpener for lead, one for coloured pencil and another one for larger pencils... which I find useful for chalk pastel pencils as the smaller holes seem to crumble the pastel tip.... and it matches my most favourite pencil in the world.

I have never found a better eraser, I have used some that smudge the lead when I rub out a pencil mark on paint, but not this one... and because of the protective sleeve they stay clean.

 These are the coloured pencils I use to draw the faces on my girls and to do shading on their dresses and colouring up the edegs of my paintings.  Because the are water colour pencils it is a good option to add water if you need to.

There are so many things you can do with these crayons, very versatile... and so many great colours too. They really spread really well when you add water so you don't need to use too much.

There are far too many to list... I love them all.

This is the juiciest white pen I have ever used... I use it for dabbing the sparkle dot in my girls eyes, adding spots to hats and dresses and any other little details.

These are so much fun to use with the applicator tool, adding colour to my girls faces, it is like I am their make up artist.  The light blue colour in the middle is my most favourite colour in this set.

Filbert brushes

You can paint anything with these brushes, they have slightly rounded edges which make them good for blending.  You can get these at any art supplies shop.

My most favourite scissors... the little pair of scissors I use to cut out faces and other small bits and pieces and the large pair I use to cut out... big stuff.

This is my favourite varnish... I have tried many different ones and this seems to really enhance whats underneath.

I have just started using this and I am really liking what it does over the paint... it gives an encaustic look.

I have several of these that are permanent residence on my kitchen table, couldn't live without them.

Well that is pretty much the tools I use everyday... what do you use everyday?