Friday, 29 November 2013

Nearly Summer

Although it's summer in two days, today was only 17 degrees around lunchtime, it will surely knock us all around a bit when summer really hits.  
I've been hearing the seasonal, mournful call of koels, and I was reading that Nowra is about as far south as they go. Sadly, one of our hens went missing this week leaving a catastrophic spill of feathers as the only hint of her departure.  
Some new things I finished for the shop this week are a framed ampersand-shaped school of fish, cut from a fishing sticker that shows the legal sizes for each species.
Pom pom flowers on gum twigs. Very pretty and elegant looking rather like alpine flowers or dandelions. A lot of native flowers have this form I've been noticing. Most recently the bush reserve near our house is decorated with little purple pom pom flower puffs. Our garlic and spring onions are flowering too at the moment, purple pom poms on blue-green stems. So pretty!
And I've been painting some numerals in acrylics on old canvasses, painting over the top of old paint and sanding back to previous layers for lots of texture.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


A watercolour commission 20 x 25cm on Arches paper. 
My friend Mickie lost his his beautiful dog Miro this week after many years of living together as a family, relocating from Australia to Canada and back again.
I love that prayer "Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am". 
Our dogs make us better people.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Juggling November

I asked my partner Andy to bring juggling sticks to the shop for the opening celebrations on the long weekend in October. He made a batch of them a couple of years ago to take to the Pete's Ridge festival. They have bright colours spiralling along them and are made from repurposed bike tyres and wooden dowel. Juggling sticks are a great activity for kids since it is relatively easy to begin and just challenging enough to keep them at it. Andy has made up some new sets which I have for sale in Huskisson now for $25.

I've been juggling my time at the shop, community care, teaching ethics, graphic design, crafting, family, friends, rosters, finances... not so elegantly at times. The goal is to work hard now and reap the rewards later - right?

Some cleansing rain early this week brought a new frog to our pond with a regular "clack" to sing along with the current frog who sings a collection of clatters like marbles hitting each other. Some blackbirds have taken up in our yard, scratching around like hens in the mulch. The gums are all shedding their bark and flakes of it are scattered everywhere in the winds we've been having. 
The vegie garden is exploding with onion flowers and rangy rocket blossoms and bolting lettuces. The yellow flowers all along Wool road are beginning to blossom again - they made me smile last year!

Here are some pictures of new shop items - firstly, I made a stamp to brand my paper bags. Very happily, this bird can hold items in it's beak, such as this leaf. But it makes me very happy to know he can also hold holly for christmas, flowers and even worms. A bit of fun!

Some more nautical tealight lanterns. Knotted with jute twine, they have a wire handle and are made from repurposed glass jars of course. One of these has sold already.

 Some more paper-cut art. The quote "to see birds, one must become part of the silence" in a pretty script font adorned with birds. I've made this before, but rearranged the words a little to fit better in A4. Hand cut with a pointy little knife this takes ages to cut - but the result is very lacy and delicate-looking.

And some more decorative doily dangler things - made from a row of 4 doilies stitched into repurposed bangles and strung together with repurposed trivet beads - these ones have been dyed with fruit tea (pink) and black tea (brown)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Christmas Cards and Scented Candles

I just wanted to show the process of making one of my paper-cut christmas cards. I print the design onto card, put on the big glasses, find some decent light, and then cut out all the negative shapes. After taking each piece away I can't resist holding up the card and seeing how delightfully lacy it looks. When it's all cut out, I string it on silver thread. I cut a greeting card to fit an envelope and fold it, and then I print a sheet of adhesive with "merry christmas" which I cut to use as stickers to hold the paper-cut ornament it on the front of the card.

 This weekend I finally got a chance to make up some scented soy candles. I bought the wax, wicks and fragrances a little while ago from Natural Candle Supply who are in Matraville, Sydney - where I've spent so much of my adult life - but these days I'm far enough to have it delivered. I chose soy wax with the influence of my daughter, who refuses to use any animal product at all, even wool or bees wax. The containers I've been gathering from op shops over the last few weeks, and have found some nice little glasses just right for the job. Because the shop in Huskisson can be a little dusty especially in windy weather, I thought it would be nice to make up some boxes for them, so I drew up a diecut, added some soft, minimal elements in Illustrator, and printed them on A4 210gsm card. A lot of cutting, glueing, wax-melting, but they look and smell very nice. The house smells great too. The scents are Persia, Vanilla Bean, Chai Latte and still to come is Mango and White Tea!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

October so far!

The Pebbles and Pods shop in Bayside Emporium has been open nearly five weeks now, which is great motivation to keep making and exploring ideas for new products. Today I finished these fabric-covered notebooks, some using upcycled fabric, and finished with a vintage Ric Rac ribbon. 
Other new things are wrapping paper sets made from brown paper stamped with apples or bok-choy, or spray painted with some pre-loved wooden letters as stencils. I've also done a few tags with chlorophyll fern prints. These are done by hammering the fern and creates a beautiful print.
Some Christmas cards featuring bird and deer shapes hand-cut from scrapbook papers and maps. I've been using a lot of maps lately and just loving the colour tones and textures of them. These are from an old atlas I grew up with - many of the countries have changed.
Bird feeders made from wired-up vintage plates. 
More glass-jar lanterns. Some decorated with heart-shaped doilies, some with vintage images of sea creatures.
Paintings on Andy's mum's old piano music. This butterfly I painted while serving at the shop when the international war ships were anchored in Jervis Bay, we had fireworks right outside our door that night.
A decorative wreath made from a native vine that grows in our garden and embellished with artificial leaves and fabric flowers I found in an op shop.
Strings of butterflies! Hand-cut from vintage sheet music, maps, paper doilies and other bits and pieces. They're zig-zagged onto strings and finished with 3 bells that I went to great trouble to rust. They are very pretty and fluttery when hung.
Brown paper cards decorated with paper tea-stained and hand-stamped with both my lino-cut designs and rubber stamps.
I've also had some more bird cards printed with pardalotes and rainbow bee-eaters and 4 other pretty birds. And Some photographic cards of local sights and some quirky things I've spotted in the local area.
Since our big opening celebration over the long weekend, Andy has been making some more juggling sticks, which are heaps of fun for kids when they come in to shop with mum and also gives the stallholder kids something different to play with.
I'm also helping to promote the 'Tricky Words' books by a local author. They are written to aid children with reading and spelling, and are a great project involving lots of talented local kids. More info here.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


Finally the collection of driftwood on my front porch has been put to good use and made some decorative and useful items. The mirror with the driftwood frame was an op-shop find that has new, grander life. I've really developed a "thing" for salvaging and repurposing, and the faded colours and textures of items that have been around for a long time and show their wear. I started out rummaging garage sales and charity shops for unique materials, fabrics, wool, buttons and such, but have also found things too lovely to alter. So the stall at Huskisson will have a combination of both, come and have a look when the doors open next week (14th September)    :-)
Driftwood hanging decoration with salvaged beads and
recycled bed-slat heart.

Driftwood-framed mirror

Watercolour of seaweed

Salvaged hand-made tool box embellished with ocean maps

Just a collection of pretty things! Antique crockery, herb trivet,
old tin, forties and fifties books

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bayside Emporium!

14th September is the date set to open the Bayside Emporium on the main street of Huskisson, very exciting news! I'll have a permanent stand downstairs alongside other fabulous market people including From Nepal and Kan I Keep It. Open 7 days 10 - 5. So in preparation I've been making lots of lovely things and sourcing recyclable items from op shops and even the tip, to add as much texture, warmth and natural goodness as possible. These some of the things that came out of the workshop this week.


Recycled doily sections, bangles and beads.

Doily art. This reminds me so much of a sand dollar or sea cookie.
Recycled doily and embroidery hoop.

Gift tags. Recycled cereal packet and vintage sheet music,
chlorophyll stamped with native ferns.

Wall art from recycled toilet rolls.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Driftwood Birds

There's so much texture in nature. I've become a bit obsessed with weathered paint textures, and weathered timber, scouring the beaches for lovely pieces smoothed and bleached by the sun and sea. The little wrens in the picture are actually made from Andy's old bed slats, but wire-brushed, bleached and rust-stained in mock-driftwood-style. Their tails are timber venetian blind slats.  

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The last days of winter...

These last days of winter are hope and plans and potential. My community care roster is filling up and I buzz around the local area like trainee bee with my id badge jingling, making a very satisfying - if bumbling - hands-on difference in my community. Additionally I support a few businesses by creating artwork and helping define their public image. This work often means long stints at the workstation, suspended in the cold quiet of nights and early mornings, grumbling as I enter and emerging with elation. And then there are the times of making things...

Mock weaver bird nest made from cotton
twine and acrylic yarn.

Production line of nests resting on the Nowra News 

Tissue paper and wire earrings

Salt-dough eggs - lovingly hand-moulded but baked a little too hot


Lavender-filled fish with button-eyes

Soft birds from recycled denim & recycled fancy jam-jar tops.
The doily they're standing on has been dyed with tea.

Hand-made galvanised wire egg-basket.
*not guaranteed to hold extra small eggs

Tealight lanterns made from jars. 'Antiqued' with Elmer's glue
and food colouring, embellished with beads, ribbon and shells.