Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 25

Another week gone by, this time with my husband in hospital with pneumonia, and me home with a lesser version. Not very conducive to creativity, although I have done some work on an eye-spy quilt for my grand daughter, and some little drawings/paintings worked on beside the fire at night.as88

I used to love spending an hour or two in the big Border’s bookstore in Carlton, browsing through endless shelves of books and music, and carrying a few choice items up the back to the coffee shop for closer perusal. So, so sad when it all closed! The two quotes here refer to Kurt Cobain.as89

On the opposite page, one of my poems, the title inspired by a (slightly snarky) remark from my husband, who saw me writing something one day and assumed it was an “ode” to Kurt. It was a shopping list…Underneath it is a loose sheet on which I copied a scholarly piece about Kurt’s playing style from a book on Guitar players.



On the reverse of the poem, my Peace Love Empathy symbol, which developed quite organically over a period of weeks many years ago. It is generally coloured in, starting with red on the innermost heart and all the little loops, with the hearts in the colours of the spectrum. So, that’s the rainbow for Peace, Hearts for Love, and the blood drops for Empathy.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Summer Lovin’

It’s been cold and wet, as winter should be, and ideas of summer seem far, far away. Yet every day is a little longer, sometimes the air is almost warm, and any day now, Christmas…paraphernalia will be appearing in stores. And what do I love about summer? There’s a lot to dislike…days over 40C, bushfires, mosquitoes, Christmas…paraphenalia that comes out earlier every year and seemingly more of it, and most of it destined for landfill, sport…

At the beginning of summer, those first real t-shirt days are a pleasure, and there are the summer blooms and fruits to look forward to.SummerChristmas (apart from a surge of junk in shops) brings a quiet day spent with family. For the past couple of years, those of us available have taken a picnic to the botanical gardens in Melbourne, a perfect way to spend a summer’s day.picnicReflected in Tristan’s shades, you can see  the picnic rug, me standing, Lucie and Alex on the seat on my left, and Bryan nearest the front.tableau

Christmas decorations at our house have become more individual and arguably more interesting as the years go by. I find it bizarre to decorate with European snow images as we march into blazing hot summer. But I do like fairy lights!

summer paintingI searched through my files, trying to find the photo this (unfinished) painting is based on, with no luck. Maybe it’s in a box, not a digital file. Anyway, it was a glorious evening in Perth, and we drove to the beach to picnic and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The family we were visiting are in Canberra now, so we may never do it again, which adds a piquancy to this scene. I have no idea who these people were, only that they had the same idea as we did, and that they gave me an immensely satisfying summer lovin’ composition that I could hardly wait to make into a painting. My favourite part was the way the sunlight caught in the soft-drink bottle between them – also the comfortable sharing of their evening and the view.


Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 24


The quote at the top of the page is ” Redemption only comes after we have moved through the horrors of our present situation to the better world that lies beyond it.” Derrick Jenson (author of “A Language Older Than Words’). I made free use of my stitches stamp to decorate the page, along with doodles and pasted on pieces of card. The tea-bag envelope contains a card with these words, from poet W.B. Yeats – “From our birthday until we die, Is but the winking of an eye.” Its from a sheet of stickers intended for card-making, but I can’t imagine that anyone would want to put such a gloomy sentiment on a birthday card!as85


More peace love empathy on the next page, too. Our first computer (how did we ever get along without it!) came with an art-making disc, which we had a lot of fun with. The kids got the hang of it better than I did, of course – they were using computers at school, and they had the advantage of just being young. You could do all sorts of things with it, but it wouldn’t even run on our new computer, sadly. And there are no doubt up to date and more exciting versions. It was along time before we worked out how to print our creations, so this is a rarity!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Containers

This week’s challenge is all about containers – instead of the contents, lets look at the outside for a change…


I have a weakness for old tins and chocolate boxes, and I like to use them as containers for various sewing and other art supplies. They can be really lovely in a well-worn, Wabi Sabi way. My button collection gets sorted into jars, preferably interesting old ones.

I went to one of those markets where lots of people are offering all sorts for sale, and the only thing I wanted to take home was a wooden box full of old cutlery. I’m showing you the contents instead of the container, but you can see a bit of it!seattle chocolate

When I heard that my friend Deb was going on a trip to Seattle (and Portland, and various other places), I recommended that she check out Theo’s fabulous chocolate while she was there. Being very efficient, she photocopied a page of my travel journal with a Theo’s packet/container pasted in…And she brought me home two samples, with their gorgeous artwork. (She’s awesome as well as efficient). I have a cold, so I’m not even thinking about eating my precious Theo’s bars until I have my tastebuds back – and I’ll certainly keep the containers long after…

Confession – I still have one square of the Nirvana dark chocolate from EMP, purchased in August 2011.

Friday Poem: Love is a Verb, and I Miss You

I’m not sure why I wrote this just now – it’s not an anniversary or anything. Maybe it’s the old photos I came across recently.Annette and

Sometimes loving you seems pointless
Love is a hug when times are tough;
A cup of tea in the afternoon;
A gift that says “I thought of you”;
A secret smile in a crowded room.

But I cannot hug you-
Your shoulders are dust;
You cannot drink
The tea I brew;
The thought of the gifts
I cannot give you
Are a secret tear
In an empty room.

Yet whoever I hug, I’m hugging for you;
The cup I share I have shared for you;
You are my gift, I give love for you –
And a secret smile in an empty room.a family trip

The blonde girl in these photos, taken over forty years ago, is my little sister, Merrilyn. The first photo was taken during a picnic at Hanging Rock, which later became famous (or infamous) thanks to the film, Picnic At Hanging Rock.  The pic above shows an encounter with an emu when we were on a family holiday. The lad in the sweater is our brother, Alan, the other girl, a passing stranger.Alan and Merrilyn

In this shot, which must be older, Alan is perched in a sapling, and Merrilyn rides her tractor in the background. You might notice that our front garden and it’s decor were a little bit unusual! Behind Merrilyn is a large cast-iron English ship’s cannon, which dad rescued from being melted down for scrap. It’s still there, but Merrilyn died in early 1992, aged 27.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 23

Wednesday again already! I swear they are getting closer together…

There are two quotes on this next page, from Walt Whitman-

” To have the feeling I am sufficient as I am.

and Dr Seuss –

“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.”

Words to live by!


That’s me, about 18 years ago. As a goddess, I’m still in training. Ha ha. The romantic Indian miniature is from a packet of incense – I confess my choice of incense is often influenced by the pictures on the outside more than the contents!as81Stars, and star stickers, plus a hand written description of the supposed qualities of Green Obsidian – volcanic glass.  There’s also a poem, by me, and a quote from Albert Einstein –

“Knowledge is experience – anything else is just information.”as82

Here’s an entire incense packet – this one I chose for the smell, although the pack is beguilingly shiny! I haven’t put anything inside it, but flat packaging like this can easily be converted into a pocket to hold surprise items inside your book., either by adhering it to another page, or punching holes near the edge and binding it in.as83

This Emerson quote is squeezed onto a tiny piece of purple card, and slipped into a pocket that originally held a tea bag.  I especially liked this brand for embellishing books and altered postcards because of the kettle on the packet, and the old-fashioned pointing hand on the bag tag. Tea bags often have nice graphics and I like to save them, especially when travelling – cafes use different brands, so you get some variety! And variety is a good thing.


1 Day 1 World Project: 10pm – 11pm

Like Lisa in Edmond, Washington State, who came up with the 1 Day 1 World Project, I tend to think that 10pm is time for bed. Last night I was up a bit later, because Bryan had been out to play practice again (it will be  performed next month). There was Nothing On TV or at least, nothing I wanted to see, and it was too cold to be anywhere but by the fire. So I put a music DVD (Nirvana, on the In Utero tour) on and did some drawing with pigma pens and watercolour, and then switched to spinning alpaca fleece into yarn. It looks like steel wool, but it’s as soft as down.

10 o’clock was time to pack up and get ready for bed.

First things first, put tht kettle on to fill my hot water bottle. The digital kettle tells me how cold the water is before heating it to my required 80C. (That’s 50F to 170F). Much better!10pm 7

However cold and wet it is outside, a hot hot  water bottle and a pile of pillows and blankets will make a snuggly nest from which to survey the moonlit cloudy winter sky. I wish I could show you a photo of those moonlit clouds, but I don’t have the camera for the job. They were like a great sheet of old fashioned cotton wool, eerily backlit and very beautiful when viewed from a warm bed!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Relic

This weeks challenge is to portray “relic”, and my only problem with it is – which relics shall I choose? Apart from any others I’ve photographed, my parent’s shed and back yard is littered with relics both large and small. Rather than send things to the tip/dump, my dad would just transfer them to “the shed”, which is open on one side anyway, plus part of the roof gave way and let in the rain…a relic

There are all sorts of rusty relics of old machinery, abandoned bikes, boxes of jam jars, mounds of rusting nails that used to be in cardboard boxes, now rotted away. Much as I enjoy taking pictures and souveniring  odds and ends, I can’t help thinking about the fact that someone is going to have to clear all this away some day.

old organ 2

Mum loved the tone of this harmonium, but it needed some repairs. Dad took it up to “the shed”. Next to “the shed”, actually. One good shower of rain, and that was the end of the poor old pump organ. It was a relic when Mum got it many years ago, and even more of a relic now…a relic painting

This photo of a painting from a photo is a relic of my childhood. Painted by me in early adulthood, it hangs in my parent’s house. Beside me (in the pigtails) are Jim and Jen, Mum’s youngest siblings – my uncle and aunt. They lived next door to us. In front are Jason and Alan, my little brothers. Behind Jim’s head is our pet galah, Charlie, who turned up in our backyard one day already named and talking. The bottom of his cage was populated by mice, living the high-life on spilled seed. When we were older, we discovered the dubious joy of using a hose to flush out the mice – an activity my mother strongly discouraged, though not for the sake of the mice. Flushed out of Charlie’s cage, they moved straight into our house…ooops. Charlie was an excellent mimic, and we had no phone, so calls for Dad went to his sister’s next door (on the other side from Grandma). She would call out “Douglas” from the back gate when he had a call, and so did Charlie…One afternoon Auntie Phyll banged on the back door, irate because Dad was ignoring her. She was not mollified at all to know that he’d thought she was the bird!

Friday Poem: Children

One day last week I took the old biscuit tins down from their inconveniently high shelf to see what was inside. One had three pairs of gloves that were my grandmother’s, back in the days when Ladies wore them, one was full of old postcards, handed down from Bryan’s grandpa, and the other contained a muddle of old black and white photos, mostly taken by me more than forty years ago. I have been keen on photography for a long time, and writing poetry for at least as long. So tonight I am sharing some of those old pics, and a poem of similar vintage. wombat hill tower

Their ABC’s:
And count-downs;
The labyrinths of their minds;
Their rattles and their copy-books
Lie broken on the floor.
Their crayons and their pencils
Lie mingled with the dust.
Bride dolls,
And toy soldiers
Lie in a shattered heap.
The room is dim,
And dusty,
The air is breathless.
And deathly quiet.
They are gone,
My heart is empty;
the room is so lonely now.
This was all they lived for –
But they grew up:
They found new ideals;
And then –
Yes, then they went away,
And left their toys
And copy books
To mingle with the dust.

Feb 23 ’72

In my defense, I was going-on 16…reading again now, resisting the urge to edit my past self, I cringe for this poor empty-nester, who clearly needs to get out of the house (after she’s de-cluttered and swept the floor) and get herself a hobby, or a job, or trip c71

This is my Mum and three siblings on a family holiday when I was around 16. We had crossed the Murray river and parked not far on the other side, just so we could have a picnic interstate. We’d crossed the border with the river, exciting!school sports

One more pic – I’m not sure what year this was- ’68 or ’69. It was a school Sport’s day in Castlemaine, I think House sports. The two girls in uniform were my best friend from primary school on the right, who left Castlemaine at the end of form 2, and my best friend through High School. I think that’s the kiosk behind them – highlight of the day! We were not athletically inclined, suffice to say!

The first photo is of Mum and my little sister standing at the foot of a tower in Daylesford. I, obviously, was standing on top, and had already developed a taste for an unusual POV, even though I didn’t know what that was at the time.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 22

So, what happened to last week?

This next page is a Kraft paper bag, and it’s a bit …naughty,I guess. Australians will be familiar with the antics of Hamish and Andy, seen here with Hamish stark naked, just inside the fence of a naturist establishment, his – ah – dignity preserved by the fencepost. The horoscope has the words “Stretch the boundaries” highlighted, which is just what Hamish was doing! The picture of Lord Ganesha is from an incense packet, and still carries the delicious aroma.  as77


On the reverse of the bag page is a quote from Kurt Cobain –

“Punk rock should mean freedom, like in accepting everything that you like, playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good, and has passion.”

I think the same principle can be applied to any creative endeavour – certainly an artist scrapbook!

The quote is written on a flap of paper, hinged on one side with staples – the sloppy scrapbooker’s friend. Underneath, magazine pics of a couple of punk rock bands – Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr, both exponents of sloppy but good and passionate! The Dinosaur Jr clipping advertises the show I went to to celebrate my 50th birthday. Fun times.


More next week!