Weekly Photography Challenge: Optimistic

I generally like to aim to be realistic rather than optimistic, except when it comes to gardening…That’s the only possible explanation for planting Hummingbird- attracting Bergamot in the wrong continent. At least it has flowered for me! I’m still waiting on the hummingbirds, although we do have Eastern Spinebills visiting at times, and they should like it too!IMG_7181 (Large)

I also gambled on planting Lilium henryi for the first time, and to my great delight, they have been flowering since around Christmas.IMG_7182 (Large)

Still in the garden, after 22ml of rain last week – the only decent rainfall in months – the Belladonna lilies are suddenly pushing buds up from the dry old dirt! In a few weeks there will be fragrant pink flowers for me to enjoy. Not only that, but their appearance heralds the ending of another hot dry summer, and – I’m being optimistic – the promise of good autumn rain at last.IMG_7186 (Large)

Friday Poem:Loss

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I don’t lie awake all night every night, but there’s nothing like a sleepless session for writing poetry…Almost everyone has lost someone from their life, someone they miss so badly from time to time.100_1164 (Large)

Some nights
I could not sleep.
Lying awake
I thought of you
And my longing for you
Raged through me
Like a charge on
a battlefield,
Ragged and urgent.
I rolled over
to hold you;
But you were not there.

You were never
there.100_1165 (Large)

Creativity:Designing a Sign

We are working on making an old shed into a fun semi-outdoor living space. It was once pirate themed, but the new aqua paint has sent it more towards mermaids. I’ve settled on Seahorse Saloon as the name for this establishment – obviously it needs a suitable sign.

I’m away from home for a week, unable to work on the actual space, so I have been researching merpeople and seahorse images on Pinterest, looking for inspiration for my sign. I have a board in mind to paint it on, so that set the proportions. I’m thinking of the style of sign on traditional British Pubs, but cuter.

This is it, so far – a mermaid holding up a bubble, which will be an “O”, and chatting with a seahorse. The “S”s in the sign will be seahorses – I’m still thinking about the rest, maybe seaweedy…It seems like I’m going to do a separate painting of my grand daughter Juniper as a sweet little Mabel Lucie Atwell style mermaid, which will be fun. I might have to put baby Matilda in there, too!

We went op shopping/thrifting on the weekend, as you do. I was on the lookout for anything that would enhance the seahorse/mermaid theme. No mermaids or seahorses, but some over the top shiny gold hooks will be excellent as a place for pirates and cowboys to hang their hats. I imagine that pirates would bring treasure and trinkets from all around the world, so I feel free to be as “eclectic”as I like in the decor.:)

Weekly Photography Challenge: Alphabet

One of the first things we all learnt as toddlers was the alphabet, and this week’s photography challenge is to share images that include a string of letters.

The sign is beside a big Bunyah pine tree in North Perth, where my daughter Zoe used to live. I experienced a little frisson of dread every time I walked past it! The cones of this species are roughly the size of a football (pick your favourite code).

The rest of my choices are of graffiti – three under a famous bridge in Aberdeen, Washington state, where Nirvana fans have written their (mostly) loving tributes to Kurt Cobain. This was more than four years ago, so it will be different now.

The brick wall and many-layered old posters were in Perth, and the large piece in a lane off Sydney Road, Brunswick (Melbourne).It really is only paint on a wall…Although often very stylised and haed to read, there is a strong tradition of letters and words in street art. Click on any image for a better view.

Friday Poem: I Remember That Year

I would have called this poem Sweater Song, but that title is taken by Weezer. The story was inspired by a photo of someone wearing a beloved old sweater, but it really could have happened like this.tiny sweater

I remember you
In that thrift store sweater;
You were happy to buy it,
It was really your colour.
I remember you wore it
All through that winter.

Sometime in summer
It was stored and forgotten.
When the cold came again
You’d replaced it with another.

I found it today
At the back of a cupboard.
I remember you in that sweater;
I remember that year,
We were always together.DSCF4821 (Large)

Just think, if everyone gets carried away with clearing clutter, they will never have the experience of the exquisitely painful flood of nostalgia and memories that comes with finding a long lost (and forgotten) object in the back of a cupboard, or the bottom of a box. And without the odds and ends that we keep in drawers for no particular reason, how could anyone make mixed-media found object art? Here’s a piece I made a few years ago, mostly from such things!dec2010 221 (Large)

Creativity: Party Prop

I’m having a major birthday in a couple of months, which is a major excuse to organise a party (otherwise someone might spring a surprise party on me…) So, my party, my rules. Having discovered that there is a local band called “Kerplunk”performing “90’s alternative and punk” covers, they were booked and “Punk’s Not Dead” became my theme. Looking for ideas on Pinterest, I noticed that painted photo backgrounds are a thing, and decided that would be a fun thing to do.

I bought a huge photo print on canvas for $25 (half price). It didn’t fit in our small car until some (ahem) adjustments were made, requiring some repairs later…I had a few practice goes on it with spray paint, but I knew I wanted multiple layers, and the look of a much graffitied  wall. IMG_6917 (Large)

I had the good fortune to come across this book – inspiration sorted! IMG_6990 (Large)

A lot of band stickers featured on CBGB walls, and I don’t have many around, so I’ve improvised with what I’ve got. I found they don’t stick very well on the canvas substrate, whether because of the finish or movement, I don’t know. I resorted to gluing them.IMG_6993 (Large)

I’ve painted over some of the old writing (emptying the brush from painting walls), and done a bit more spray painting, including using a stencil (from Typo).IMG_6991 (Large)

Today I hunted out some permanent markers from my supply stash, and added a few more pieces, including my “peace love empathy’ heart design, which I’ve been doing for around twenty years. I’m missing yellow and violet from the rainbow, so I’ll have to remedy that!

“Anarchy Rules” had to be in there (funny!) and “Party” in bubble writing is on message for the occasion. What it really needs is a variety of “hands” – different people writing in their own style. Also more variety in the markers used.  I’m going to be working on that – visitors be warned!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Weight(less)

Challenge of the week for photo bloggers is “weight(less)”, – show us the effects of gravity, he says, or perhaps something that lifts your spirits. I have aimed for both in these recent photos.

In the first, a vast flock of Corellas is flying into the trees behind our house. I tried to get photos of them feeding on the ground, but as soon as one spotted me and my camera, they were off! The orange henryii lily leans over and dangles his(?) flowers very stylishly over my romantic pair of turtles. The tee-pee like structure is my yarnbombed sculpture, “Resurgence”, made with help from students of the local Primary School. Gravity ensures that the hundreds of knitted and crocheted leaves on it hang and flutter. Both the white lily and a the orange poppy appear to be weightless, but their petals soon fall to the ground irregardless.


We are experiencing the driest summer on record for our area, so anything green and growing in the garden near the house is a lift for our spirits. Fortunately, we are able to keep pots and some garden watered, and today it even rained a little bit…

I Believe…

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Not exactly a poem, but a poetic piece of writing, sparked by the words “Believe in Yourself” printed on the front of the notebook, a memory of a bible quote, and a quiet afternoon at the Art Gallery where I volunteer. And a pinch of Fairy Story…

“You believe in yourself. Believe also in me”, Teddy said with a smile.
And taking my hand, he pulled me onto the dance floor, and for once I let him lead.

“I believe, Teddy”, I said.”I believe you will wash the dishes tonight, and sweep even in the corners.
I believe you will change the sheets and do laundry, and pull weeds before they flower,
and do a hundred things I have not yet thought of.
That is what I believe.”

He paused, standing with his arms still raised in a sort of arabesque.
“Okay”, he said, “yeah, okay. I believe I can do all that.”

The photos are recent ones from around our garden. I have lilies, and cacti, and visiting cockatoos…

Creativity: Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear

The old garage/shed that came with our property was what is kindly called a “vernacular building”. That means, made from whatever was handy, and without benefit of plans…It was sturdy, and the possums and rats found it accommodating. The walls and roof were both corrugated iron – reused at least once. I suppose it had character, but it was neither beautiful nor very useful. Ten years ago, we pulled the front part down to make way for a new possum-and-rat-proof shed. The tail-end stayed, because we needed a dry place for winter’s wood, and a place to stash recyclables until someone could take them to the transfer station. What was once a hard-to-access carport became a place to dry the washing. And so it stayed, until…

We were having a party, and what if it rained? So the carport became “The Pirate Lounge” – after which the junk piled back in again. It’s a shame I never thought to take photos as the changes took place. More recently, I decided to get really drastic. and had a really big clean out, demolishing the decrepit old cupboards (possums, rats, mice…) and resolving to get rid of what wasn’t useful or beautiful…

Since then I have lined the walls with parts of the old cupboards.


Then the new walls were painted – with one of the old cans of paint a friend gave me. She was clearing out her laundry after a snake appeared in the bathroom…Yes, I know! The colour is very “her”, and prompted Alex to comment that the new decor was “more mermaid than pirate”. True. It is.20151228_144225

The next step was to barrow in gravel to level up the floor, which had only ever been “dirt”, and went with the slope of the land. I laid a big tarp over the top of the gravel so its fairly clean and stable. By now, the name has changed to “The Seahorse Saloon”…20160106_145214

You can see shelves on the left of the photo – drawers from an old robe, stacked up against the wall (and nailed in place).20160106_171859

Once the floor was done, I put down some mats and brought in comfy chairs. Then I made a nice pot of Japanese green tea. There’s still plenty more to do – the car port part needs a new floor,  too, but I’ve been having a lot of fun creating a pleasant outdoor living room using reused and recycled materials wherever possible.

It’s still in the vernacular spirit of the original, but much, much nicer.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Circle

What better images could I find to represent the circle of life, new beginnings and possibility than of tiny Matilda, born on Christmas Eve, just as the old year was winding down. Even though she was soundly and resolutely asleep, she wound her way into every heart in the room…

I also found these pics from Narrapumelap, a splendid old house that has been slowly and lovingly restored from wreck to tourist attraction and accommodation place. We have visited from time to time over about 25 years, and it’s always a pleasure to see it better than the time before. There are several circular windows, in the tower and above the entrance hall. One stained glass window, high above the hall, was saved from vandalism by the now owner when he was a schoolboy – he scrambled up on the roof and covered it, so it wouldn’t tempt the destructive intruders.

Its a fascinating old place with an unusual history, and well worth a visit if you can get to Wickcliffe in western Victoria – visit the website for details.