Thursday, 28 March 2013

Chocolate and a Music Festival

Okay so, I'm sending out all my good, chocolatey wishes for the weekend now. We are headed to a small music festival for four days. It's gonna be frosty-cold and music-filled with heaps of technicolor foil eggs and dancing. I made three decoupaged eggs for Easter but of course I left them at my studio before I could get a half-decent photo so, unapologetically here is a grainy iPhone photo of one decoupaged egg and some floral nighties in pastel colours. Happy Easter!

Magic Baby

Steve and I have always called Casper our Magic Baby.

The first time we properly left the house with Casper after he was born was when he was barely two weeks old. We were at a friend's (sharehouse) warehouse for dinner and I put Casper down in a cushion-filled boat that was being used as a couch in the middle of the living space. For some reason the resident cat was so offended by his crying that she attacked and scratched his face. Luckily I was there and so was a friend who angrily put her out in the rain. I was pretty shaken, but it didn't really sink in for me until much later and even now I shudder at the thought of it. I am glad she didn't do much more harm than the scar on his cheek.

When Casper was two months old, we were at the family farm walking in a paddock and a swarm of bees chasing a bird flew overhead. The bird duck-dived very close to where I was standing, holding baby Casper and I ended up with several bees in my hair and on my cardigan. Casper had some on his face which I tried to shoo away. One bee stung him right near the corner of his eye. He cried for about three hours and it was very scary but he came out pretty unscathed, no swelling or anything.

On New Years Eve when he was three months old we were driving to a friend's beach house and on the highway I noticed the tip of Casper's finger was swollen. It looked purple and shiny and very painful and he started crying. We went to the ER at Geelong hospital and stood in the waiting room next to a bogan with third-degree sunburn and several other weird NYE casualties. We were told it was a hair torniquet and it took the nurses and doctors about 45 minutes to cut the hair off.

I have found tiny spiders crawling around inside Casper's nappies on several occasions and other weird things have happened like genuine night terrors at a very early age and that time we woke up with hundreds of wasps in our bedroom and came back after a few hours to find them all dead. 

Nothing strange had happened for ages and I was starting to wonder if Casper's magic had worn off. The other day at Casper's request, I pulled down the two dollhouses that were up high on his chest of drawers. He was playing very happily with them in the sewing room and I went to clean in another part of the house. Suddenly I heard a huge crash and screaming coming from Casper's bedroom. He had climbed the chest of drawers and the whole thing had fallen and pinned him to the floor. Images of broken limbs and concussions were running through my mind and as I pulled the heavy weight off him I wondered if I should even  try to move him. The weirdest thing is, he came out of it with a scratch on his pinky toe and that's it. He stopped crying almost immediately and was playing outside 15 minutes later. 

Casper has always been a massive sleep-talker, sleep crawler, night terror sort of a kid. But last night at about 1am I heard his door open and slam really hard. I was really spooked so I went to investigate. Casper was sitting on the carpet outside his door with his eyes half open and his head down and when I picked him up he slumped over my shoulder and said "water". I was laughing when I asked Steve to get me a glass of water and kept laughing as I watched Casper still sleeping, sit up and take the glass in his hands, drink it and then fall on the pillow fast asleep.

He has my crooked pinkies which I inherited from my Dad, who is a magician (truly, I'm not lying). I'm not saying he is magic, but when I was pregnant with him, I found a six-leafed clover.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: and his best friend Mika.

Playing along with Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

My favourite portrait from last week was from Julie. I love the image of little Gus flying through the air at his new wonderful home(stead). 

Friday, 22 March 2013


My work is all well under way in my studio. I have two days of painting classes at the end of the week, but I haven't been painting at all which surprises me. I am working on a collage project and so far I have made a few explorative works which I really like and I am still hand-sewing my big woollen quilt, which is due after the Easter break.

What I have discovered through using collage to work through ideas is that I really miss it. I used to make lots of collages when I was a teenager, they were always weird ones made from my knitting pattern collection with baby heads and glittery nail polish and cut-out mouths that moved. I really used to love collage but then I shied away from it, maybe because it became really trendy and I just didn't feel like making them was special or interesting for me anymore. 

But now I think I've got my enthusiasm back! I have been making decoupaged eggs which are really good fun, I recommend trying it out. I will wait until next week to share them properly.

DISCLAIMER: Yes, very old knitting patterns were and will be harmed in the making of my artwork. They were moth-eaten and I have thousands of them, these were doubles (or triples)! A pattern collection post is in the works, but I just need to figure out which ones are my favourites (all of them).

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Picnic at Hanging Rock

On Tuesday it was our best friend Mel's birthday. She had requested a picnic at Hanging Rock so we left in the car early, popping the champagne out the window and polished off two bottles before we turned off the Calder freeway (Steve was designated driver and it was a rare toddler-free Tuesday).

Our geologist friend Laura described Hanging Rock very scientifically as a "volcano pimple", it is really an incredible place, about an hour and a bit out of Melbourne. There is a 15 minute climb to the summit and the views are just beautiful. There were these yellow mountain flowers that I really want to do a painting of and lots of pinks, browns and reds in the rocks. I did a few watercolours after we ate the delicious feast we hauled up the climbing trail.

We had a wonderful day, finished off with dinner at a Japanese restaurant and gin-cucumber-tonics at a cosy little bar. It has been such a busy week for me, I will write up a post about school tomorrow night with some pictures and stories. I have been making a lot of work!

It's cold and blustery here. I am cosy inside contemplating baking a cake. What's the weather like where you are?

Friday, 15 March 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: You are a space cadet. 

Inspired by Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

My favourite portrait from last week is Juliet's portrait of her daughter Elizabeth. It makes me excited for winter park dates with my friendly ghost.

Posting early this week as we are off to Castlemaine tomorrow, the land of no internet!

Celine's Wedding Dress

My dear old friend Celine wrote to me last year saying she wanted to commission me to make her wedding dress and of course I said "yes!". She wrote that she wanted something simple, blue, made out of silk and the rest she was leaving up to me. So basically any dress designer's dream come true (not to mention the fact that my client is a now retired model).

One of the larger hurdles of this project was the fact that Celine and I live on opposite ends of the world and there wasn't much chance of sending the dress back and forth with needles holding measurements in place. I was able to get her measurements over email and started drafting a pattern from tissue paper. I decided to create a 1930s-40s silk gown -very slinky and just above ankle length.

I went and bought the silk satin and georgette and started sewing. I cut all of the pieces on the bias and used special bakelite buttons from my collection. It took me a few days of pinning, stitching and fussing, but it all came together beautifully. The floaty georgette "wings" were a last minute idea that I had, I wanted to make it look more ethereal. I am so proud of this dress, it made me feel like I was present at the wedding.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


I don't really like it when people use the word "cute" too much. Sometimes I feel like when people describe my paintings as cute, they are not taking them seriously and worse, when they call me cute they are not taking me seriously.

The other day, my Dad gave me his old iPhone because mine was stolen. He left all of the photos he has taken over the past two years on the thing. All 2,500 of them. Looking through two years of my life, I couldn't help but think how CUTE we are. I hated myself for thinking it, but it was the way I felt.

I've been thinking, maybe cute isn't such a bad word after all. It's cute that my Dad has been documenting his life through the lens of his phone camera. It's cute that there is a succulent growing in a pink ceramic dog shaped egg cup on our windowsill. It's cute that I pull a sun-in-my-eyes face in almost every picture that exists of me. It's cute that Casper was so squidgy and Steve looked like a baby too.

I have made a Tumblr for photos that I find on my Dad's old phone. It's pretty cute, you should check it out

Collage College

Almost two weeks into school and all I can think about is making quilts! I have two projects at the moment, one is about manipulating paper and the other is about collage. So of course I am making two textiles pieces at the same time!

The paper-pieced patchwork hexagon is an idea that I have been playing around with for a while now. I'm thinking it will become some sort of a hanging work, maybe with both sides visible. The other quilt is a more solid piece -a quilt made with sherbet coloured suiting wool from the 60s, stitched together with knitting yarn to create an optical feast, a bit like the watercolour above. It's really big (queen sized quilt) and I have to have it finished by week 4, so I'll be watching a lot of old movies and sewing on the couch (my favourite thing about hand-sewing). I'm just having so much fun with the colours.

The stress of school/being a parent is manifesting itself in the weirdest way. I have made 2 dresses and countless drawings and paintings that I just don't have the motivation to photograph and blog about. It's annoying because I love writing posts and commenting on other people's blogs, but for some reason I haven't been able to. Oh well, I'll consider it a blogging slump and hopefully I can pick it up again soon. Until then I am just going to relax myself back into school and the juggling act that we managed to keep on top of last year!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Reupholstered Bar Stools

The other day when Casper and I were out walking, I spotted a sign that said 'FREE SHIT' next to a pile of well, free shit. The first fact to know about me is that I love a bit of hard rubbish, alleyway treasure or broken goods that nobody wants anymore. The trouble is, we haven't got any room in our house for any more stuff. So when I saw these 60s revival bar stools from the 90s looking rather shabby with peeling black fake leather seats, I knew I had to make up an excuse to take them home and re-revive them!

Our kitchen has a little bar-bench jutting out of it with space for stools but over the years the wooden ones we had for that space have worn out and broken, leaving us with just one (which is on its last legs {pun intended}).

 With my good excuse at the ready, I grabbed the incredibly heavy and gross looking seats and made a run for it. You know how when there is stuff for free on the street you feel like you are stealing when you take it? It is an unnecessarily exhilarating joy for me. 

I already had the material I wanted to use in mind -the silk crushed velvet curtains from my childhood bedroom window which I had already cut into for these elbow patches. So I unscrewed the bottom of the stools and got staple-happy with the velvet. It only took me about 40 minutes to do all three chairs, so a very satisfying and quick spruce up!

And here they are so lovely and wacky looking, just my style. Did I fail to mention that they are adjustable and fully swivvelable??? So much more fun than the old non-swivel wooden stools, don't you think?

My amazing friend Amanda saw this and wrote a fantastic story of this velvet's previous life:

so here is the backstory:
That green velvet curtain came from chez Chris and Amanda. Prior to that it lived in the Fitzroy terrace of Paul Mullen, father of our old friend Saul. Saul was a doctor and his dad Paul is a forensic psychologist.
In a sweet twist, Saul our friend had barstools JUST LIKE THAT in his and Natasha's Latrobe street apartment in the 90's...

"ooh hello", says velvet-with-a-crush to the very erect chairs. "have we met before?" 

Sunday, 10 March 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Drawing is your favourite thing ever.

Playing along with lovely Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

Self-portrait at 36 weeks pregnant, 2010

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


My Dad and I have been seriously looking for an old bus on Gumtree (similar to Craigslist) for about 6 months now. He's building a small house just outside of Castlemaine and needs a guest house that will be separate from the main living quarters. Something that we can live in while we build the house.

The only restraint we have is money. We were looking for something cheap and gutted out, with wheels. I found this bus about a month ago or more, and spent quite a bit of time emailing back and forth with the original owner. There were a lot of tyre kickers who said they were interested but then didn't follow through with payment so we drove down at the last minute to save her from the scrappers.

As soon as I saw her I knew she was the one ♥

She is a Bedford from 1959, has a beautiful streamline body and has hardwood floors. We bought her on the spot and now she is sitting in a storage yard in Geelong until we transport her to Dad's block sometime around May. We already have grand plans for her, including a ship stove with chimney, pressed tin curved roof painted crimson, velvet curtains, a drafting desk, crystal ball skylight and stained glass windows!

The original owner told me that she is an ex-circus bus that broke down in the lot next to his house ten years ago. The people from the circus said he could keep the bus if he could tow her out of the lot, so he did. He had planned on getting her working again, but I think it was too big a job for him so he put her in the storage yard with all the other orphaned busses.

Dad has also got a plywood caravan from 1959 so we were considering calling them Desi and Lucille. But we haven't quite decided yet. Dad wants to paint the name we decide on in her destination scroll.

By the end of the year, I imagine we will have a beautiful cozy home like this woman has created. And who knows, we might be living in it sooner than we think!

Thank you so much for the overwhelming amount of support about the break-in. We have decided to just be positive about the situation and we will be especially careful with our safety in the future. We had the locks changed today so I feel a lot more secure now. Apparently there have been a few burglaries in our area in the last week, so hopefully the bad guys are becoming sloppy and get caught soon. We have no hope of getting  the camera back, which means we are switching to analogue. I aim to use a roll of film a week so my photos will either be less literal, or just a week behind. Again, I really appreciate the kind words, it has made this whole thing a lot less horrible!

Monday, 4 March 2013


Our house was broken into early this morning. We have been relatively shaken by the whole thing. Our phones and camera are gone and the burglars stole our friend Sam's backpack with his passport, travel documents, wallet and some cash in it. I guess what is most scary about the whole thing is that there were two men in our house while we were asleep and they took from us for no reason other than that they had seen an opportunity. Casper sleeps in the room next to ours and he gets up, opens the door and comes into our room most nights by himself. I am thankful that he didn't wake up until morning and that he didn't walk out of the front door (which was left wide open) and down the street.

We tracked my iPhone to a park nearby and Steve went down to check it out. There were two men who noticed Steve was trailing them and shouted and threw something at his car before driving off. We got their number plate and a physical description. The GPS tracked them a bit further down the road and they then turned my phone off. The weirdest/grossest thing that happened was that one of them has done a poo outside our front gate, which the po(o)lice have taken samples of. Oh and they also have a set of our house keys.

I won't be able to update with any new pictures as both my camera and my phone camera are gone. I even made a new dress to celebrate the start of school! Oh well, you guys won't mind having a look at the archives will you? 

Today was my first day of school, I went and I'm glad I did. My art theory class is awesome. I feel fine now, I am grateful for the fact that everybody is safe and well, and that karma is a bitch.

The painting above is one of a series of 12 that I did last year. It is oil on canvas 30cm x 30cm.

Sunday, 3 March 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Hands always moving.

Linking up with the lovely Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

My favourite portraits last week were taken by Jody at Lemon Rhodes, her photographs are genuine and open, I enjoy the dialogue between her son and daughter.

Friday, 1 March 2013

My Boy

My boy is a boy's boy. He loves trucks and cars so much that he sleeps with them pressed hard into his face. He is full of physical energy and gets grubby by just looking at dirt. He is honest and open and emotional. He is my favourite little guy, I love him so much.

Casper's language development has always been on the slow side. But this Summer, he has gone from being completely monosyllabic to speaking in almost sentences. And yesterday (after some prompting) he said "I lub ooo" and it was the best moment. I got these little flutters in my heart and I had to kiss him over and over again on his beautiful golden head.