Tuesday, May 29, 2007

At My Little Desk

This is my little desk that John made me. It is here that I do most of my painting and charm making. I needed somewhere that I could tend to the washing, cooking and other daily duties that was close to it all but out of the way. I use to do it all on the kitchen table but that isn't very practical as you can't just up and leave it. I still need to sew and paint large pictures at the table but it is really good to have the desk for all my fiddly work. We also attached a little old vice to the desk for holding the charms while they are being soldered.
The little mat on which the desk is sitting is a floorcloth that I painted a couple of years ago. Most people are horrified to see me using a "painting" as a mat but it is made to stand up to wear and tear. Floorcloths were the precursors to lino and were made out of old sails. Mine of course, is not but is the next best thing I could find- a heavy painters drop sheet. There are plenty of instructions on how to make one on the web so the hardest thing was the design. What I like about them is that you can get a design or certain look that you can't get in mass produced floorcoverings. Very unique!

I paint both miniature and large paintings. These pictures in the charms are tiny original watercolours. They are quite quick to paint but require a lot of concentration. I can ruin a whole painting with one wrong brushstroke....intense. On the other hand the larger acrylic paintings I do are very liberating as you can apply paint quite wildly. Very enjoyable. I mostly paint because I would like a particular look somewhere. So instead of buying a painting or wall hanging, I have a go myself.
I have also tried my hand at some fabric painting. Some days I just get the urge to do a painting so with brush in hand, on this day, I decided to paint some fabric for deck chair covers. I always feel much better when I have gotten the painting bug out of my system. It always seems to happen most in Autumn- I think because of the beautiful weather.
All I know is there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you create something with your own hands.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Let Them Have Cake AND eat It!

It is now Monday morning after quite a big weekend. Every year I say that I'm not going to go to as much trouble but every year I do. I always feel that they are only kids once so why not give them something to think fondly of when they're all grown up. My daughter, Erica and son, Sam were born within one day of each other so we always have a double birthday celebration. Girls' birthday colours at one table and boys' things at the other.This year they turned 14 and 12. It is always so much fun to have a crowd of boys and girls together as it makes "chasing" games that much more
exciting. We always have as many as can sleep over and in a small house this is quite an undertaking. Fortunately, the boys are usually only too willing to sleep in the tent down towards the bush.
Two birthdays, two cakes. This year they both had mud cakes. A new recipe I hadn't tried before but I must say, they were delicious. A block of chocolate in each- WICKED!
Chocolate Mud Cake
200g chocolate{100g dark,100g milk chocolate}
200g butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup hot water
2 Tbsp instant coffee
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 160c. Grease and line a 24cm springform pan.
2. Place first five ingredients in pan, stir over low heat until sugar
has dissolved and mixture is smooth, cool.
3. Fold in sifted flours,cocoa and eggs.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour until cooked, cool completely in pan before turning out.
If desired, dust with cocoa and serve with whipped cream and strawberries.

Monday, May 21, 2007

And down came the rain.....

At last we have had a spot of rain. Not that much but at least on this day
there was no evaporation and everything is looking "washed".
Rain drops on bare Autumn branches.......
raindrops on rose buds.....
...on Mother's Day flowers.....
....... and little jewels on spider webs.

Sometimes it feels like it will never rain again. Then out of the blue, when you least expect it, down it comes. I believe the weather forecast for yesterday was: FINE with LIGHT RAIN. One would wonder how it could be fine if there is light rain! Does it mean that it will be fine unless it is raining and if that is the case, maybe we could all be weather forecasters? I think that is what is known as hedging your bets.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Autumn weather...just beautiful...

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempest and is never shaken...."


.....how true! My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary yesterday. It was a beautiful day! We went out to lunch and spent the day just enjoying each other's company. Without me knowing, he had arranged to have the day off work so that was a real treat. There is an antique and collectibles swap meet on in Toowoomba this weekend so we both decided this would be our anniversary present to each other so lets hope there will be wonderful treasures to find. John loves to collect old tools and is building quite a collection. He only buys the ones he will use which is quite a lot as he does copious amounts of woodwork and a little blacksmithing as well.

As I walk around the garden at this time of year, I am reminded of how kind Autumn is. The plants look so much happier despite the lack of rain. The sun is gentle and the plants take on the appearance of being grown in a greenhouse- God's greenhouse. The colours are more vibrant and you can almost see the smiles on the flower's faces. Consequently, this is usually the time of year I feel invincible and pot up plants exclaiming all the while that I WILL keep them all thriving even during the extreme summer heat.

I tend to start little projects like this old ladder...and actually get them done in the same afternoon as I bought it. What a find. I was just saying to John that I wanted to get an old ladder to put my potplants on to add a little oomph beside the house and what should we find in a thrift shop a couple of days later but just the one! And it was even the right price. I will have fun adding to it in the weeks that follow.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Window Shelf

This is what I have made over the Mother's Day weekend.The old window had spent many years under the house just waiting to become something. I have been trying to make the verandah more like a little room of the house and so I 've been excitedly making, painting, collecting and planting all manner of things to place in my new "little room". The director's chairs are still waiting for their new covers and I still need to make some nice cushions.

Whenever I make something, I always end up adding more colour than I intended to. I have decided that I just like combining colours to make pretty effects. I can honestly say that colour makes me feel happy. It doesn't have to be pastels or any particular shade of a colour- I just like to see any colours that are co-ordinating. In fact, it's also refreshing to see colours that are slightly jarring. Colour has so much impact on me that when I'm hanging out the "darks" load of washing, I feel awful! There's nothing better than a line full of pretty co-ordinating colours. Needless to say, in our house you will find lots of colour. I don't care for fashions. If it makes me feel good then I will use whatever colour I desire!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Don't you just love cupcakes...They're so simple, quick to mix up and look so pretty even without going to much bother. I have so many different recipes for them but usually use the tried and proven one unless I'm in the mood for something a little different- like black-bottom cupcakes or chai cupcakes. My Grandma Brown's recipe is probably the one that has received the most comments about their moistness. It is always lovely to make something that you know your Grandma has made many times before you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A quick note...

These are a couple of little "message boxes" that I have been making over the long weekend. Mother's Day is a wonderful excuse to create. Iwill be sending letters from all of the family in the one to my husband's Mum. We will also find something lovely to place inside...

This message box is for my Mum. I am so lucky to have her living close to me. I don't have any sisters and so Mum plays that role too. We love to shop together and so I go into town once a week and spend the whole day with Mum. We have such a lovely time together and probably buy too many things just because they're pretty. We usually stop for a coffee somewhere nice and we hardly stop talking- good fun!

Friday, May 4, 2007

My Very First Blog

As an avid blog reader, I have decided to contribute by creating my own blog. As I start, I wonder if I will have enough words, ideas, life experience, beautiful pictures, quotes, adventures and the many other ingredients that go into creating a blog, that many a lovely soul will come back to. Then I realize that as a Mum of three living in a beautiful part of this country of ours, "playing" decorator in a little cottage, in an ever maturing garden that we started from scratch- how could I go wrong! There are plenty of stories to be told.

I can't begin to tell you just how much joy and inspiration I get out of reading blogs...oh....I guess you do understand. Their has been many times that while I am reading blogs that I think "what am I doing here" and jump up to start or finish some creative project that I have on the go. Just looking at beautiful pictures can have that effect on me. There is so much in our wide world that makes me feel so good and motivated. Simple things like the wrens twittering outside my window, the gentle autumn sun, the children giggling and the flowers opening as we tend them....Flowers, I just love them. I love their many different forms and fragrances, the beauty of a rose, the smell of wattle on a winter's morning, the boldness of an orchid and the cheerfulness of a pansy. We are currently experiencing a very bad drought but it never ceases to amaze me how the plants can not only survive on little or no water but to actually grow on the smallest amount of rain. It was somewhat easy to get disheartened at the start of all this dry especially as the heat of summer gripped us but now it is autumn I have once again been in the garden planting a few flowers, pruing raking and tidying...very therapeautic.