Saturday, 19 September 2015

Hail storm

I'm slightly obsessed by hail at the moment after being caught in the storm and then having to find my way home through ice packed roads with ambulances and fire engines zooming to all the accidents. I found it very scary, just staying on the road, but yesterday I spoke to our postman who was on his motor scooter during the storm and sheltered under a tree. He said he was terrified and I believe him. One thing though, it has made me really appreciate everyone who lives where snow and ice are a normal part of winter. I was at our local shopping centre when it started to hail and I was amazed to see how much ice was on the ground there.
However, driving home was like driving through a winter wonderland and I was even more surprised when I arrived home. I'm so pleased I took photos of my garden a few days ago because there's very little left now... And I'm drawing a veil over the plight of my tomatoes.
Wisteria was just beginning to bloom...
Hydrangeas surrounded by shredded leaves
My potatoes growing in a bag are looking fragile now the ice has been removed
The pathway into my Secret Garden
Tennis court under ice and water
Several inches of ice by the swimming pool
It could have been so much worse. My little house didn't leak but the big house above did, and the gutters and the pool roof have been damaged by the weight of the ice. The storm cut a swathe through the district, completely missing some areas and devastating others. People lost roofs and cars and the most spectacular sight was a news helicopter filming over the beaches where it looked like snow on the sand.

One thing that has cheered me has been that I'm making an effort to reorganise my studio. This is a polite way of saying I'm trying to take it back from the chaos I've caused in the past year or so. Maybe I'll make something soon. I figure if I make one area at a time workable then I have some chance of getting my enthusiasm back. One spot that looks a bit better is my bottle collection.
It's so easy to  make me happy! A couple of old bottles, a piece of bakelite, a bit of tarnished silver and I'm in seventh heaven. Oh, and anything rusty...

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sydney Spring and other things

Nearly nine months since my last post! Not for want of talking to you, you understand, but simply because sometimes it all becomes too hard. Hopefully, my head is in a better space and I'm back on track, or nearly so... I did manage to sprain both my ankles, which was pretty dreadful, and one took over ten weeks to heal. Better now, thank goodness.

I can't possibly fill in 9 months of my life so I think I'll show just you some photos with a tiny bit of commentary. Starting with Mother's Day, which was celebrated with my family, a weekend in Bundeena with Suzy & Tracy, a night at the Sydney Comedy Festival to see the NZ Topp Twins and possibly too much delicious food. Here I am with a lime ice cream soda (or spider as it is often called). I have never matured past the need for ice cream sodas.
There have been several birthdays, this one Eddie's 6th. A Super Hero party with boys in hero guise and lots of bubbles.
Eddie put in an auction bid and won a box of monsters. He took these photos. We all love an auction.
Peggy is still the apple of all eyes, loves having her photo taken. Miss Adorable. Miss Pushy, too.
The girls have been singing in choirs and Sophia played the recorder at a festival at the Sydney Opera House. I was thrilled to see (and hear) the quality of music being taught in NSW public schools. We had a great day by the harbour with 17 children from Sophia's school and about 1500 other children.
Before I move out into the garden I have a couple of pelican pics. Can't ever get enough pelicans... They fly majestically over our house and are on all our waterways. Love them.
Flowering now because it's Spring Down Under.
Abutilon (Chinese Lantern); Acacia; Azaleas; Blue Echium
Clivia; Crab Apple; Cymbidium Orchid; Funghi
Geraldton Wax; Native Orchid; Pink Echium; Rose; Jonquils; Sydney Rock Orchid
Birds that have been unheard during winter are back and singing from dawn, especially the Willie Wagtail. I always feel the cold is almost over when I hear that song. The garden is filled with Rainbow Lorrikeets, zooming, shrieking, performing; the rainbow clowns of my garden.

I hope I don't wait another 9 months before my next post. I like blogging and I enjoy reading blogs. I feel that Facebook takes up too much time but I'm as sucked into it as the next person. I prefer Instagram (I'm on there as Rustqueen) and have found several themes that I love to follow, such as farmer/florists, gardeners and assemblage artists. I also have way too many pages on Pinterest on so many subjects I couldn't list them.

Drop me a comment if you wish, I love to know what you are doing and thinking.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year...

My dear friends, I do wish you all a very happy New Year, full of love and laughter, good health and good fellowship, with lots of wonderful opportunities to make art or do whatever makes you happy, and there's that ever present wish for peace in our troubled times.
Well, I almost missed Christmas, although I managed to send out some newsy emails. But no Christmas tree up, no Christmas cards, no letters to those not on emails - I will get to the letters soon I hope and I'm very aware of the empty place where the tree usually stands. Plenty of excuses, most to do with getting older, but they all sound pretty lame now so I won't inflict them on you. In spite of that, we had a wonderful Christmas Day with family and friends, the children were delightful, and the food excellent. There was plenty to appease the meat eaters but I was pleased to find that they also loved the Festive Roast from Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher. Just as last year, it was delicious, and this year Suzy made over 400 of them! With vegan gravy, baked potatoes and several salads, it was a real winner.
On Boxing Day Suzy took me down to her house in Bundeena in the Royal National Park and I had some quality time with Basil, my Grandpup, and the chooks, Marilyn and Bob. Here is Basil Beagle recovering from Christmas!
There is a constant stream of birds coming to be fed, and though the cockatoos are discouraged by the humans, because of the damage they do to the timber work on the house, pairs of doves and lorrikeets are allowed to share with the chooks. This actually means the chooks tolerate them, just, but they won't allow the cockies near their food. This is Marilyn wearing her cross face.
I'm having a great time with the three kidlets during the 6 week summer holidays. Lots of painting, lots of mess, cutting, pasting, writing stories and poems, baking biscuits (cookies), growing crystals, swimming, playing, shopping and just lying around when the temperature gets too high. Oh, and I've unearthed the card games I had as a child and we are playing Old Maid, Comic Families, Schwartzer Peter, Go Fish and Uno - instead of watching TV. And Monopoly. I need to find Scrabble and we'll be set. My mother played all these games with me and then my children, so my son is very pleased to see his children playing with the same sets of cards that he remembers so well.

When I have a moment, and when it's not too hot, I do what I can in the parched garden. Last autumn I bought a Western Australian Eucalypt, hoping to get really red blossom, and to my delight it has flowered this summer, just as red as I had imagined. Only about a metre tall at the moment, it produced several branches of flowers and with any luck there will be some nice big gumnuts for crafting.
There was quite a garden disaster in November when a major branch fell straight off the huge eucalypt in my Secret Garden. A metre or so to the left and it would have whacked in the side of the house and luckily no one was in the garden because gum trees are not called 'widow makers' for nothing. Never, ever, set up your bush camp under a eucalypt. It did a bit of damage to the part of the garden it landed on, smashing and smothering a few things but a friend came in with his chain saw to cut it up, and my gardener used the bigger logs as borders for garden beds. I was in Queensland at the time so was surprised to receive a wordless text with a photo of the enormous branch across my beloved garden.
In spite of my neglect my garden thrives. Also thriving is a family of bandicoots, nocturnal diggers of grubs, and excavators of ankle breaking holes. Small native marsupials, they are very welcome in my garden but I do wish they'd keep their holes to the actual beds and not throughout the lawn. A hole as wide as a tea cup and up to 10" deep is quite a trap to the unwary. They don't eat mushrooms it seems, as these come up quite prolifically. Possibly edible but I haven't put it to the test.
I've recently bought some strawberries with very pretty pink flowers. I thought they may be purely ornamental but they are putting out quite large berries and they look pretty much like an ordinary strawberry. I'll be interested to try them when ripe, that's if the possums or flying foxes don't get there first.
Our undercover outdoor living area has become the place to be this summer and the pizza oven is just fabulous. The pool is right there, the snooker table set up, and if it wasn't for the mosquitoes I think we'd all sleep out there.
Peggy thinks life is just one long party and loves the visitors but she also needs her rest after helping with the cooking.
Hmmm... No art, no craft, no books. I think I'll have to get back to work. Until then, walk positively into this beautiful new year!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Gardens, new books and hammers

I think this must be my longest gap without posting. Lots of excuses of course, though none seem valid enough to actually put into print. So, off I go.

My trip to New Zealand was abandoned sadly, and from all accounts I missed a great conference. I will give links to it in my next post.

I think first I'll just show you some springtime garden photos. Spring veers from summer to almost winter, usually on the same day, but the garden has really enjoyed the weather - and so have the weeds. Hippeastrums, Wisteria, Peggy in the garden, and my tomatoes:

I've indulged in some more new books! No room on the shelves but that doesn't daunt me of course...
Nothing makes me happpier than books! Unless it's my grand children.
 The Art Abandonment Project, Michael deMeng and Andrea Matus deMeng. Read about it here.
The Spirit Books, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. Here to read about the Spirit Books..
 The Jewelry Maker's Design Book, Deryn Mentock. More here.
The Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine, a gift from Art is You Down Under. See Jeanne d'Arc here.
Paint Mojo, Tracy Verdugo. LOVE! Here.
Brave Intuitive Painting, Flora Bowly. Link here.
 The Mixed Media Artist, Seth Apter. Book here. And Seth's DVD (have that too) here.

My favourite book of all was released in October - Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Kitchen. Yes, my Suzy's cook book is out and we are very happy with it. Selling well... First photo is the seitan skewers I made and barbequed from the book. The meat eaters loved them. So did I. Link. And link for the book.

Now for my hammers. I'm kind of a compulsive buyer of saws and hammers. I just love the look of them and last weekend I found a couple of new ones. This shows just a few of my hammers.
And here is a closer look at my copper hammer. Looks gorgeous and well used. If anyone would like to tell me about it, I'd love to hear.
Well, lots of pictures, not much news but I am hammering and reading a lot. And trying to garden, aching body willing. Off to the countryside for a few days, leaving the garden in the tender hands of my family. I'll try to avoid bushfires and floods... both possibilities. Drought is a given. It just depends on which way I head.