Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Happy New Year

My posts this year have been few and far between so I'm hoping to do better in 2010. Thank you to all my readers who have stuck with me and been so encouraging and kind with comments and support. Next year I plan to make a lot more books and to ensure that there are lots of book binding and book arts posts on my blog. And maybe a bit about gardening which is so important to my life.

After 11 months in my new home I'm still unpacking boxes - possibly a never ending story - and yesterday I unearthed two little volumes that have great appeal for me and I hope will be of interest to others. My photos are not great, I'm still struggling with the new "good" camera and suspect I was doing better with my little point and shoot, but I'm persevering. Just need to take time to read the instruction book I guess.

These two books are both in a very fragile state and I'll make conservation boxes for them rather than try to restore or mend them in any way. Their subject matter is similar, pressed flowers from the Holy Land. As I have no religious leanings in any direction I have bought them simply because I am fascinated that these flowers have survived in this form, and because I love the old illustrations.

This book is titled "Flowers and Views of the Holy Land. Blumen und Ansichten aus dem Heiligen Lande. Fleurs et Vues de la Terre Sainte. Jerusalem". Published in Jerusalem by A. Monsohn, after 1894. The size is 165x105x23 mm, landscape.


The covers are bevelled olivewood, with titled cloth spine, and the front cover is engraved with the title Jerusalem. The cover opens to the right and pages start from the left as in Hebrew texts. (I apologise if I put that badly.) The cloth spine is red and the endpapers are a faded red decorative paper. The title page is in English, German and French, and is surrounded by a decorative floral border.

This is followed by 12 pages of chromolithographed views of the Holy Land, with 12 pages of pressed flowers, each facing the town from whence they were collected. The views are Jerusalem, Zion, Mount Moriah, Siloah, Rachel's Tomb, Bethlehem, Hebron, Mount of Olives, Jordan, Jericho, Tiberius and Jaffa.
 
This is the city of Jericho.

 
These are the flowers from Jerusalem and Mount Zion. Faded but intact, as are all the others. Surprisingly, since the title page is in English, German and French, the text on the plates and on the flowers is in English, Hebrew and Russian.

From my reading I can see that there were other plates showing different cities and towns and these had the flowers relevant to those places, but each book was bound with 12 sets of illustrations and flowers, giving the edition some interesting variations. There is also a deal of difference in the olivewood boards, some having more decoration than mine, and at least one apparently bound in a western orientation and another with a leather spine. Another copy can be seen here.

My other little book is titled 'Flowers Plucked in "Those Holy Fields"'. Jerusalem. Printed at the Office of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews. This book was "Arranged by Rev. A. Hastings Kelk, M.A. Christ Church, Jerusalem." The book isn't dated but from research it seems the date may be 1900. There are 28 pages, with the flower description and/or scripture reference on the left and the dried pressed flower on the right hand side. The cover is dark green 'leather look' paper, with gold decorative tooling and title on the front cover, and with yap edges. The cover is very battered with a piece missing from the back cover.


 

The flowers below are
'Artedia Squamata - The Madonna or Crown Flower"

 
and
"Reseda Alba - Wild Mignonette", "Scabiosa Palestina - Palestine Scabious" & "Puff Ball"
 
These books are not particularly rare and their condition reduces what value they may have had. The "Jerusalem" volume was produced as a souvenir of the Holy Lands and I suspect there are a good few stashed away in attics or chests, or even perhaps sitting on bookshelves, as mine soon will be. The other one, "Flowers", may not have been produced in quantity, though perhaps was sent back to England as a money spinner for the mission abroad. I don't know, but I find them quite charming in a purely bookish way. They're fragile and they're survivors - and I like that.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A time for reflection



My wonderful mother, Lina, passed away on Wednesday 4 November, 2009. She had celebrated her 93rd birthday two weeks before and had declared it the happiest day of her life. We are so sad to lose her but relieved that she was able to die in her own home, surrounded by her family, as she had hoped. An only child, I am truly fortunate to have my children, their partners, my extended family and good friends who have been so supportive and loving during the past difficult week.

Lina's funeral service was joyful, as she had wished in our many conversations about death, dying and funerals. As Mum had been born in Vienna, Strauss waltzes were played throughout the service, a very beautiful photographic tribute put together by my son was shown, and the congregation left the chapel to the stirring sounds of the Radetsky March. This has become a family tradition and I certainly hope it will be played at my funeral.

Discussing funerals with Mum often shocked people who thought it was a morbid subject, but to know what Mum had wanted was a real comfort in that awful time of organising and making decisions, at a time when the family is shattered and almost disbelieving that this time has really come. No matter how old or frail the loved person is, death still comes as a shock and huge loss. 

Since the funeral I've returned home to immerse myself into gardening, making books, and enjoying the exuberance of the little girls and the beautiful little red-headed boy. Gardening is great for reflection and I'm enjoying memories of my Mum and Dad. They gave me and my children wonderful guidelines to live by and we will always be grateful and never forget them.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Off and away

I've fed the chooks, I've packed up everything but the kitchen sink and I'm just about ready to go. Don't know where, just driving to new places, to find old country pubs, and especially to find junk shops and antique/collectible stores. I'm looking for old children's books, power pole insulators, miniature kitchen ware, especially if it's enamel, and for my friend Hope, I'll be looking for rusty old keys and other metal treasures. And maybe more plants for my secret garden.

Before I go I'll water the vegetable garden with a watering can because we have savage water restrictions. Though apparently if you own a boat you can hose it off whenever necessary! I would have thought trying to grow vegetables to feed your family was more important than any boat but maybe most of the local councillors have boats but no vegetable gardens. We do live on the coast, after all. Where possibly today we'll be having a surge following the awful tsunami that has hit Samoa and the Pacific islands. I don't think it will be a problem here but the news from Samoa is not good.

I'll be back in about 10 days, hopefully with lots of photos (I'm reading the manual now and it helps) and with some treasured junk. One of the great (!) things about being with Vodafone means I'll be out of mobile range most of the time. Sorry Vodafone, but your coverage is really pathetic.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Dust storm dawn





Yesterday much of central and eastern Australia was covered in yellow dust. The sky was yellow or orange, visibility was very poor and while there was something very beautiful about it, there was also a strange other-world-ish feeling about the day.

However, we woke today to bright blue skies, the savage wind had dropped and water restrictions were lifted for a day or so to give everyone a chance to remove the yellow dust from every possible surface. Even the plants in the garden had to be hosed off.




Great Grandma Lina, aged 93, with young EJ, aged 3 weeks. They seem pretty content with one another.



A set of sample books I've made for the 'shop'. These are journals, recipe books, 2010 diaries, address books and guest books. They were well received so I'll be making a lot more before Christmas.

I've bought a new camera (a Canon digital SLR) and so far I don't seem to be doing much better at taking photos than I did with the little point and shoot. Maybe I need to read the manual and watch the DVDs that came with it. That will be on my to read list when I go away for a few days next week, bird watching and doing absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Welcome to the spring gastro club

said the cheery nurse as she hooked me up to the drip! Yep, I've been sick, which is my excuse for not posting, not reading anyone else's posts, not doing anything at all actually, except feeling very sorry for myself. After several awful days which don't need description, I had lost so much weight (only fluid of course, nothing useful), my son took me to the local hospital for a day on the drip. What a difference that made to my spirits - I wasn't cured but it gave me the strength to start getting better.

So far today I seem to be way better than yesterday so that has to be a good thing. I don't have the energy to spend more than a few minutes at the computer but I'm making the most of my lying-down-time by designing what will be my Secret Garden.

The real down side has been staying away from the little kids though S has been coming to give me very serious looks (from a safe distance) each time her Dad comes to visit, and she always asks how I am feeling and hopes I'll be well soon. I hope so too because it's spring, the weather is fabulous ( the family were in the pool while I was in hospital!) and there is SO MUCH TO DO.

Monday, 31 August 2009

New baby boy!

I've barely had time to get to the computer but here is the newest edition to our family - little EJ, born on Monday 24 August 2009. In this photo he is just 24 hours old, weighs about 8lb and has a mop of very dark reddish hair. The little girls are fascinated with him of course. S had been hoping for a boy and L is still a bit bemused about it all but I think she likes him. His parents are delighted, as is all the family, especially my Mum, almost 93, and very pleased she has stayed the distance to see her great grand children.

I'm spending time outdoors with the girls because the end of our winter has been amazingly warm, even hot most days. It means the garden needs a lot of attention and water restrictions, which I think we may have forever now, mean there's a lot of hand watering with bucket and watering can. Winter vegetables are still thriving and it's time to plant seeds for the summer crops. Then there's the other parts of the garden, in particular a large area of grass that I'm trying to remove to plant a native ground cover. The chooks stand around me, clucking conversationally and hoping I'll toss some delicacy their way, and when I do then there's a scrum as they all compete.

I have a big book order starting soon so I want to get as much done in the garden as possible before I find myself indoors for days on end. I love making books - and I love being in the garden. It's a bit of a toss up I suppose but the books will generally win.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

I just love getting mail...

These gorgeous papers are from Rhonda at My Handbound Books and across the top are two handmade papers and two paste papers; across the bottom are two suminagashi and two ebru marbled papers. All made by Rhonda and my gift for winning her monthly newsletter draw. Thanks so much Rhonda. I'm torn between want to use them and squirreling them away in my marbled paper collection - that's the collection of other people's papers as opposed to my own marbled papers.

Another parcel in the mail was this recently purchased Hedi Kyle Festschrift 2009 published by the Guild of Book Workers . The dedication page states "We are pleased to honor Hedi Kyle Lifetime Achievement Member of the Guild of Book Workers. Delaware Valley Chapter". The publication is supported by the Philadelphia Center for the Book and the MFA Book Arts/Printmaking Program at the University of the arts, Philadelphia. This spiral bound book of 238 pages has articles, drawings, instructions and images by a veritable who's who of the binding world, making a great tribute to Hedi Kyle and offering the reader many insights and inspirations. We all know Hedi Kyle's flag book though not everyone may realise to whom they should be attributing it. This book is packed with readable information and understandable instructions and I think I'll be working my way through it for some time to come. Copies may be ordered at rutherfordwitthus.com/festschrit/orders

My third welcome package in the mail was this book by Hilke Kurzke from Bonn. Hilke has been experimenting with Coptic headbands and has come up with this nice little book "Six Ways to Make Coptic Headbands", Buechertiger Press, 2009. As I enjoy making coptic bindings but I have serious doubts about the strength of the binding for such things as albums, I am always pleased to find information that may give that extra bit of support. This is another book I'll be working through in the next few months. You can purchase copies of this book, which I must add is very nicely and simply bound, from Hilke via her blog here.

I mentioned before, but didn't have a photograph, that I also received a copy of Melior's "Happy Bus" zine, so here's the cover and it really is a happy read. I don't know when the next issue is due out but I'll be getting a copy. Meliors is producing some beautiful embroidery of sea fossils, along with her other skills book making and photography.

Also into fossils and things scientific is Hope, whose blog can be found here and her Etsy shop longleggedfly here. I will very soon be wearing two of her fabulous silver trilobite pendants made into earrings. Hope is also a weaver and knitter.

Everywhere I look there are such talented artisans, so many people combining a variety of arts and crafts. Most of us do it for love, a lucky few are able to earn a living from it. Luck is the wrong word there, it takes a huge amount of effort and talent and I guess the luck is in finding a market or being in the right place at the right time.

Thanks for reading this long missive, do visit the people I've linked to and leave them a comment to say hello. I love your comments too of course. And after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I've put my blog on Facebook and I'm still not sure if it's a good idea or not. Please tell me what you think.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

My Ideas book and another award

I received this very pretty award from Susie a few weeks ago. Susie is a mine of information about blogging and I've learned a lot from her blog 1st Floor Flat. Thank you Susie for the award - I'm honoured.

I must apologise for the quality of these photos. I'm not sure what happened but I think I need a new camera. Either that or the anti-shake isn't working. Sorry.

I want to give you a quick look at one of my everyday books that I use to write down my ideas and add snapshots of books I make. I made this case bound book when I was doing my book binding training at Sydney TAFE in the 90s and it is holding up very well to many years of use. Cloth covered, it has commercially made headbands (how dreadful that seems to me now) and I've trimmed out pages in every section to make room for all the bits and pieces I've pasted in. At one stage early on it looked as though it was going to explode so I took to it with a scalpel which seemed drastic at the time but saved the integrity of the book in the long run.

Above are journals I've made to write family history and to document some of my history of natural history information.

This is a rather poor photo of the book that made me realise that I wanted to make artist's books. I was researching in the Rare Books Library at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, I think in 1996 and I was lucky enough to be given a special viewing of the exhibition Science and the Artist's Book. Do look here to get a better look at this book [M.L. Van Nice Plinitude Somerville, Massachusetts, 1994 [seeds, bones, insect wings, feathers, wood, leather, paper, acrylic]] and the others in the exhibition. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that this book and the entire exhibition changed the direction of my work, and in many ways, my life.

Above some coptic/celtic/icicle bindings that I've talked about elsewhere.

On the left are some cross structure bindings and on the right my Jenny Hanniver : the unauthorised biography - a book I will be completely overhauling soon because I can't live with the faults.

More bits and pieces including a star book based on Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Above are many different book structures, most of them purely for fun. I make books for the challenge and commercially, but the greatest joy for me is making a book just for fun.

This book is actually titled (in silver) Marbling Muses, a bit of a hopeful title really, especially as I have difficulty capturing any kind of muse lately, let alone the one dealing with marbling. So here are photos from Marianne Peter's brilliant oil marbling workshop with a few notes visible from her paste paper workshop. I've just noticed that in the book I've said Marianne comes from France. Wrong - she comes from Belgium!

With great enthusiasm I've sketched pages of marbling guides to favourite designs. Of course when I actually marble I completely forget to follow the instructions and I get very excited if my paper turns out the way I intended. I also enjoy the surprise of the unexpected.

This is the head of the book, showing some of my marbling, which I like, the "made" headband, which I don't like, and the stubs of the pages I've sliced out.

I think on the 'post-it' is a recipe for guar gum base for the marbling I did with Marianne Peter.

So - not an amazingly beautiful book but one I would be most unhappy to lose. It not only has years of plans, ideas, recipes, instructions, photos, drawings - it is chock full of great memories of people and books and the wonderful fellowship with other people who love to bind and marble. Like the people I'm meeting through blogging.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Friends, family, an award & great blogs

Just a few photos of my recent time in the country. As usual the hospitality was wonderful, the company all I could wish for. The nights were very cold but the days were sunny and warm - what more could you ask for in mid winter? From the wrap-around verandahs there is a view in every direction, often with grazing cattle or horses or just the chooks doing their own thing.
The orchard is presently laden with mandarins, producing wonderful juice at breakfast time, and the stone fruit trees are in flower giving promise of much eating, bottling and preserving to come in summer.
The morning turns from complete fog to this beautiful mist then to brilliant sunshine.
Driving to visit friends we stopped to move this young Echidna (Spiny Anteater) [in link see Monotremes] off the road and to the comparative safety of the ditch. At the sight of me he curled up into a spiny ball, far too spiky to safely pick up in my bare hands. I nudged him gently with my shoe and very tentatively with my hands and succeeded in getting him off the road. On our return trip we looked out for him, hoping he hadn't ended up as roadkill but there was no sign of him so I hope he was safe. Of course I have no idea if "he" was a male or female but can't get my head around saying "it".
Back home this weekend we had a family lunch and the little girls made a floral installation which they attached to the fronds of a ponytail palm. Actually the big little girl made the camellia and clothes peg arrangements and the little little girl did her best to help.
The Karma Friends Award. It has taken me ages to acknowledge this award from Cheryl at scrappy cat. Thanks so much Cheryl. I'm meant to pass this on to 8 bloggers but I think I'll just tell you about some fabulous blogs I've found and if you want to pass on this award then that will be lovely but I know many people are avoiding awards so just consider yourself awarded with no strings attached. Blogging is great for making new friends so this is a very apt award.

I read a lot of blogs, particularly book binding ones so here are a few. I must say that I do like to leave comments because I think it's important that we know we aren't just blogging into a black hole. I'm always surprised when I see that a blog has a lot of followers but there are no comments. So please, if you see something you like, do take a moment to say so.

Shannon at bathtubdreamer has used Keith Smith's Woven Chain Binding;
Have a look at Handbound for beautiful books and boxes;
Congratulations to fellow Australian Rhonda Ayliffe who has been commended by the judges in the East Gippsland Art Gallery inaugural book awards;
Meet book arts instructor and author Pam Sussman;
A most prolific and successful binder is Kristen Crane;
Look at the books, boxes and earrings made by Monica Holtsclaw of Boombox Bindery;
Holly at Often Medieval in Mood (just the name drags me in) tells of Fantasy in the Forest;
See books, boxes and albums by Wendy at Windy Weather Bindery;
and for something completely different, Cake Wrecks for those who haven't come across this usually hilarious, sometimes beautiful, often creepy but award winning site...

I have, possibly foolishly, networked my blog on Facebook. Having done this I now realise I haven't the slightest idea why I did it and it has left me with a huge blank spot near the top of my blog for network followers. I'm not sure what the point of it is, why it will be useful - in fact it is making me think I'm just a complete computer nerd. If anyone has any advice, good ideas (or bad ones) about this, please tell me. I don't even know what questions I need to ask.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Blind as a bat ...

I can't believe this but I've wrecked my reading glasses and life has become a blur. I'm struggling with a pair of multifocals which make me dizzy and make reading a nightmare. I did think being forced to use them may be a good thing and I'd get used to them - and I'm still trying - but I really don't like feeling that I'm about to fall over all the time.

In the morning I'm abandoning the family for a few days to go north to Gloucester to visit my lifelong friends on their beautiful farm. It's raining steadily so I hope it doesn't turn into a flood that strands me in the country. My friends have been rained-in twice this year when their creek flooded and cut them off from the road. Of course it's a wonderful place to be stranded and their hospitality is legendary so I can think of worse things that could befall me.

My workroom had a new addition today. We bought a very solid timber table and two chairs that are perfectly sized for a three year old, and assembled them. As I couldn't read the miniscule instructions I had to make an educated guess at the assembly but it wasn't too hard. S put in the screws and learned to use an Allen key and was extremely proud of her new skills and I was pretty impressed with her too. She is very proud to be setting up her workspace in my workspace and I know she will be good company for me. She has already cast an eye over my tools and suggested that we can share some things so I feel it will be interesting to see how we both deal with that. There will have to be very strict rules about sharp instruments and they will be kept well out of reach and some locked up.

My mother was very creative, and I have always felt because of her imagination and generosity in letting me make a mess, that I had a charmed childhood. I tried to give that same experience to my children and now I am fortunate enough to have another generation of children to "create" with. As we have a new baby due in a few weeks I expect to have plenty of opportunity to work and play with S (3 1/2) and L (15 months). My house may be chaotic but the little girls don't care which suits me just fine.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Two books

I can see that my unpacking is going to be an ongoing, and probably to the reader, invariably tedious business so while it will be in the forefront of my mind, I don't want to bore everyone else by going on about it. Except to say that it will happen eventually and one day I'll be able to say "All done" and then I'll show you photos of my [potentially] wonderful workroom. Perhaps by then I'll be confident enough to call it my bindery.

While I'm waiting for books to be made in the here and now, I have a few photos of books made last year. This first was a farewell book for a longterm member of staff. I was called in to plan the book and to assemble it, something I was very happy to do for an old friend. These are the A4 sheets, folded and made into sections. The staff had written and drawn on the sheets and there were enough pages for quite a substantial volume.
I did a 6 needle coptic binding, using waxed Irish linen thread.
I normally make my board attachment through the boards but for some reason (and I can't imagine what it would be) I attached around the boards. I know many people do this but I always feel the stitching is more secure the other way. The book looked fine and the recipient was delighted but now I wish I'd taken that extra step with it.
I made this blank journal for a raffle prize and wrapped it in beautifully soft leather.
I used my own marbled paper for end papers and because I had less than an hour to make it I used an Italian made book block, rather than sewing my own.
How do I happen to have such a thing close to hand? Remember those books I make for the shop? That's a clue... But the leather is gorgeous and the endpapers were pretty nice.

Monday, 6 July 2009

My new beach & some book works in the pipeline

I always felt privileged living at Coogee Beach and it was quite a wrench to leave it behind. It didn't take me long to get over that - the moment I saw Terrigal Beach on a sparkling summer day, I knew I was hooked. Now that I've moved to the NSW Central Coast I realise that there are many magical beaches and at least 7 of them are within a 10 minute drive of our home.
This is Terrigal Beach, which morphs into Wamberal Beach as it meanders north along the coast. South to the right the beach makes a turn around a rocky outcrop and forms another small beach with a boat launching area, a place for hopeful pelicans to hang out looking for scraps from fishermen. At The Entrance, another town a bit further north, there is a daily pelican feeding time, to which hundreds of pelicans flock, as do hundreds of tourists.
For more on pelicans, see here. One of the things I really love is watching these huge birds flying in V formation over our garden, taking a short cut from lagoon to beach.

I had an interesting afternoon yesterday with my friend P, as we worked on developing a new range of books for his shop. I managed to clear enough space in my work room so that we could lay out leathers and beautiful papers, cutting board by hand and making some serious policy decisions about what we'll make. I'm sorry to say that I was so engrossed I completely forgot to take photos but considering the state of the room, still piled high with boxes, that may have been a good thing. I'm really looking forward to making beautiful books for P's shop. I promise there will be photos as this ongoing project develops.

Thank you to all those bloggers who posted, welcoming me back to the blogosphere. I do appreciate your kind thoughts and I enjoy reading your blogs in turn.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

After nearly 6 months of silence ...

... I've surfaced! Still not organised, not completely unpacked, but renovations are done and I love my new house, the surrounding gardens and of course, seeing my little grand daughters daily. The vegetable garden is under way with winter veggies taking off, and even though it's winter we are picking lettuce and rocket every day for salads. The chooks love it and you'd think the old black cat had lived here all his life. I've even bought a car, after many, many years of not driving.

Thank you to all my blogging friends who have supported me through these months with comments and emails; I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. For quite a while I didn't have internet access and the first thing I did once online was catch up on all my favourite blogs. I try to comment as often as possible because I know how encouraging that can be.

At the moment I'm working to get my work room unpacked and usable so that I can make some books. I've done one commercial job and I'm about to do another, so that is a great incentive to get organised.

I received 2 wonderful parcels recently from Gracia & Louise. These contained collaged zines by Gracia Haby - "Tumble & Fall", a magical book of stars, and "A vagary of impediments & a sneak of weasels", an illustrated list of collective nouns. Beautifully presented and packaged, the parcels also contained cards, and a most welcome surprise - a copy of "Tweak, Tweaked, Tweet", a concertina of Australian birds, by Louise Jennison. Visit them and see what they are making. Thank you Gracia and Louise. Oh, and if you are fascinated with collective nouns, do visit their other site here.

Another surprise came my way a few days later when I read in Melior's blog Bibliophilia that I'd won her June give-away. This, #1 of her zine "The Happy Bus" has now arrived in the mail and I'm delighted with it. Original writing by Meliors and others, a fold out map showing Neural Pathways to Happiness and a little packet of stickers - plenty to read and think about. Thanks Meliors. Now, if you don't know Melior's blog I suggest you visit and leave a comment by 14 July. You'll be in the running for her July give-away - a staghorn coral brooch, embroidered to represent a fragment of bleached coral.

Way back at the beginning of this year Astrid tagged me. In response, rather than list things about myself, I think I'll just lead you to a few new blogs I'm reading. There are so many interesting book binders and book artists out there now and I find more each day. In fact Astrid's blog is a great source of new blogs for me. I'll try to add a couple each new post. I think it's important that we support one another.

Blue Roof Designs; Books by Rachel; CaiLun; Moonbindery; Buechertiger; Paper Curious - so read them and enjoy. And don't forget to leave a comment now and then.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Moving house tomorrow

One last day to pack, tie off loose ends, try to send as many email messages as possible because tomorrow morning I move into my new house and workspace. I won't have internet access for a few days because my internet provider doesn't "provide" in my street. We were hoping to get cable but it seems only 12% of Australia has cable and certainly not our little rural area, close as it is to Sydney.

I'm helping my family pack and we are really struggling with the heat - 42'C (107'F) yesterday and expecting higher today. I'm just hoping it doesn't rain on Friday when all my vast store of paper gets moved. In this entire saga of moving twice in a month, my greatest concern has been for the paper; except for the fate of my antique china in the hands of a very dodgy removalist. I always assumed that labels like "TOP", "FRAGILE", "NOTHING ON TOP", "THIS WAY UP" and "GLASS" were pretty obvious indicators but not to these cowboys. We've hired a different company for this move but the damage may have been done.

The main thing is that I get there. I suspect a dip in the pool will be first on the agenda to get us in the mood for unpacking. But right now I have work to do, packing, packing and more packing.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow! 01-01-2009! Last night (instead of going out celebrating or watching the fabulous Sydney fireworks on TV) I caught up with a lot of favourite blogs. That was a kind of celebration for me and a very satisfying way of spending an evening. I read Meg's page of resolutions with awe, because I rarely make resolutions, but I was quite inspired (thanks Meg) and think that as I'm starting a new life I too should be making a few plans for improvement.

I'm quite good at living in organised chaos and my last house did become almost out of control. Well, to anyone tidy I'm sure it looked completely out of control, but I knew where everything was. However, new year, new house, new workshop - what an opportunity to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I'll try. I think that's as close as I can get to a new year's resolution.

Last night I also caught up with Judy who dyes beautiful fabrics and has a most handsome white Poodle, Barker,
Dana and Daisy - Dana makes beautiful things and has great style, and Daisy is a Calico cat and is the Supervisor,
Di who is a fellow Australian artist and has cats, possums and a wicked sense of humour,
Astrid in Germany, a most talented bookbinder,
Amanda, another Australian bookbinder and ceramicist,
Sarah at Little Paper Bird, a bookbinder,
Barbara at Moon Bindery,
the aforementioned Meg, weaver, philosopher,
Rima at The Hermitage, an artist of extraordinary talent,
Meliors, from New Zealand but travelling around Australia, printer and bookbinder - if you want to know about the Top End of Australia, look a few weeks back at Meliors lyrical adventures, also beautifully photographed,
Rhonda, a bookbinder, always generous with her advice,
Gracia, and Louise, great artists,
Jackie at the wonderfully named Dog Daisy Chains ...

There are still many more favourites to read like Lesley, Sues, and Wendy (QuirkyArtist), whose blog address I can't log onto at the moment and many others. I really love these blogging friendships and to be able to keep in contact with artists who have the same or similar interests is such a privilege. A very happy, creative new year to you all.