Monday, 20 September 2010

New books, some bargains and a gift

A parcel came from Amazon a couple of days ago with three new books. Too big for the letter box, they came with the Delivery Man, a favourite visitor who brings very desirable stuff right to my door. This time I had two books by Ricë Freeman-Zachery - "Creative time and space: making room for making art" and "Living the creative life: ideas and inspiration from working artists".  Feeling I needed a bit of inspiration, I couldn't decide which one to get, so bought both. They are very easy reading and good for dipping into, and as I've indicated before, I enjoy Ricë's style of writing. I certainly feel I need a bit of inspiration at the moment. You can see more about these books in the sidebar of her blog, Notes from the Voodoo Cafe.

The third book is "Miniature books: 4,000 years of tiny treasures" by Anne C. Bromer and Julian I. Edison. A miniature book is no taller than 3 inches and almost all the many books illustrated in this lavish volume are depicted in actual size. This is a coffee table book, very pretty, with lots of beautiful illustrations and a descriptive text. Nice to have in the book binding library and maybe I'll get some inspiration from this one, too.

With a good friend (and fellow binder) I went to a silent auction over the weekend and put bids on a few items. I usually look for things for the garden and I was pipped at the post for a wonderful fountain with a pool and carved fish. My bid was the same as the winning one but mine went in later so the first bidder got the fountain! However I did get a small metal box in a style I collect, and a little metal plate with three rabbits holding it up. I think this would look lovely at a birthday party with a heap of chocolate crackles on it. I'll do anything to have the opportunity to make chocolate crackles...

And this afternoon the wonderful Delivery Man arrived again with a parcel from Dinahmow. Three frangipani cuttings, ready to go into the ground or a pot. A most welcome and appreciated gift. Thanks, Di!

And a few links to blogs I've been reading this weekend: Rhonda (Canada) at My Handbound Books; Andrew (US) who does good book reviews and makes lots of books; and Ronnie, who is an amazing artist and bookbinder - and is an Australian. Have a look and enjoy them.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Fish indulgences

I've admitted to this before - I love the look of fish. Not enough to have one in a tank but if I did, I'd really want this fellow. His name is Strawberry and he's a four year old Giant Gourami, still growing. He loves to eat strawberries, hence the name. He lives in a large tank in a local plant nursery and is quite sociable, peering through the tank at visitors and scaring the daylights out of small children when he opens his huge mouth up against the glass. I couldn't find an image of a Giant Gourami eating a strawberry but here's one eating a tomato.
Drawing fish is a very unscientific activity for me. They sometimes start with a touch of fact but they go off into fantasy quite quickly.

I took the fish fantasy to great lengths when I tiled my shower with hand painted sea life tiles, made by my daughter Suzy Spoon. I was pretty sad to leave these tiles behind when I moved to the Central Coast, especially as Suzy has moved on in her artistic career, now working in film and TV.

So, speaking of the talented Suzy, may I put in a request that if any of my readers would like to help her with her non-profit business, here's how to go about it:

Suzy Spoon’s web program Iron Deficient Chef has been chosen as a finalist in the Voiceless People’s Choice Awards 2010. We need your vote to help Suzy win. Voting closes on 20 September.

Iron Deficient Chef, series two – SpoonCapers : a series of five-minute webisodes each containing a delicious vegan recipe and an important animal protection message.

After a successful series of six five-minute webisodes in 2008, SpoonCapers is ready to begin producing series two of the popular vegan cooking show, Iron Deficient Chef.  Each episode deals with a different ethical issue associated with what we eat – from the growth of the factory farming industry to the commercial kangaroo slaughter, live export and pigs in sow stalls, as well as providing the viewer with a delicious vegan recipe. “Iron Deficient Chef makes viewers aware of important issues about animal cruelty, and is delivered in a non-confronting way to maximize its appeal and reach a new audience,” notes producer, writer and host Suzy Spoon.

Voiceless is an independent non-profit think tank dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia. Voiceless envisions a world in which animals are treated with respect and compassion.
The annual Voiceless Grants Program has seen over $1 million given to organisations for inspirational animal protection activities over the past six years. The People’s Choice! Award is your chance to be part of Voiceless’s work in funding projects that help animals in Australia. This $10,000 grant, awarded to the project which receives the most public votes, is funded by public donations throughout the year. Now in its fourth year, the People’s Choice! Award is your chance to have a say in what we do.
To vote for Suzy’s Iron Deficient Chef, please go to the voting page, highlight the 4th button : Series of vegan cooking/animal protection webisodes. You will receive a validation email. Please don’t forget to validate this to make your vote count.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Spring time in the Southern Hemisphere

Who doesn't love spring? The bulbs are popping, freesias, primula, azaleas flowering but in my part of the world there is also wild weather.  As well as severe wind warnings here in Sydney and the Central Coast,  other parts of NSW, Victoria and South Australia are in major flood, and in beautiful Christchurch, in New Zealand's South Island, they've had a serious earthquake. Spring in the Southern Hemisphere can be quite savage!

I was fascinated by this video of a book binder making a very traditional book and then subjecting it to a decaying process.  I can imagine that 20 years ago I would have been shocked by this; in fact in the years I was learning traditional bookbinding I probably wouldn't have dreamed of altering a book - we all know that books are sacred! - but over time I've come to appreciate the many ways of producing books and art and I hope there's not much that I wouldn't consider as legitimate, or innovative, or just downright hilarious. If you just want to see the book being made, watch until he finishes it and then switch off. But I'm sure you won't. I found this link on Dymphie's blog, always full of interesting books, art, news and links.  

Some book arts bloggers I've visited today have been Pam at Book Arts Studio , Elissa at Blue Roof Designs and Niko at Anagram for Ink. I'm sure, if you love fonts as much as I do, you'll enjoy The Scriptorium.

I'd love to hear from you - so please leave a comment.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Some sparkle, some inspiration and an award

I love a bit of bling, not so much to wear, but to look at, and in Auckland a couple of months ago I was introduced to this fabulous fabric and glitz store. Hundreds of rolls of fabric stood on the shop floor, some absolutely gorgeous, but the amazing effect was produced by the walls, covered entirely with beaded embellishments. I obviously have no idea what they should be called so the best I can do is say "Look at the photos."

I'm so far behind in my reading of favourite blogs that I have about a thousand posts to read. I think this will have to be my early morning activity for a while and now that the weather is improving I think I can manage to get up about 5.30 and get reading. Today I visited Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, where Ricë Freeman-Zachery just about always puts life into perspective for me. Ricë is a straight talker, absolutely true to herself, and today I really enjoyed her post I Want to be Your Flying Pig. If you haven't come across her, dip in. I personally believe that pigs are very superior animals and could fly; they just can't be bothered.

It's a while since I've seen a blog award but Louise of The Fig Tree has very kindly awarded me this Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you so much Louise, I'm not sure I deserve it but I do appreciate the thought.
The regulations state the recipient of the beautiful blogger award must:
*Add a link and a note of thanks to the person giving the award,
*Pass the award onto the most beautiful blogs you love
*Share 7 things about yourself.
Seven things about myself, presumably that I haven't already told you.
1. I once had 3 pet rats.
2. I once had a pet scorpion. As scorpions live under a rock or dark place and only rush out to grab the live food you've given them - well, I found I wasn't really up watching that happen so I gave the scorpion to my niece.
3. I have been foster mother to baby flying foxes (Grey-headed Flying Fox), carrying the baby in my shirt for warmth and feeding bat formula from a tiny bottle. This is a bat with huge personality and there is nothing spooky or scary about them.
4. I collect Hippeastrums. And lots of other lilies.

5. I love photographing reflections. This is at Picton wharves, Marlborough, NZ
6. I love dogs.
7. I'm a current affairs junkie but Australia's hung parliament is wearing a bit thin with me. And with most Australians I imagine.

Now some links to favourite blogs:
 Dymphie at Papieren Avonturen; BookArtObject where you will find links to all the members of our group; Valerie at Acorn Moon; Gracia & Louise at High up in the Trees; Roz at Roz Wound Up; Jackie at Drawing a Line in Time; and Gail at Papergail. I'll try to add links each post because there are so many wonderful book, art, craft and life blogs that it really is impossible to keep up without we help each other.

Please comment if you like - or perhaps if you don't agree - with what I say. I love to hear from you.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Spring time

Just before spring launched itself with warm days and balmy breezes, the little red-headed boy had his 1st birthday. The weather was perfect for a day in the garden with Bat Boy & several fairies, all accompanied by fairy bread, chocolate crackles and huge bubbles. And of course a wonderful birthday cake.

Toes barely touching the ground, he loved his new hot rod and was heard to say "brooom brooom". Truly his father's son.

Spring has gone to the heads of the birds and the dawn chorus starts with the kookaburras, followed by magpies, currawongs and the smaller birds. Listen to some bird song here.The chook yard is popular with a family of Satin Bower Birds who appreciate the delivery of food each day, and I'm trying to keep the parrots at bay by putting out seed far from the chooks. Rainbow Lorikeets and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are rife but I'd like to win over the wonderful Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, who are less sociable, at least in our garden. Or perhaps less greedy.

A favourite bird in the garden is the Tawny Frogmouth, often confused with owls but more closely related to the nightjars, and a night hunter. By day they sleep in our pear tree, very close to the action in the busiest part of the garden. When things get too noisy (usually from the sandpit where 3 children are playing), one of the pair will ruffle feathers, open one eye, and give us 'the look'. This is mating time so I imagine ours will have a nest somewhere perhaps a little more private. They mate for life so I hope they stay safe.

One other springtime delight is the appearance of Nodding Greenhood ground orchids which completely disappear for most of the year but suddenly produce flat leaves from which these tiny orchids emerge. They don't last long, but are just one of the ephemeral joys of gardening. This year the patch is bigger and another has appeared a few metres away. I'm told that if I want to move them I should wait until the leaves disappear and then dig up some tubers but I feel this would take away some of the mystery. I rather like the way they come and go with no help from me.

I've been very slow to post and I intend to bump up my frequency. Part of my problem is that I intended this blog to be about book arts - and at the moment I'm in a slump. So for a while I'll just try talking about things I'm doing, bookish or not, and add some photos as I go. Thank you to all those who have persisted in reading my posts, in spite of their irregularity.

I love to read your comments and would like to know what you think. I'll reply to your comments here and of course visit you at your blog as well.