Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day to all! This year, take a leaf out of the Little Corella’s (Cacatua sanguinea) book; sit up and take notice of your surroundings. Hang around with friends, walk and drink in nature, chat and swap stories or simply enjoy your own space, eat well and give yourself time to dream.

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Sit up and take notice

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Hang around with friends

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Walk and drink in nature and swap stories

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Enjoy your own space, eat well and give yourself time to dream


Surviving the heatwave

As I write this there are currently 11 uncontrolled blazes in Victoria. For those of you who live in bush fire areas, I hope you are safe. As I live in the middle of Melbourne, our house was in no danger, the heat though, was incredible.  I thought I’d show you a few snaps of the garden after the recent heat wave. I really think I’m just not meant to grow tomatoes. Last year, I had a grand harvest of one tomato, the rest being eaten by various creatures. This year, I carefully netted them up and had a promising crop growing, only to have them cooked on the bush.

It’s been too hot to use my usual acrylic paints, so I played around with nice cool watercolours. My feather paintings went into the recycling bin as I just couldn’t get them to go the way I saw them in my mind. The bird though, I was quite happy with, so it survived. Thankfully, it is much cooler today so we can all get a good nights sleep…

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Beautiful lush St Mary is no longer lush

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Burnt tomatoes look very unappealing…

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Cool blue watercolour

Not perfect weather for crafting Koalas

In my last post, I was lamenting the lack of summer warmth. It had been a miserable summer but perfect for crafting cosy wool Koalas. We postponed our trip down to Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, as it really wasn’t beach weather. Finally, last Wednesday, beach weather arrived. It was perfect, not too hot but warm enough to make the sea pleasant to swim in. We took Ruby the naughty Pugalier to a dog beach for a swim and watched an amazing sunset.

Today though, I feel like a piece of lettuce left out of the fridge. It is currently 44 Celsius or 111 Fahrenheit. Far too hot for sewing with wool or painting but perfect for reading and drinking iced tea…..


Dusk falling on beach huts

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Ruby (on the right) plays in the shallows with a new friend


A stunning Mount Martha Sunset


Almost gone, Arthur’s Seat in the distance

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year 2014 from Melbourne! Last night we joined around 500,000 other Melburnians to celebrate the New Year. Trains were free, crowded and good humoured.  A hilarious ride home, where one of my friend’s attempts to get carriage participation, in singing Auld Lang Syne with her, was met with complete silence. It was a perfect summer night to sit on the banks of the Yarra and be dazzled by fireworks from 22 city rooftops.

The world has not been completely happy in 2013, I wish for, above all, peace and tolerance. I sat on the banks of the river surrounded by Australians of all different cultural backgrounds, races and religions. People were wearing Hijabs, Baseball caps, silly looking 2014 headbands, blue and red devil horns, flashing lights, flowers and just plain old bare heads. All around me, faces turned to the sky, enraptured. I thought, this is right, all is as it should be.


On the banks of the Yarra River, waiting for the fireworks.

2014 Yarra River

Beautiful reflections and boats with coloured lights, light up the usually brown river.

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Fireworks explode from the top of the Herald Sun building.


The city is ablaze with stunning showers of coloured light.

A Street Art tour

One of the features of Melbourne is its tiny lane ways that criss cross the city. I went and saw Hosier Lane recently get repainted which I’ll show you another time. This week I was lucky enough, to tag along with the group of teenagers I teach art to, on a guided Street Art Tour run by Blender Studios, which I highly recommend.

The teenagers have become disengaged with school for various reasons, the program we run aims to create a pathway for them to reengage with education. After this tour the students will create a piece of art on a large panel of wood, they’ve been excited by this project and wrote me a shopping list. So, I have been buying multiple spray cans and things called Fat Caps, Vegan Caps and Widow Makers. I’m kind of excited too, I’ve seen lots of street art I admire, but haven’t been involved with making any before. My paintings are on a much, smaller scale. I can’t show you all the amazing art we looked at, because my students are in the photographs, so here is just a tiny snapshot.

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Material in Hosier Lane, Melbourne

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Hosier Lane yarn bombing

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Kaffeine’s beautiful work in Rutledge Lane

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Deb’s restored work in Hosier Lane

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Shoes hanging out around ACDC Lane

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A bird glows at the back of ACDC Lane

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A tiny fairy in Blender Laneway

The art of icing

I have very fond memories of going to the National Gallery of Victoria with my father as a little girl. He would take my brother and I to see exhibitions, and to do creative workshops there especially designed for children.

The NGV remains a place of wonder for me. I do have one rather traumatic memory though. As an art teaching student, part of our course was to take our tutor and class there and give them a tutorial about a particular artist. I chose Turner. My tutor and fellow students stood around listening to my Turner talk. A large group of visitors to the gallery chose to come and listen for my entire fifteen minute tutorial. As I was very shy at that time of my life, I could feel my face redden and start to twitch all over. As my Dad would say, it was character building.

Yesterday my husband and I went to Federation Square for a coffee and popped in to the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia. In the foyer, there appeared to be the detritus of a dinner party. Rather intrigued, I moved closer. There were plates piled up with scraps of food, empty beer bottles, glasses, a crumpled tablecloth. A gallery attendant noticed my interest and wandered over. “It’s all made of icing”, he said. Oh my goodness, it was! The cushions are icing, the food scraps, the wallpaper, the labels on the bottles, the light switch. I can’t tell you who made it unfortunately, as the exhibition it is part of is still being set up. It is part of Melbourne Now, an exhibition of 300 artists. I have included a link below which has a great video of what will be included. I am so excited by this, I can’t wait!

Melbourne Now will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International from 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014. 10am – 5pm. Free entry.

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Icing prawns and icing peas

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Icing wallpaper and icing gravy

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I wonder what an icing cushion would feel like to sit on?

The lungs of the city

Walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens, would definitely be on the list for visitors to my beloved Melbourne. Established in 1846 on a swamp, it’s now a favourite place for Melburnians to marry, picnic, stroll, run around the perimeter and simply take time to breath. I like to think of it as the lungs of the city. After walking through the gardens, my shoulders drop, my face relaxes, I just let myself be.

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One of the beautiful lake vistas

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The Rose Pavilion

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Guilfoyle’s Volcano built in 1876, was used to store water. After lying idle for 60 years, it is now restored and covered in succulents.

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Birds of Paradise point their beaks toward the sky.

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The large roots of the Moreton Bay Fig tree.

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Proud parents and their three little ones.

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Never the ugly duckling.