Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 12 - What made you dance, what made you weep?

Her first year at uni was a tough one. It is heartbreaking to see your child unhappy in what they are doing. No matter how old they are. She put on a brave face, went to her lectures and did what was necessary to get through the year.

And at the end of it all, she announced that she was taking a year off. She has a job at an outdoor ed centre.

Wow, that's really big.

Every possible case scenario ran through my head. From bush-fires to some horrid chainsaw accident. (As opposed to her nice cushy city life). But I knew it was the right choice for her. 

To see how happy it has made her, and too see her grow and extend and feel so good about her life and her surroundings. She has had a wonderful year, and I am so glad that she has had this wonderful opportunity. 

Day 11 - What was music to your ears?

        Go Julia!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 10 - Your greatest risk?

What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

Sometimes I feel like my whole life is a big risk.
My car is a just holding itself together with sticky tape and bits of string.
Financially I live from week to week, just managing to stay afloat.
Jobwise, I am constantly jumping from this to that. Usually just making enough money to cover bills and basic living expenses.

When an opportunity arose last month, to deliver a vehicle to a mine site in Karratha, WA, I thought, Why the hell not?

Before long I was on the road, with my 83 year old Dad along for the ride.

On the way we realised that we share a passion for the open road.

An interest in little out of the way places.

And all the quirky stuff that comes with them.

(And disturbingly, we both seem to get into conversations with the nuttiest people wherever we go).

A love of architecture.

 Old machinery.

 Unusual vegetation.

But the thing that really made me laugh was when Dad was saying that he was both blessed and cursed with Blind Optimism in the Face of Adversity. Shortly followed with, 'you've got a bit of your father in you, love.'

Indeed, I am both blessed, and cursed!

Day 9 - Your favourite book?

One of those questions that I never quite know how to answer. Favourite song, movie, book...... There are so many. And I love them all.

For 2012, a big part of my literary journey has been one of re-visiting old friends. And the winners for this year are Jane Austen's Persuasion and Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Both leave me all starry eyed and dreamy.

I love Jane for her wit, and insight into humanity. I love Charles for his ability to be gruesome, sensitive and funny all in the same time. Both authors take you on the most wonderful journeys.

And look at this edition of Bleak House. It was just lying about in my Dad's bookshelf. (Don't worry, he said I could have it) Printed in 1907.Ooooh, it gives me shivers every time I hold it.

Day 8 - what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012?

 Considering the idea that nothing lasts forever: what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012? 

Way back in the days when I only had two kids, a girl and a boy, I thought, 'what could be more perfect, what more could I want?'

Little did I know, that this gorgeous feller was on the way. 

As you can see, he has been a bundle of joy, right from the word 'go'.

It has been a bit of a tough journey for him, with two older, overbearing siblings. But he has always had a sense of humour about it all.

Now he has outgrown all of us, and stands at a whopping 6'2"

 Those evil older siblings have moved out into the world.

This year it has just been the two of us. Like any teenager, he drives me batty at times. But he is still my mate, and he still makes me laugh so hard my sides ache.

Day 7 - What will you take with you?

One of my first projects this year was to gut and make-over that filthy old sun-room that I'm ashamed to say was mine. With the help of my good friend Rob, Mr.Fix-it, we gave it a new life. You can read about it here

We pulled up the horrid rotting lino, and sanded the old floorboards. Imagine my surprise, to find such gorgeous wood underneath. I had to stop myself from rolling around on them.

They came up a treat with a good oiling.

And a once beautiful old Edwardian wardrobe that I had been ridiculously attached to had to go. It was falling apart, and in the way. 

But those front panels were just to spesh to throw out. And with a spit and a polish, they made wonderful wall panels.

The entire project took a lot of culling and paring back of stuff that had been sitting there for years. Stuff was thrown out, taken to the op-shop, recycled and relocated. Decisions and realisations were made, and a few old toys were found. 

All in all it was quite an emotional process. But a rewarding one. A room that was unusable and unpleasant has become a really nice little spot. It made me realise the importance of letting go, passing things on and taking stock of what I do and don't need. 

Strangely enough, this year has been one of shedding old skin. There has been a lot of re-assessing, working out what to keep and what to leave behind.  There have been tears and joy. And like the sun-room, it has made way for new stuff. 

This is what I want to take into 2013. The wisdom to know what to keep, and what to leave behind.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 6: What did you learn?

Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

The biggest, newest, way-out-of-my-comfort-zone skill that I have learned this year has been completing my business plan.

Some blood, sweat and tears went in to that, I can tell you. I have been doing the NEIS course. A fabulous government scheme to help kick start new businesses. I'm very grateful for the coaching and ongoing support that has been on hand. 

As a result of that, I have been pushing my art into new directions. Firstly I have learned screen printing. Thanks to the lovely Dave Marsh of Mr. Bucket, who has let me use of his studio, as well as showing me how to print.

I've always loved textiles, and usually have some sewing project on the go. But this year has been a journey of combining art with fabric and seeing what commercial value I can make of it.

This year has been a magical mystery tour of markets. 
Learning to produce bulk amounts of a product. 

Sourcing wholesale fabrics, and other products.


Dying whole bolts of fabric.

Finding interesting and unusual ways to dye fabric.

And coming up with some new stuff. 

I've learned lots. 

Day 5 - What was your dream destination?

What was your dream destination in 2012 and why?

There are sooooo many places that I want to go to. 
Europe, Africa, America, England......... 
Somewhere steeped in history, art, architecture.... 
Somewhere ancient, somewhere green, the beach, the bush, the desert........

Alas, these days the travel budget doesn't stretch much further than a weekly tank of petrol for my little hyundai.

But sometimes I get lucky. Last month a fabulous opportunity fell into my lap. I had to deliver a vehicle to a mining site in Karratha, WA. So I took a week away from my life and drove this baby up there.

And my 83 year old Dad came along for the ride. It was great fun, and it wasn't really anything that I had ever imagined doing before. 

So to answer the original question, I'm ready to let life surprise me again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 4 - How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?

This time of year I usually turn into a bit of a grinch. Bah Humbug, and all that. The tinsel, the plastic and all the social pressures usually see me curled up in a corner, rocking and muttering to myself.

And this year I am extra grumpy.

But I am looking forward to our annual Carols at the Substation. Every year our choir, along with an orchestra made up of local musicians and some local performers put on an evening of seasonal music.
Here we are two years ago. That's me on the far left.
This year.

And also I am looking forward to catching up with the family. We are getting the clan together, as we usually do. Last year the kids gave their grandad a make-over. Lets see what this years' adventure will be.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 3 - What do you wish for?

Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet?
What steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?

This is me twenty-four years ago. It was my final year of uni, and we were getting ready for our big exhibition. There I was, filthy, covered in paint, completely immersed in the whole business. Couldn't have been happier. I don't look like that any more, but I'm still at my happiest when I'm filthy and in the middle of an art project.

And here I am in more recent times, still nurturing the dream. Still don't have a brass razoo to my name, but I live in hope.

 My wish for 2013 is a successful exhibition, (that will lead to more of them). To make some decent sales, so that I can live more comfortably and devote more time to art. 

And yes, I'm working on it. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 2 - Expenditure.

What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?
It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.
What difference has it made to your life?

The budget this year has been beyond tight. Just getting the rent paid has been cause for celebration. That is ok, it makes you realise that you don't need a lot of stuff to be happy.

But this little gadget has made a huge difference to my life.
Much as I hate to admit it, I'm a bit addicted to my iPhone.


Last week I received an email from the lovely Kat @ I Saw You Dancing inviting me to take part in a fabulous blogging festival for December.You can see the button on the right, designed by the wonderfully talented Cam @ Curlypops.

The idea is that we are given something to reflect on, and write a blog about, every day for the month of December. You can click on the button at the side and read all the other amazing posts as well.I've got two posts today, as I was technologically challenged yesterday.

So, without further ado, the first prompt for #reverb12 is:

How are you starting this last month of 2012?

Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...

... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

Crossroads is the word that springs to mind. It seems to fit every category.

Body - New challenges, health issues have arisen which mean that a change of diet and a new exercise routine are necessary. Onward and upward to a healthier me. Its kinda fun really.

Mind  - Lately I've made some difficult decisions that have meant saying goodbye to some old patterns and dishing out some tough love certain people who are very important to me. (Not something that I'm naturally adept at). It is good to have cleared the air, and has left me thinking about future possibilities.

Day Job - Life in the nursery is constantly changing, with every season. Seeing our spring babies blossom into all manner of flora before they go out into the world is something that I never tire of.

Creative Life - This year I have been head down, bum up, working away on arty and crafty projects, and having a wonderful time of it altogether. Now I am starting to take stock and question what is working and what isn't. Which direction to take for 2013.

Heart - Cutting ties can be painful, and takes time to adjust to. But when you have done the right thing, you know it in your heart. Smarting from the pain right now, but I know that there are better things to come.

And also Family - Raising a lively bunch of kids alone has been a long hard slog. They have brought me more joy, laughter and pride than I ever thought possible. They have also brought tears, frustration and doubts about what the hell I was doing.

Just lately I have seen all three of them grow and blossom into the most wonderful young adults. I'm sure there are still many challenges ahead, but I feel confident that they all have the strength of character, wisdom and goodness of heart to deal with whatever life throws at them.

The fabulous young woman who I am proud to call my daughter.

My beautiful boys

Where to now for this little girl from the bush?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halosarcia pergranulata

The new seedling

From the Nursery.

If you haven't heard of Halosarcia pergranulata, you may know it by its common name.
Black-seeded Glasswort
It is a small, succulent woody shrub. It grows dense and erect. It can reach up to 1 metre tall, but is usually much smaller. One of our many local indigenous gems.

It is an amazing plant. It actually likes dry salty ground. Both coastal and inland. 

As you can see from the photos, branchlets grow in a beaded formation. As it matures, it grows little reddish glass-like beads on the ends, with succulent spikes.

These plants are edible. I have eaten Sarconia, pictured below. It was pickled in a jar. Very salty, delicious in salads. 

Here's one I've prepared earlier.

Detail of the Plant

Not exactly its natural habitat, but the best that I could do.
Sarconia, a close relative, grows prostrate but is very similar.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My favourite machines.

Behold! My baby.
In response to this blog post by A life of charming moments by Miss Prudence knits, I thought I would show off my sewing machines.

As I do a lot of sewing, I need reliable machines. In 1989, at the starry eyed age of 25 I had saved up $800 to buy me a new one.

There used to be a sewing machine shop on Chapel St. in Windsor, run by two Jewish gentlemen. Sadly it is gone now, it was a brilliant shop. Naturally I went there.

To this day I am grateful to the man who served me. He talked me out of a new machine, and recommended a second hand Bernina.  Oh my we have sewn some seams together over the years, this machine and I.
Leonie age 25, for your amusement.
 And for the big jobs, I have these beauties. Old industrial Singers from sometime around the '50s. Straight sewer and overlocker. They weigh about a tonne each and are deadly weapons. They will break your toe if you trip on them, or sew right through your finger if you are not concentrating. On the up side, they both go like rockets.