Monday, December 19, 2011


Christmas has crept up slowly but calmly for me and my creative pursuits have put me in the mood. Family and friends are what it's all about and I am very fortunate to have many of these. Here are some of my preparations...

Simple Christmas Cards - using scrapbooking paper, ribbons, a border punch

 My Christmas Present wrapping has a recycle - re-use theme this year - newsprint and ribbons I have saved from previous Christmas' - I am very pleased with the effect. Why keep buying when all I/you need to do is look around at your stash!

Red and Green

Pink and Gold

Red stamps on newsprint

I have met some lovely people through Lawendula's Paper Swaps over the past two years and emailed them to see if anyone would like to swap a hand made card with me this Christmas. All of them are from places other than Australia. Some people were too "snowed" under and busy, some don't do Christmas but I had 6 "takers". Here are my first 2 cards which arrived very quickly. They are both of gorgeous Christmas trees but so different. Lee has painted, used lace, glittered circles and 'gem stones' ; Emma has pieced together recycled Christmas cards and sewn over them with gold thread. Thank you ladies - I love them both! Hopefully the very busy postman will deliver my other cards this week - but I know some of them have a very long way to travel.

I sent...

The cards I sent - very easy to do - I used a card measuring 12.5 x 18 cms, cut strips of co-ordinating paper between .5 and .9 cms wide in staggered lengths the attached them on a 'trunk' of card with a couple of ribbons tied in between.This was mounted on a cuttlebug textured card which was the mounted on the base card. I used foam double sided squares to give dimension.

Then - another card swap - this time with the lovely ladies in our Beyond Altered Book Group, which meets monthly. As you can see there are cards, small canvas' and even a fabric star. Stamps, 3D shapes, hand painted paper, ribbon, fabric, buttons, punched and textured shapes, glitter - everything goes.
Thank you ladies.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beyond Altered Books

I belong to a lovely group of ladies who call ourselves Beyond Altered Books Group - this name grew from Altered Book Group because some of us have branched out and work on other projects when we meet.
We first did various workshops with Ro Bruhn (aren't we lucky) and then some of us indicated a desire to continue meeting. There is always plenty of fun, art and new ideas and inspirtation around every Third Thursday. I always look forward to these evenings.

One project we've all been working on is a An Altered Book (which is an outdated school text book) where we take a turn to do a page for someone else each month. We all have a book and I can't wait to get mine back finished. I haven't looked at any of my pages yet as I want it to be a surprise when I get it! WE began this about a year ago. This is my latest page for someone who directed me to an inspiring course called Soul Journalling  by Sarah Whitmire. Sarah has many Journalling ideas and free courses too, some of which pushed me along in my experimention.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Browsing through some of my favourite blogs on the weekend I came across Seth Apter's posting for a  Stackaholics Anonymous challenge of a couple of weeks ago. There are to date - 102 posts showing people's studio stacks of whatever you can imagine - and more! There is a huge amount of inspiration included - and I'm only half way through the list of links! I know I am very late, (my life has been a bit difficult recently) but hope he will forgive me if I post some photos of my Journal Stacks here.

My Junk Journals with collaged paper napkin covers - I give them as gifts to friends, to my Paper Swap buddies - and use some myself, of course.

 My Travel Journals - beginning in 1985, with our first trip to Europe - and continuing with Journals from trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, France, England, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, Belgium, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Switzerland, Pacific Islands ... and hopefully many more travels to come.

The wobbly view above, the neater view below, of hand made and hand painted pages, altered books and notebooks.

I am very proud of my hand made journals and seeing them stacked together made me realise what a lot of enjoyment I've had from painting, stamping, sewing, collaging, decorating , drawing - and even - writing in them. And what a delight they'll be in the twilight years as Memory Treasure Troves!
 Below is a delicious stack of boxes and envellopes of inspiration I've received from friends I've met by being involved in Lawendula's Paper Swaps.Such a delightful experience to open one or two and use the papers enclosed.

A stack of cards I am in the process of making.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wonderful Winter

I really love Winter - with it's excuse to stay inside and do lovely warming things, like playing with beautiful grandaughters, making cards, knitting, crocheting, watching films, meeting friends for lunches... an enjoyable life that's for sure, made even more so by the fact that I don't have to go back to school tomorrow! Yippee! Last term I had a few days working in a secondary college library - what a breeze - and I got paid! The great thing about doing casual work is that I can say yes or no, depending on what else is happening in my week.
I have a friend who is selling my cards for me - here's a photo of the 30 or so I finished recently. I am thinking of putting some on etsy, just as an experiment. Wish me well!
From The Card Factory!
Today I have just completed 4 hours of reinstalling programs on my "new" computer. The old motherboard died and now I am $$$ poorer and having to "find" programs, favourites, photos ... wish I had my personal IT tech (like I had at school - oh well - I am learning a lot!) Today Blogger even looks and performs differently, and so far, better!
As I've said before I've been involved in Lawendula's Paper Swaps - and met some lovely ladies and received some sensational packages. Her paper swap idea is just terrific - thank you Franca Maria.
Shiela, one of my swap partners, had never sent anything to Australia and my lovely parcel was her first posting to Australia. The swap we were in was for a paperback book that we'd enjoyed. She sent me -Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson and I'm saving it to savour when I have a weekend away soon. It was a great swap - thank you Shiela!

Beautifully wrapped inside the parcel...and a lovely hand made tag.

My new book, the tag - and a specially made -for - me collaged canvas that is now on my wall.

Her blog is called Tea and Toast - Living Gratefully, Joyfully and Creatively - a wonderful name for a blog. She has "Thoughtful Friday" postings and is currently showing Arty Index Cards that she is doing for a challenge. Some beautiful photography too.
She recently sent me a very generous second parcel - full of so many wonderful things to use. Seeing a parcel in the letterbox is like having a birthday again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"On holidays"

View of my garden in winter from the front door.

View in winter from the back door.

Pot of succulents on the back deck.

It's June already and winter has come to Melbourne. Crisp, dewy mornings and sometimes sunny days to follow, a few rainy times too - well it is winter! I am loving being at home wandering around the garden and just looking at it and picking and cooking home grown produce - a creative activity.

Pumpkins, Silverbeet, Parsley, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Rubarb, Rosemary, Chillies - in my winter garden.
I have done some casual work "freelance" as a teacher and have 5 more days coming up. One day as a University supervisor, and 4 days as a Library Assistant in a secondary school. Both much more 'grown up" than my previous primary school career! I am looking forward to it all - the challenge, the newness of each experience - and a chance to 'dress up' and put on the make-up!
Plenty of cosy indoor things to do too - knitting, painting, book making, card making too. Temperatures ranging from 4 - 19 degrees! I no longer have to go to work 3 days a week anymore as I resigned from my last school when the contract was up - long distances to drive, sometimes 1 1/2 hours each way because of traffic etc. So, I have been "exploring my options" as one friend suggested and I find I quite like the feeling of being on holidays!

Cards I've made...

Beanies I've knitted...
I have also been doing quite a bit of work in my travel journals (getting them up-to-date - ha!) and have been enjoying making small "Junk Journals" using collected papers from my travels, some hand painted papers, some vintage papers and plain papers too. I've given them as small gifts to the lovely friends I've met this year via Lawendula's Paper Swaps. Maybe I'll post instructions soon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This morning is too wet for gardening, so I have been "Blog Hopping" - just following from one link to another. Great inspiration abounds! I have joined as a follower on some and entered a giveaway here -ooglebloops.
This is another talented lady creating Art, selling it too, on her etsy site and giving inspiration to the rest of us.
Here are some photos in a garden and outside a Bed and Breakfast cottage I stayed in recently, near Warragul, in the Victorian countryside.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Altered Books - Using and Making.

Over the last couple of years I have left my jobs at 4 different schools, begun to plan for "Retirement" and discovered the world of Altered Books. I love re-using things - and started a "School Life" Altered Book in an old Diary. I am still going to work on the cover but thought a page would be worth putting in here.

Covers of Diaries

I worked as a Teacher Librarian for 30 years, taught for 35 years and started school 57 years ago! Here's a photo of me at 5, on one of my pages. Working on this book helped me celebrate my achievements and 'let go' of my marvellous career. My Art as Therapy I guess!

I also love making books - using the simple technique of sewing through the middle. I use my own painted papers, magazine pages, blank paper, hand made paper - and decorate large sheets of card by painting, stamping and collaging printed serviette layers. I then choose an interesting section and cut to create a cover for the collected pages.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paper Swapping Around the World

Some time last year, a friend alerted me to a Paper Swap at Lawendula. I was very tempted and joined and met some lovely fellow Paper Lovers from around the world.
Another project that Lawendula initiated was the Collage Box No 1. The idea was that she would put papers into a box and then it would be posted to the next person on the list - to take 12 pieces out, add 12 pieces - and make a collage from the pieces taken out. This is what I did...

The box arrived 

Packed full to the brim
So much to choose from...

Let's see what there is...

Love that red paper...

But I chose these pieces...

Added these pieces...

Packed it all up again and posted it to New Zealand and the next participant.

And then my pieces sat on my bench hidden away over Christmas, New Year, Summer ...while I tidied my room and bences a bit - and then had space to "do" my collage. Added some stamps, and orange dots of paint - and now am completing the project by posting.

Completed - looks better the right way around though!
(can't get it to be the right way around no matter how many times I try - now I know what people mean when the talk about blogger!)

Lawendula is hosting more Paper Swaps this year and there are two more Collage Boxes going around the world.
Thank you Lawendula for  great inspiring projects which has enabled me to meet some lovely Paper Artists from around the world.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Inspiring Words

Three more photos from my overseas trip last year - loved finding these words on shops and over doorways and as advertising! They were all appropriate for me.

Does just creating Art lead to happiness?
What a great message!
My Favourite! This would be a great name for a Blog - bet it's already happening. Must check.
Now I am turning off the computer and going upstairs to my room to find some happiness with my Art and Soul.  Wish me luck - may have to tidy up first - ugh!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


A beautiful view and such a relaxing place to have a coffee...

 Petite Palais

Pont Alexandre 3rd

I too, like many people I know, love Paris! In the past two years, I have been lucky enough to travel overseas and spend some time there. Last year, I visited some places I'd never heard of  before - one of them, Petite Palais, near the Pont Alexandre 3rd. Lovely collection of art & antiques &  free entrance. A great place for coffee & cake too.

I have been inspired by Tricia at French Kissed. Tricia restores old French postcards and creates digital images from them to sell.

I inherited a bundle of French Postcards from my Grandmother - who died in 1936, long before I was born. They tell the story of her communication with her German seaman fiance and of her family in Alsace who wrote to keep in touch when she and her German born husband migrated to Australia in the early1900's. Some of them were translated by my lovely friend Charlotte, whom I met in Cambridge, who lived in Cologne - but sadly died two years ago of cancer.

I intend to scan them one day and make a book of Albertine's story for future generations. It is awe inspiring to learn of the distance travelled by such young people and the reality of leaving their homes, countries and family and friends behind for a new life in Adelaide, Australia, so far away in those days of sea travel.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wandering around

This is my second attempt! Very cleaverly & frustratingly, I "LOST" my original post - and can't find it anywhere. But the positive is that I've practisesed posting again. Recently I've been housebound with a torn ligament in my foot, so it has been a great excuse to tidy my room and search out some unfinished projects. I've had great fun completing some "10 minute collages" - done by leafing through a magazine or two, tearing/cutting out things /words that appeal and then just placing & gluing them down quickly.It is quite liberating as it's so spontaneous - and great fun! Here's one in my Junk Journal (started last year in a Ro Bruhn workshop). It's interesting to look at them some time after they're done and see what your subconscious was thinking then.
I've also been visited by my two beautiful grandaughters (6 and nearly 3) and I'd promised them we'd do painting during the school holidays. So on  a lovely sunny 40 C day, the easel was set up on our deck shaded by gum trees and we all painted. I was able to get some covers ready for future notebooks, to go in my "present drawer", and they loved painting the papers and themselves.
I've also been blog hopping and found this interesting idea at Art and Inspiration. It's a Pay It Forward activity and decided I too would like to participate.The idea is to promise something handmade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment here (and want to play along). To be eligible, you too must repost this offering something handmade by you to 5 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people some time in 2011.

So - I promise to send the first five people (who want to play along) leaving a comment here, a hand-made-by-me gift - soon, but remember you have to do it too. It sounded like a fun thing to do and as I love "snail mail" and "surprises" - and the film "Pay it Forward" - I'm following Tammy's idea too. Hopefully it will be a great way to meet other like minded people.