I finally cleared enough space on the laptop to download my recent photos. Here are some my favourites. This amazing moth - photographed in the glamorous surroundings of the amenities (toilet) block at camping. Wow. How beautiful! I borrowed a book from the farm at Christmas with photos of butterflies and moths in it, but this guy's not in it. I'll have to search to find out what its called*. Next is the envelope and invitation to my lovely friend's 40th birthday. She is a designer and calligrapher and the invite, as usual, is a work of art. Mind you , even her shopping lists look like this. To keep it real I've included my two minute icing job on the birthday girl's cake. Dinner that night was homemade (can't you tell) sushi. The birthday girl's favourite (see embroidery). Delicious. Finally I had to share a photo of my new white picket fence, seen through the purple fountain grass. I do love them - the grass and the fence. * Found it - Granny's Cloak Moth http://www.ozanimals.com/Insect/Granny%27s-Cloak-Moth/Speiredonia/spectans.html
J and I skived off work this afternoon and met up to snorkel with our boys at Camp Cove, a lovely little Harbour beach out near the Heads. It was the perfect way to spend this last day of the holidays, before regular life overtakes us.
Sydney is such an amazing place, right there in the middle of all the ferries and yachts and million dollar cruisers you can walk in off the beach and plunge straight into the middle of coral and fish and crabs. I saw a family of big crabs lunching on the waving seaweed, a foot long Leatherjacket (above) happily ignoring me as it snuffled the sea floor, and I swam through the middle of a school of a thousand little fish. Bliss!
I got the feeling these city fish are used to strange people staring at them because none of them looked the slightest bit worried, except the squid. He kept one beady eye on me as he backed off into the distance. I wanted to explain I meant him no harm but he wasn't listening.
Driving home into the darkening sky I felt refreshed and inspired. Its been so hot and muggy for so long it was great to spend time in the cool ocean. I'm hoping the coming storm brings us lots of rain and wind and not just the crackling thunder and more humidity its offering so far!
p.s. A big thank you to all the lovely people who have voted for my little shop in The Poppies! And for all the lovely thoughtful messages you've sent and comments left. I'm feeling very special :-)
p.p.s. Not my photos, unfortunately - but if that isn't the fish I saw its his twin brother!
Well its official, the nominations went up today for Favourite Handmade Textiles in the inaugural Poppytalk Awards, The Poppies... and Flower Press is included!! Woo Hoo!!
I can sincerely say that having my name in that list is prize enough. There are some brilliant people in the running and its a lovely recognition :-)
I'd love it if you feel like voting, and I'd be humbled if it were for me. Don't worry though I'm sure my Mum and my mother-in-law can be convinced to give me their votes, if only we can overcome the technical hurdles ;-)
Recently, via Flightless Boyds blog, I was delighted to discover English wallpaper designer Marthe Armitage. Wow! I am smitten, completely inspired by this wonderful designer who still, in her 70s, prints her own wallpaper from lino cuts. I especially love her botanical designs (of course!). See all her work here. She does do some designs as fabric too.
Seriously, how cool is she?! Her wallpaper design and printing began after art school when she married and had a family. The house they moved to needed work, cracks in the wall needed covering - so she printed her own wallpaper (as you do). This was during the Second World War mind you.
Marthe was featured in the November 2009 issue of Gardens Illustrated (the current issue here in oz) where these pictures come from. I rushed out and bought it yesterday (not that I need an excuse, it is my very favourite mag, I have about a hundred back issues I can't bring myself to throw out!)
Marthe still prints on a press that she's used for 40 years (photo above) but before that used to stand on the blocks :-) She also thinks there should be more shows about sewing and making things. She thinks "it's terrible that people aren't taught these things any more."
But I especially love this quote from Marthe: "Pattern has an abstract quality - it hits you in a way you don't quite understand, I can't tell you why it moves me but it does. It's like music, in a way".
In the last week I've seen my name appear on three lists, and each time my heart has leapt!
It started the other day with a post that Margaret from Konstant Kaos wrote about Australian Textile Designers. She was encouraging us all to buy Australian fabric on Australia Day (January 26th for non-oz readers) - what a great idea (I'm thinking free shipping for Australia on the day?). She included my name in her list of amazing textile designers, people I have admired for so long! So seeing my name in their company is literally a dream come true.
Then yesterday I noticed some blog traffic coming from Moopy and Me, the blog of softie designer and Umbrella Prints textiler Carly Schwerdt. I went and had a look and saw she has compiled a list of Tea Towel designers, again a really great and clever list (love those Lush ladies!). She also talks about her Flower Press tea towel and how... but hey, you better go and read it yourself!
Last night, the cream on the cake came when I went to see (and vote for) some of my mates on Poppytalk's indie designer and crafter Oscars - The Poppies. What a great idea this is, honouring some of the amazing artists out there. Jan and Earl are such fantastic promoters of indie talent and small business. And then I was scrolling through the comments in the Favourite Handmade Textiles section, when I saw my name, wow! It might seem a little thing - but to me it really marks such an important achievement.
The categories are all being voted on this week. I'm not sure if I'll be included when the final vote is up (I promise I'll tell you) but you can go and vote now for Handmade Ceramics, Crafters or Accessories. I did but, oh dear - so hard to choose! Even better you can see the voting as it happens, and find some great new sites!
Anyway, quite enough blowing of my own horn, just had to share it all with you guys :-)
Clever Aunty Gin bought little A the most beautiful book for her birthday. It's called Faerie-ality Style and contains the most exquisite images of fairy furniture and clothes made from flowers. I'd never seen this book before, its just lovely. You can see some more of this and David Ellwand's other book Faerie-ality at this website.
Looking around blogland it seems many crafters have hit 2010 running and I'm feeling very slack already. Its lovely to see so much inspiring stuff happening so soon in the year and I'm enjoying getting caught up on it/in it all, after a week away from the computer.
As for me I'm heavily into post holiday mode - I have no energy for practical things and I'm floating vaguely round the house, stepping round the piles of washing and half unpacked suitcases, writing to do lists in my head.
Little A turns 12 tomorrow today! Luckily I bought all her presents before I left so I'm ready despite my lethargy. We bought her high school uniform yesterday and she looks most grown up in it. That brick on the head isn't working!
Our annual camping week at the beach was great, as always, though our tent flooded halfway through in a big storm! That was quite a challenge and required some lateral thinking (and a brief moment of despair)! It led me to my new invention - the car-dryer. To use put damp camping mattresses in the car with all windows up, then turn the heater on for ten minutes every hour until dry, leaving them to sit in between. Thank heavens it worked a treat, I think you could use it for clothes and towels - though we went to the laundromat for the quick fix.
But I'm sure all of you snowed under in the Northern Hemisphere don't want to hear about the swimming and boating and fishing and camp cocktails. The fresh barbecued squid we ate, the perfect days of lying on the beach staring out to sea...
Anyway, I'm back now and full of things to share. More tomorrow! Here are some photos for you of roadstop wildflowers. I can laugh now but just imagine all the other travellers sneaking bemused looks at me out the corner of their eyes as I crouch down in the roadside weeds at the rest stop with my macro lens!
Well I'm late with this mosaic - but what a year 2009 turned out to be!
This year I made my first quilt, expanded the designs and colours in my tea towel range, made a new gocco print, did lots of knitting and designed my first yardage print! In between there was more of the usual - cooking, embroidery, gardening and sewing. The start of the year is such a great time to take stock and plan for the future, I'm mentally writing a wish list of projects for 2010 which includes sewing clothes, producing a letterpress print, papercutting... And I definitely want to produce some more yardage! I'd also like to draw more and I think I'll start posting some of it on here, to keep me motivated.
Oh dear, I didn't get around to my look back at 2009, I haven't found the time to sit down and write, and the laptop battery is slowly dying. I do miss my blogging life though so I will be back soon, we'll be home later this week for a few days. I still want to record the past year and its inspirations and creations and share my plans for 2010!
In the meantime we saw a baby playtpus in the creek, the kids have hosted an art exhibition with all their pictures, a friend came to stay with her horse and we've all been riding. We went to the beach and swam, had lunch at friends, sang songs and played games. There was a small concert and lots of laughs, and a few tears.
The other day I made my first pavlova to take to lunch (thank you Donna Hay). What a perfect summer dessert it is covered in cream and fruit, mangos, blueberries, strawberries, passionfruit! Next time I must stop long enough to take a photo!
In all a perfect Christmas, although perhaps our last at this magic place - so it's bittersweet. I'm reinspired by my lovely family, and reminded of the things that count. And that is what I find each year at this time which renews and restores me :-)
I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and wish you all a wonderful New Year!