Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Turn the page

We moved back to Sydney in August, fulling anticipating returning to Rarotonga with revived purpose and enthusiasm, but after a week of being home we realised that this might be more than a two week break.
The next week rolled by and still no word.

Then it was three weeks and things weren't looking so good.

We've now been home for over a month. Having completed the term of the contract we decided to cut our losses, and our stresses and move on to something new.
Our bed is our mattress on the floor of my parents living room (what used to be part of our living space when we were paying residents) and slowly all the things that I had packed away in the cupboard when we moved out (it was like 3D tetris) is making its way out.

Life goes on, Gabriel has been sick pretty much since we came back, and currently has the chicken pox.
He has new teeth though. Kyle had his birthday which just happened to fall on his first Father's Day, a very cool thing.

I'm excited to get started on whatever starts next for us.
For me thats been a fresh start at being an 'artist' and discovering what that word really means for me. I have a new blog so you can follow how its all going ( and will be opening a new etsy store next month.
For Kyle its meant applying for jobs. Lots of jobs.

In the mean time, we'll enjoy watching the Rugby World Cup on my parents huge TV, which we sleep at the feet of.

Gabriel: My 1st Rugby World Cup. (Wrestling a wooden snake)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The trade off.

Work here is actually pretty stressful. For the first few weeks of being here we saw more of the inside of our cluttered and air conditioned office than we did of the sun or sand.

Fed up with it, we started a tradition of dragging the family out to have a swim in the lagoon every evening possible... well... its my tradition... I just drag everyone out with me.

The first day we actually got out for a swim we caught the sunset.

It makes the stress worth it.

Gabriel loves to swim. 

Apparently its common practice for Fijian mothers to give their babies cold showers or baths so that they will sleep well, and become strong.     
Gabriel's Fijian mama Resina
Thanks to his babysitter Resina, "Gabey" gets exposed to this particular tradition daily and as such he has a tendency to fall asleep whenever we take him out for a paddle in the sea. But he really does love to swim.

Monday, 18 July 2011


It's been a long time coming - we've been in Raro for 6 or so weeks now, and I never seem to have time to write a blog. But here I am now. A little bit tanner, scarred itchy bite marks all over my legs but enjoying the location.

I will attempt to get my blog on more often.

It probably wasn't an original idea when they did it in 'Yes Man', but I will credit Zooey Deschanel with my recent jogging photos.

Last week I started taking evening runs/walks/jogs through the backstreets of Rarotonga. Baby gets to spend quality time with his dad and I get to spend quality time with me! Win win.

paw paw

I don't like running. Or jogging. But I do like Raro, and while I'm certainly not going to be getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the streets like Ms Deschanel, the evening is lovely here and just perfect for going for an exercise.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Huge image dump

It's unfortunate that sometimes it takes external or environmental changes to motivate us to change, to act on plans. For me, I have noticed that this is a consistent fault.

It's a frustrating things. It would be great if I could find enough motivation within myself to get things done when I wanted them done instead of when I absolutely needed them done.  Certainly something for me to work on...

In the mean time. Kyle and I have taken a three month contract to work in the Cook Islands. As such I will be setting aside my vulpine craftiness in favour of my far less blog-worthy administration skill set.
Before we go (at the end of this month) I would like to sell the art that I have sitting around, that I produced  with the full intention of selling... and yet never really bothered to market very hard.

So. At around half price (give or take), here is everything displayed below. There are limited numbers of prints and obviously only one of each painting and book so make sure that you get in quick if you want anything. Last mail out will be on Friday 27th May (as we leave not long after that) There are other postage costs for original paintings so message me for details.

A4 prints. $8 Free postage within Australia 
Tree print (2nd one) SOLD OUT

A4 (blue print is slightly smaller) $8. Free postage within Australia
First image (Red & Blue fish) SOLD OUT 

A4 Print. $8

A4 print. $6 Free postage within Australia

Lino prints of various sizes (all A5 or smaller) $8 Free postage within Australia 
Waves (2nd image) SOLD OUT


There are several other lino prints that I can't find the jpegs for which are on my facebook. The couple under the tree $8(with no coloured leaves) and the A4 tree, with ($12) and without leaves ($10).

Approx A5 Ink and Watercolour. Signed (signature edited out of this scan) $12

this painting is SMALL (smaller than A5) $8 acrylic on canvas

A3 mixed media on illustration board. Watercolour paints, pencils and acrylic paint. $20

A3 mixed media. Watercolour, pencil on illustration board. $20

A3  Mixed media. Watercolour, pencil, acrylic paint on illustration board. $20

A3 mixed media. Watercolour, ink, pencil, acrylic paint on illustration board. $20

A3 Mixed media. Watercolour, ink, ballpoint and graphite on illustration board. $20

Warhammer inspired acrylic paintings $30 each. (10"x20")

Acrylic on canvas, with sharpie to draw the ribbons and paper cut out butterflies. 
45 x 60 cm (roughly 18" x 24") $50

A4 mixed media. Ink, pencil, coloured pencil, acrylic paint on paper. $12
Huge lotus acrylic painting. $80 I don't know the dimensions at the moment. Won't be able to post it though so pick up only. 

Fighting. 3x2ft $70 Pick up only.

Reminds me a bit of some quilting fabrics mum has. 
24"x24" canvas, painted with artists acrylics. $60

Its basically just what it looks like, a pink flower.
Painted with acrylics on canvas, edges are also fully painted see how diligent I am? $60

Berry thingos. 18x36. acrylic Pick up only. $50

Along with the ones sold here, (the black one and the orange themed one) there are also these two. All are now $20. (excuse the budge photos)
Blue theme. Cream coloured paper. Fabric covered $20

An earlier book. Purple/pink/grey themes. White paper. $20

Email me. Facebook me. Or just call me if you have my number.

For those who wanted to actually see how to stab bind a book, never fear. I will finish that blog! I will also keep everyone up to date on how things are going.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Stab bound Album: part one.

I'm going to be honest here. Much of the craft that appears online for sale and even in shops you are perfectly capable of doing yourself. Not just 'oh anyone could do that' but more specifically YOU. Maybe you don't think you're a very crafty person or very creative, but you're you which is different from anyone else, meaning that as long as you make things that are "you" they'll be unique and wonderful...

... alternatively there is a wealth of inspiration online, in books and magazines, and in shops which, (so long as you aren't going to gain profit by going into mass production of the things) you can just recreate.

While it appears (and probably is) rather detrimental to my own purposes (ie. selling the things that I make to you) I am going to attempt to show you how I do some things so that you can do them too. A lot of the craft and art that I come up with I bodge together from ideas and techniques I glean from my internet trauling and picking through mum's craft books. In fact I blame nearly all of my foxy craftiness on my mum. As I wrote this I gained a great appreciation for people who write clear and easy to understand instructions as it can be tricky to explain some things in words. But enough excuses! Onwards!

So... Stab binding.
It's called Japanese binding by a lot of people, but as the Japanese used MANY traditional binding methods and this one was actually first used by the Chinese (I think) so its probably more appropriate or accurate to call it 'Stab binding'

Recently I have used this technique to make a wedding present album for a friend and her husband in NZ and just last weekend a Mother's day present for mum.

I've split the tutorial into two parts so its not too long, first up, the part which is the most time consuming... the cover.
Fortunately, after too long being monopolised by the stereotype of the 'craft woman' needlecraft is making a comeback. I've never been very good at keeping to patterns so I imagine I'll be terrible at making them. You don't need one anyway, this is the part of the whole thing that is supposed to be "you" (whatever that is)

These are the stitches I use most often.

Back stitch
At 'A' bring the needle to the front and stitch back to 'B' (its called backstitching because you always kind of loop back) Bring the needle back to the front of the fabric at point 'C' and then back to 'A'
Then at 'D' bring the needle to the front, and back at 'C' and so on.
I don't actually do it this way because I am a cheater and I like saving tiny amounts of thread by taking shortcuts, but this is how its supposed to go.

Blanket stitch
From the back of the fabric you bring the needle forward at 'A' then from front to back at 'B' bringing the needle to the front at 'C' keeping the thread under the needle point. The stitches can be as close together or as far apart as you like.
This stitch is good for sewing applique on for your designs.

Chain stitch
Pick a starting point 'A' and bring your needle to the front of the fabric. Insert it again at the same place and bring the point out again at 'B' keeping the thread under the needle point. Continue like this until you're done, and when you are just anchor your last loop with a normal straight stitch.

There's lots of other stitches you can use and there are some wonderful online resources to help you learn them. This one is amazing, if my meager instructions are not clear enough I guarantee Sarah will have a much better explanation. And she does pictures... good ones. (Unlike mine)

All you need to do is cut out your fabric and get stitching. I have used linen. Make sure that you have at least two extra inches on every side. I'm making an A5 album so I just measure it against a piece of paper that size, pretty easy and no 'real' measurements involved.
Then just design your cover and stitch it up!

I make up pictures off the top of my head generally and as you can see, simple is good. Obviously I have a fondness for trees which you make by cutting out a rough circle the size that you want and blanket stitching it in place. Vliesofix makes it much easier to keep flat but I did mine freehand... and its not super flat, but I'm not worried about that. 
The trunk is chain stitch then the branches are backstitch. The fruit or flowers on the trees (the dots) are french knots. The leaves are cut out of felt and straight stitched in place... the grass is just scattered straight stitch too. 

on etsy

from plumpudding
from flickr

If you want a paper cover thats fine too... but you just have to wait till next time for me to explain how the binding paper parts go. 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Mums the word

Clearly, this is late. I have been having some issues with blogger so I apologise for the delay. The sentiment, however, remains entirely true and I hope that everyone is grateful for their mothers every day.

look at our ghetto TV aerial
Sunday was my first mothers day and while it was essentially a day like any other, it gave me a chance to think back over how much my life and indeed myself has changed over the passed seven months. Gratefully Gabriel slept from 1-7, which was a surprising and very awesome gift followed by other awesomeness from my own wonderful mother who made sure that my sister and I did not get left out as our children are too little to put in that kind of effort. I stayed up late and got up early so that I could finish an album I made for her, there will be a tutorial on it later in the week...

For me, the greatest change that I have noticed since becoming a mother seven months ago is the seemingly infinite expansion of my capacity to love. Mums may run short on patience with their children, and probably money... but never love. I asked some friends who are mums to share their thoughts in an effort to keep the day from being too cliche or materialistic. This is what they said.

What I think is so wonderful about motherhood is how it makes the mother, but it makes her slowly, so she hardly sees the process, the becoming. We're not asked to do everything all at once, slowly we're eased into pregnancy and learn care and connection. Birth and bonding make for the nature of nurture and fierce protection. Gradually, as baby becomes child, we're eased through a process of change. If I could call that young woman on the cusp of motherhood, and just chat with her on the phone I would say. It will all happen so fast, enjoy every day, never wish one away. You will find so much happiness just being with their kids - encourage their quiet sense of humours, catch them serving, surround yourself with women you admire. Most of all have the courage to admit you made a mistake and be the moral touchstone for your new flock. Smile more. Be grateful and express your gratitude for all the abundance of love your husband has for this new family. Record the little things, take photos of the every day before it changes. Enjoy all the rich association extended family will give to your children. Make sure you sing, you have adventures, and make things as least busy as you can on any given day. Motherhood is long and exhausting and real hard work, but it's great to go to bed tired and happy, and know you are raising awesome funny little people.

Carli (who has a beautiful blog full of photos of her awesome funny little people)

Well, I would tell my younger self that you don't need to teach them to obey the word 'no' at one year of age; that it is really important to eat well and look after yourself so you're not forced to give up breastfeeding at 12 weeks, especially when you enjoy it so much; to marry a man you want your children to be like when they grow up; that letting them watch M rated stuff at 9 yrs old was stupid; that you did a great job of being patient when things went wrong and remembering always that they were more important than material things or spilt things; that letting them make little decisions and live with the little consequences needs to start really really early so they know how it works when they get to the big ones; that all the moments of joy would make up for the angst; to really enjoy the times they wanted to be with you and tell you everything, it wouldn't last forever; that you will never actually know if you're doing it right, just keep praying and do the best you can; that through loving them and stretching yourself beyond what you thought possible you will come to love yourself so much more; that it is vital to set the boundaries on technology and teenage stuff BEFORE they become teenagers cos it will be a huge battle to set them later; that the more you react, the less they will want to tell you; that living the council of the prophets is so important because if they go down a different path at least you will know you did all you could; NOT to change schools for them so often, they need stability; that letting them live with a healthy and happy marriage is the best life experience ever....just try to make it the first marriage!

I don't think it gets harder as they get older, it gets different. Your physical demands become more emotional and although it is ultra scary to let them make their own decisions it is also an exercise in trust...not trust that they will always choose well but that HFather loves them as much as you and that you have given them a strong foundation and that they will work it out if you keep loving them to bits.


Within hours of giving birth I found myself ‘wounded’ and alone, yet filled with a sense of strength I had no idea I could yield. 
By the late afternoon we were approved for discharge from the Hospital and transferred to the luxury of the Birthing Centre.
Although I couldn’t tell you an exact time when it happened or of a poignant moment that had occurred, by this stage I was slipping fast and deeply in love.
Second cousins meeting via the computer :P
I wish someone had mentioned about the Intense, emotional, unconditional and overwhelming sense of love that is felt for your Child.  I recall thinking:  Why didn’t anyone tell me becoming a Mother leaves such an emotional wound so raw and vulnerable?  I wish I had been warned that the joy we feel is so real and so close that it hurts.  That the whirl of emotions buzzing around feels too much for one human vessel to contain. 
By Day 3 I have a completely new definition for LOVE.  We know love goes hand in hand with ‘becoming a Mother’ – albeit for some, hours after the initial crowning of the new calling.  I knew I would love my Son but had no idea of the extreme level of love it would be. When I drove my Son home for the first time I had a new outlook of the big wide world, I was scared of what it would do to my Son, and the usual 3 minute drive from the Birth Centre to our Home took at least fifteen.  A new level of cautiousness kicked in. This Love was so beautiful yet surprisingly daunting.  I quickly learn that there is no wordily description to sum up the Love for your Child and no way could it’ve been added to a ‘LIST’.
Becoming a Mother can be looked at from so many different perspectives. One that has always stuck out to me is this LOVE that is involved. The word ‘love’ does no justice, there should be a word above ‘love’ that describes it to its fullness, but the only way to understand this love completely is to become a Mother yourself.  To say becoming a Mother has completed me sounds cliché but it’s absolutely true.  Today I think my Son is a beautifully stunning masterpiece I have been entrusted. Whom I still can’t comprehend is my Son.

Anneke (my beautiful and very talented cousin, wish I could have shared everything she wrote, it was so good!)

  If I'm totally honest it still feels surreal to me that I'm a mother. I look at my baby and I can't believe she's MINE! Having said that, I miss her when I'm not with her (which at this stage has only been for short periods of time) and now I cannot imagine life without her. I have truly loved being a mom and a lot of the transition to this new role has happened naturally and instinctively. Perhaps that is why it feels surreal. However, some of the adjustments have been difficult and certain aspects of being a mom are really hard!

This past weekend I had someone tell me that I looked radiant and happy and that motherhood suited me. :) It was one of the nicest things anyone has said. It made me happy to know that people can see that I enjoy being a mom and that I absolutely love it! Yes, I worry a lot. Yes, sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility. Yes, I miss uninterrupted sleep and am jealous of my husband who seems to sleep through all of the baby's cries. Yet it is all worth it when my baby looks up at me and gives me the biggest smile and I know she recognizes me and knows who I am. So ultimately it is and has been AMAZING to be a mum!

Anna-Liisa (should move back to Australia!)

coolest way to recycle ever.
Being at home with little ones makes me feel more like the real me than I ever have. I was so relieved at the thought of leaving work to be at home, chill out, hang around and do all the things my mum did for me that made my childhood so happy. Time together, home made food and laughing. BUT It's incredibly hard coming from a corporate job where I got recognition every day for the work I did. I was in control and saw fast results. I got paid well and could work at super speed. What a difference! It's taken me a long time to slow down and enjoy it.
Now, after 4 years of being at home I'm LOVING it. It's taken me ages to adjust and I truly believe that having children is a refining process for us as mothers. I can't think of anything else that has made me want to be better, more consistent and had me re-evaluating myself so often. Also increasing my compassion for other people and seeing that small and simple acts give great long term results.

My boys are bursting with life! With energy, enthusiasm, smiles and creativity that constantly surprise and delight me (Can I add exhausts and frustrates me too!). I love to spend time with them. Free, simple and happy time. Mostly in nature, finding bugs, observing, catching. Swinging in the hammock, having picnics under the trampoline, digging in the garden, walks, bike rides, cuddles. Sitting together to eat. Involving them in service and giving to others. Family time.

I'm not looking forward to when school starts for them. I want them all to myself! Mother's day is important in our house. Motherhood is such a thankless job and one of the best gifts to give a future daughter in law is to teach my boys to love  and appreciate the women in their lives.

Suzi (who also blogs!)

My thought on being a mum is that it's the greatest joy in my life and yet at the same time the greatest challenge.

The love and happiness Tristan brought into my life is indescribable.. there are times though I wish I could be this great person who has this infinite patience and invincible ability to endure when things don't go my way.. it could be frustrating for me sometimes because I am still so far far from being that great person.  I hope all my efforts and experiences of trying would make me that little wiser in the end so I could help my Tristan steer the course of his life a little bit better when he needs me.  

Nicole (I didn't know which photo would be okay so I just got one of Tristan... he's so cute!)

and finally:

"Because we are being constantly exposed to the world's definition of greatness, it is understandable that we might make comparisons between what we are and what others are-or seem to be- and also between what we have and what others have. Although it is true that making comparisons can be beneficial and may motivate us to accomplish much good and to improve our lives, we often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful. Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error and dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness.
 In 1905, President Joseph F Smith made this most profound statement about true greatness: 'Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life' 
After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful statesman"

Howard W Hunter. 1987.