Monday, 24 December 2012

As the year draws to a close...

... I want to thank you dear readers, who have taken the time to visit my blog since I started in September.

It has been wonderful getting to know some of you through your comments, which I appreciate so much. And to those who like to read, but have yet to comment... please do. Don't be shy. I love to read your feedback, and I reply as soon as I can :)

I have met many dear souls in blogland - each and every one of you is special. I hope we continue the conversations and endeavour to support each other throughout 2013 and beyond.

Now, before I go, I'd like to take you night-time window shopping on the mountain. It's the best time to 'shop'. I can enjoy the festivity of prettily decorated windows, minus the hassle of huge crowds and without the temptation to my wallet - although these days, I have to admit, there's not a lot that I truly feel tempted to buy.

It's just a peaceful time to drive the dark forested roads and enjoy a cool night walk in these pretty towns. Lets go...

And although these guys aren't on the mountain, I added them in - just because :)

Wishing you all peace and joy with your loved ones this season...

keep them close and hug them tight.
Wherever you are, near and far,
 may all be calm and all be bright.

Stay safe.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The end of the year and...

... the end of the world. Apparently.

Well, the last of Christmas markets for me this year has come and gone. We really were blessed with fine, balmy weather and good attendances for all of them.

I like the end-of-year markets. Everyone is usually in fine spirits and in full anticipation of a “good day”. And, I always get to meet some wonderful people - stall holders and customers. I am always impressed with the high standard of quality artwork created by the artists - especially at the charming Makers Markets in the Abbotsford Convent.

During the 19th and early 20th century, the sixteen acre site at Abbotsford was occupied by one of the largest convents in Victoria, and provided refuge, accommodation, schooling and work for vulnerable women and female orphans. Today, the grounds and historic buildings encompass a lively arts and cultural community.
The vibe at the convent is fabulous and I feel very fortunate to be able to attend these markets.

Once my stall was set up, I took a ramble around the grounds to snap a few pics before the crowds arrived.

Ahhh, the sun's finally out and shining on a pretty day


All set up nice and early, only two things missing, price tags/labels and… customers!

I had enough pieces in reserve kept within the suitcase to keep my stall topped up until the late afternoon. By the end, nearly everything was sold. I am so grateful to my customers. Many whose faces are familiar from last Christmas, and they in turn were happy to see me and buy more ornaments to add to their collection. Even one lovely girl brought a photo to show me of her huge tree, named ‘Doug’ (a beautiful Douglas Fir), with last years ornaments adorning him!
Clocks, jewellery and magnets were also popular purchases throughout the day. 

The day ended with many “Merry Christmas” call-outs to each other as, tired but happy, we stallholders dismantled and carried our assorted displays to our cars.

I think this fine fellow silently spoke for us all as he sat, weary and worn, waiting for his ride home.

Some of you will remember my post about the magical lake at the bottom of the Alfred Nicholas Gardens in Sherbrooke Forest and, the little boathouse tucked secretly away at the end of the lake... weekend-walks

So, of course, my eye was immediately drawn to the market stall opposite mine. There, sitting among other beautifully rendered photos, was a delightful image of the little boathouse.

When it rains, or when heavy, fat dew drops fall from ferny fronds, the serene lake is shattered by thousands of tiny sparkling diamonds dancing upon the surface.
Here in front of me, captured forever, was such a moment. A magical moment indeed.

Image with kind permission from Carly Elizabeth
I was very pleased to meet Carly Elizabeth. A Melbourne based photographer with a true artist's eye for creating abstract and landscape artworks through her camera lens.
Carly Elizabeth's clever seaside, urban and country perspectives are unique, eye-catching and endearing.
Her premium quality prints and cards are limited editions and are very well worth the investment. 

I was tempted to, and did, buy these lovely cards. How could I resist the one in the middle?

I was also taken with this unusual little wispy Christmas tree - a trick of the light, a sleight of hand, a very clever effect.


I like Carly Elizabeth’s blog post and ethic on “shop for the story, not the sale” found here - shop for the story

It is lovely to get a little background on items you buy direct from the artist. To take the time to pause and engage in friendly banter and hear an often charming tale about your chosen piece. 

Carly Elizabeth has created this on-line sign for people to use when encouraging others to buy hand-made...

You can see more of Carly Elizabeth's stunning photography at
As for the wee boathouse? This is a great opportunity to purchase a little piece of the magic while the prints and cards are still available. You won't be disappointed.

And so, the work/school/market year comes to a close. And as the dark sky fell over the city on 21/12/2012, my boys and I spent the night at the movies.

Here's to a (hopefully) bright beginning at the end of the world for us all. Cheers!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Payne's Grey watercolour skies

Payne's grey:
a dark blue-grey pigment/colour used in painting.

Saturday was one of those hot, humid, hazy early summer days that ended in a rapid drop in temperature. The afternoon sky became heavy and distant growls promised a shower to cool the on-coming evening.

With the flurry of next-day market preparations over, hubby suggested a picnic tea in one of our favourite parks.
Something so simple just makes everything seem, and taste, so good – and was very welcome.
Spontaneous moments.

To top it all off, wondrously dark grey clouds began to glower overhead, drawing a swelling, swirling, charcoal veil over the dusk blue sky. 

There’s something about clouds. I love them. Amorphous, wispy, billowy, celestial marshmallows.

They can portend storms, herald a cool change and give our inner child the chance to dream awhile as we gaze up at them, imagining shapes and making up stories from their ever-changing forms. Yes, I’m such a dreamer :)

And, fair weather cumulus clouds are a landscape artist’s ideal, lending charm, character and atmosphere to their work.

These photos were taken just before 9pm as we took a final walk around the grounds. Apologies for the rather grainy photos – I forgot to put my camera on night setting.

a portal peering through to the twilight blue 

 here, I imagined a large, leaden zeppelin looming ominously overhead

taken from the car on the way home

  star light, star bright, first star I see tonight…

Things have a way of happening fortuitously sometimes. The next day, I found my stall site was next to an artist who paints wonderful watercolours.

Vivienne Hayes artwork is inspired by the beauty of her homeland, New Zealand, and the suburban streetscapes around Melbourne, where she now calls home.

The interesting perspectives on her everyday scenes, juxtaposed with her trademark clouds, capture micro-moments in time forever.
Vivienne takes the often mundane, well weathered and worn and makes them even more beautiful through her painterly eyes.

I was particularly drawn to the concertina cards, which she calls her “cloud street” series. These are one-of-a-kind, hand painted originals, and each one is only 7cm x 7cm.

marvellous miniature masterpieces
photo with kind permission from Vivienne Hayes

and, I am now the proud owner of this series
my photo
The natural beauty of her skies and the linear, often architectural, man-made elements, compliment each other so well. They are painted in such a way that neither dominate the scene. Allowing appreciation of both without distraction.

And, who wouldn’t like a set of Christmas cards with simply lovely, subtle, ethereal trees such as this?

photo with kind permission from Vivienne Hayes

I’m hoping Vivienne will bring out printed sets for next year.

If you’d like to see more of Vivienne’s work, please check out her blog a

And so, I have to bring my own head down from the clouds and prepare. I have just been notified that there is a vacancy for a stall at the final Christmas markets next Sunday and have put my hand up for it!  No rest for me :)

Bye for now, see you with some of my market pics next post!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Visitors in the lull

My last market stall for the year is this weekend. In between unloading the kiln, packing my huge trusty market basket, packaging, pinning and preparing, I went out to say hello to some regular visitors.

They are always a cheery sight and make me smile with delight when they gather 'round.

We usually have many more. But, it's chilly here today and I think the rest of the clan are out foraging in the forest. I can hear them in the distance, singing and chirping away as the Kookaburras laugh alongside them.

So, I thought I'd take a few snaps and introduce you to the feathered few...

This little pair of Rainbow Lorikeets are the smallest, yet they chatter loudly and are incredibly bossy. Wearing their beautiful plumage with confidence and alacrity, they are endearing little clowns.

When we moved here, beautiful King Parrots were the first to welcome us with their friendly dispositions and sweet, gentle natures. I have a very soft spot for them.

Here, waiting in the wings (sorry, bad pun I know), is a wee Crimson Rosella. They will trill and call from the trees throughout the day, as shots of brilliant red and purple-blue blur past my studio window.

A ghostly apparition in the rafters - a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. They are big, handsome, intelligent and very mischievous. And, did I say LOUD! We try not to encourage them in numbers as they can be very destructive too. But, oh, they are lovely to look at.

And introducing, Mrs Maggie.
Since we have known her, she has raised two generations. Last year, she had two babies to nurture and fuss over. And this year, she has three ever demanding youngsters to feed and show the ways of the magpie world.

Her most dependent fledgling. The other two are off with Dad somewhere in the neighbourhood - never too far away though.
When they grow older, and learn their songs, they will regale us with their wonderfully distinctive chorus. And, when the whole family gather for a session, it really is most impressive!

And so, it's time to say cheerio to my feathered friends and head back to the studio. There is still much to do - and, I've run out of ribbon for the ornaments!!

Bye for now