24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Yesterday I bought my first cherries of the season. Cherrries are the most Christamassy of fruit I think. Especially heart shaped cherries.

I have finally, finally tidied up a lot of work and for the first time in ages I can now take a breather. This morning it seems, at last, that the holiday season has begun. Today i'll head into town to finish up my Christmas shopping, while I'm near by I will take a look in The Academy of Fine Arts to see my art hanging there. I'll have coffee with a friend and visit the library. I'll drop off some home-laid-free-range eggs to this years nominated Pavlova maker and then head home to begin preparations for my vegetarian Christmas dish, Tibetan Roast. After that I might pull out some Christmas lights and decorate the window.

Tomorrrow my summer holiday shall begin! Merry Christmas!

I'll be back in January sometime...

02 December 2009


Across the road and down a steep bank, amongst an overgrown garden there blooms an Elder tree. Beautiful, but impossible to reach from above or below. Those little white explosions of scent taunted me as I dreamed of Elderflower Champagne.

Then, oh happy day, amongst a tangle of blackberry, cabbages and chickens, I stumbled upon another Elder tree. Yes!

I plucked some blooms and now have a sweet liquid ready to bottle. I used Jannelle's recipe and will keep the bottles in the shed in case they explode, as apparently can happen.

24 November 2009

Bright Side

I feel the dismal grey sink in through my skin. It tests my spirits, this unfriendly weather. The days of monotonous grey roll on and on with no end in sight. Perhaps it would not have seemed so bad had I not known the glorious easy weather of Australia. Sigh.

Still, The Bright Side throws me little rays of sunshine from time to time.

Bright Sides:

A message received telling me this artwork sold at the North Shore City Art Awards Exhibition (Yay, Thank You)
An evening crafting up a storm with a couple of lovely ladies.
Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie from my Hungry Girls Cookbook
An email accepting my application for a spot at the new Frank Kitts Market (Yay, Thank You)
Unexpecdly receiving a gift voucher for Swonderful
Looking forward to a 'secret weekend' away, planned by my one and only true love Jamie.
Delivering my art to the Acadamy of Fine Arts.

12 November 2009

Sunshine, how I miss you

Im home. Ten days of family, friends, swimming, eating, shopping, lizards, bats, cockatoos, koalas, scrub turkeys, and endless sunshine are over. Vague thoughts of moving to Brisbane are swirling around in my head. The sunshine, the heat, so tempting.

29 October 2009

Finishing Touches

Many years ago a lady sat and sewed. I imagine her unfolding the pattern and laying it out. I almost hear the slight rustling of the new tissue as she worked. Measuring, pinning, checking. Her hands would have been confident and steady as she cut through the aqua fabric. Her sewing machine, a simple, noisy beast, would have whizzed down the seems with speed. Before long the dress would have been finished, ready to wear to that special occasion for which it was made.

About forty years later I sat unpicking this hard work. Today I will put the finishing touches on my new upcycled vintage creation!

I must finish it today, tomorrow I fly up, up and away. Heading off north west on holiday. A wedding in the sunny land of Australia. I am SO looking forward to heat, a constant 30 degrees please (did I mention its raining - again). And, off course, I am looking forward seeing some of my favourite Aussies. Back in ten days - see you then!

19 October 2009


Tomato seedlings soaking in the sun this morning. Ive put them on the window sill inside to keep them nice and cozy.

My dress is hanging above on the curtain rail, sleeveless, but unfinished. I had a thought last week that I could get double duty out of it and wear it to the opera too. This prompted a flurry of unpicking but then when I realised it wouldn't be done in time, it was left neglected hanging above the tomato seedlings.

I found something else to wear to the opera and the show was wonderful. It was particularly wonderful to see my Love Jamie up on stage in the chorus, singing his heart out. His voice gives me chills, in a good way. Tomorrow I have a date with the sewing machine.

09 October 2009


Miss Seymour didn't own these earrings but I'm absolutely certain they would have been just her taste.

Inspired by Janelle, I thought I'd share my latest and most favourite Op Shop finds.

The ear rings I found someplace amongst a pile of other junky gems. These were the only ones I brought home with me, I must have known I would later find a dress to match.

Ive been searching high and low for a dress to wear to a wedding to no avail. I overlooked this one amongst the flotsam and jetsam in one op shop. My little sister fortunately had sharper eyes than I, and pulled it out for me. Sometimes little sisters are really useful. Im thinking of removing the sleeves and adjusting the collar-thing. Opinions anyone? Or should I leave the sleeves?

08 October 2009

A good day

Yesterday the little patch of blue in the sky grew and grew. It grew so wide the clouds were pressed to the horizon.

I did some art but also decided to spend a little time outside to make the most of the sun. I whizzed up the most delicious smoothie (Greek yoghurt, banana, kiwifruit and apple juice) and sat out at my picnic table amongst the trees and rambling weeds, my own little jungle.

Later I made some teepees in preparation for peas I will plant.

A good day.

07 October 2009

Wednesday morning

Last week the sunshine and the orange blanket on my bed set the room aglow with warmth. Today there is no glow.

Spring has regressed. I sit here this morning looking out to a dull grey world. I feel the icy chill pressing at the windows. The hills to the north have evaporated into nothingness, as has the harbor. At the nearest edge of the water though, through the murk of mist, I see a little red tug heroically guiding a container ship out. Its the Maersk Radford, heading to Nelson. What could be on board I wonder?

I will keep myself tucked inside today and put some time towards my art. The mixed media process I am using involves many layers and much patience.

Right now I'm off to the kitchen to knead some bread for the oven. I see a blue patch in the sky to the west, the sun is rushing through and its heading my way.

29 September 2009

Tuesday Morning

Last week's blossoms, blown away in this week's wind.

Things, (the things that make up a life), all seem a bit tenuous these last few days. Not sure why.

I need a good full day of creativity I think. I'm assigning myself an Art Only day. And perhaps a walk. And maybe I'll treat myself to a hot chocolate at that new cafe up the road.

25 September 2009

First Inspiration

Im not sure what my original intention was when I picked up this old record at the opp shop. When I arrived home I noticed something I hadn't before, written in the top left corner, an inscription. In November 1955 Chris sat down to write a note to his friend Kate, and that is all we can be sure of.

London 10/11/1955


With loving thanks for all your kindness, the tons of toast & gallons of coffee which we enjoyed in No. 10. We meet again.


I can't help wondering if it was the number 10. Anyway, after discovering this inscription several years ago I became fascinated with little fragments of other peoples lives and the mysteries that get left behind once they have moved on.

It seems I'm not alone, i was happy to discover the book inscriptions project via Sara - fascinating reading :)

24 September 2009

Last season's

A still morning, no wind, no sun, no noise. Its one of those mysterious un-weather days. Kind of like an unbirthday, which co-incidentally it is today too.

Walking home from town the other day I spied a cape gooseberry bush. Im sure these fruit must ripen in the autumn so these must be left over from last season. I didnt think anyone would mind, so I discretely hopped a fence to gather these little lanterns from beneath the bush. I also found this remnant from last seasons Pohutukawa. These little trinkets will be tucked away carefully until one day when I dedide they are just what I need for an art work.

I have been working on some other art things. Progress is slow. I seem to work like that. At first it seems as if all my effort is dissipating into thin air with nothing to show for it. Just a partly prepared surface, various separate, half finished elements, dirty paint brushes and a pile of rubbish to tidy. No masterpiece.

I become a little despondent at my lack of progress. My doubts arise to taunt me. That little critic comes out to remind me of how much I haven't achieved.

But, a-ha(!) I have a little song to hum:
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate...
And there always is a new road. Must remember this.

22 September 2009

Good Things

Good things:

A rickety old deck chair tucked into a private spot in the garden.
The sensation of my body defrosting after winter in the warm spring sunshine.
A stack of pre-loved magazines, passed on by a friend.
Tui swooping, Piwakawaka flitting, Kaka squawking.
Fresh spring water with a twist of lemon.
Seedlings sprouting.
A cheque in the mail for art sold (Thank You Universe).
A weekend lunch to plan - im thinking little sandwiches served on little plates.
And the sweetest bunch of flowers from Mum's garden.

17 September 2009


A soft blue sky and mellow sunshine drew me out 'exploring' this morning. Before too long my explorations were rewarded with the discovery of a narrow track through the bush. The track was edged with young fernlike plants, all fresh and shiny. Some of them unfurling happily as if after a restful sleep. The track led me winding down the hill under a canopy of green and eventually ejected me on the edge of town.

16 September 2009


An image from the 'archives' today.

An image of sorrow, of stillness, acceptance, pain, tenderness, heartache, emptiness, beauty, love, eternity, longing and a thousand other things that there are no words for.

I move in an ocean as smooth and dark as a mirror at night. The cool water carries me. The tide ebbs and flows and all I can do is float with it. Surrender my sadness and allow myself to be suspend in its sorrowful embrace. An embrace both heartbreaking and healing at once.

I am healing. There has been sadness these last few days. My heart has been broken and yet it still beats on. Life is like that I think.

Tonight I'll take strength in my Love's kind eyes, I'll smile in conversation with a friend, I'll take a walk at twilight and savor the bird's last tunes for the day. I'll do it all again tomorrow too.

10 September 2009

Afternoon Tea

I'm sure many a story and a few good bits of gossip have been revealed over these old plates. Little cucumber sandwiches would have been eaten delicately while happy and sad news was exchanged. Home baked Afghan biscuits would have been savoured, crumbs carefully caught and dusted back onto the floral porcelain.

I've been collecting up old mismatched plates for a while now. I'll make several of these cake stands and add my own story to their history when they are used at my wedding in the not too distant future. Looking forward to that.

In a few short hours my True Love and I will be driving off into the sunset (no, not to elope), heading for the beach. Ive been counting down the days with anticipation, waiting for the time when I can escape and do nothing for a few days.

Of course I don't actually mean do nothing. I'll be packing up some art supplies. I have some goals... but more on them later.

03 September 2009


On Monday I told myself if, and only if, I was very diligent in my work this week, I would be rewarded with a trip to the book fair on the weekend. Sometimes a little reward can motivate you to go a long way. I'll head straight for the old book section and make my selection aesthetically.

01 September 2009


After listening to 'This Way Up' a few weeks ago I was inspired to do some food foraging myself. I did some double checking to make sure I wasn't going to poison myself and then headed outside on a mission. Im not sure if you can really call it foraging when all you do is step outside your door and find the nearest patch of weeds only a few steps away, but oh well.

I gathered Chickweed, Onionweed and Nasturtium along with a bunch of 'official' herbs and lettuce leaves from the garden and enjoyed a fresh spring salad. The remaining onionweed flowers looked sweet in a little glass. I shall never buy spring onions again.

28 August 2009


I stumbled upon a child's book of stamp collecting on the same day as I discovered the illustrated botanical books. It came home with me too.

At home I tipped out my stash of stamps from an ancient brown paper bag. The bag has been home to this pile of stamps since before I can remember, it is so crinkled and soft it now feels like flannelette.

Most of them were collected by my Dad. I think I started adding to it (sporadically) at about age 12. They have never been ordered, catalogued or arranged into an album. The brown paper bag of stamps has always been more like a button jar. Sometimes you spill out all the stamps and arrange them into little groups; by colour, by country, my motif, you admire their details, and then you gently pack them away again until the next time.

27 August 2009

Vintage Karo

I spied these two old botanical books among a line of ill ordered volumes at one of my local op shops. I pulled them out of their rows with anticipation and I was not disappointed. Inside colourful illustrations fill the pages. I even identified a native plant that I have wondered about for a while now. Karo.

It seems one of the books was once the property of Fresno County Free Library, which I googled to discover is far away in California. How did this little book make its way around the world to end up in my hands? There must be an interesting story there....

20 August 2009


The sun is out. I think today is a good day to ignore all the boring things I should do and instead spend some time at my freshly cleared art table. A clear table is kind of like a blank page, so lovely and satisfying as it is that you almost don't want to mess it up, but also full of potential for so much more.

I'll slide the table into the sun in front of the big window and enjoy the warmth as I plan and create. I never really seem to know what I am going to do until I do it, but Ive assembled some little things to help open the flood gates of creativity. Inspired of course by the master of assemblage, Joseph Cornell.

18 August 2009

Art Love

"Bloom Forth" Flora S Bowley

Imagine slipping into a dream of a magical landscape. A landscape filled with all manner of familiar forms from nature, yet so different to anyplace you've ever been. There's a kind of hum in the air from the energy of it all.

"Heartlight" Flora S Bowley

I discovered the work of Flora S Bowley via a post by Kelly Rae Roberts. I am seduced by this celebration of colour and nature. I really cant decide which piece is my favourite. They all seem to sing their own little songs to me.

"Blue Linum" Flora S Bowley

Check out her special projects. If only I could afford to fly her to this side of the world and commission a wedding painting...

All images in this post are copyright Flora S Bowley and used here with permission.

17 August 2009


Grey skies on a Monday, sigh. I'm consolated though by the little sprig of sunshine I picked the other day. The recent spring like weather inspired me to go ambling down some new and unexplored streets around here. It was on one of these little jaunts that I came across a Wattle in full bloom. The powdery, summery scent transports me immediately to age nine, walking past a row of these trees on my way to and from primary school.

After work today I plan to finish a little spring cleaning and create some space (both physivcally and mentally) for my creativity. Looking forward to that.

12 August 2009


Im trying to hold on to my creative flow amongst a pile of disruption this week. Things feel all rearranged and disheveled. Because they are; carpet being pulled up, concrete pouring, paint being scrapped… Im not sure where to go or what to do, but anyway, I carry on.

Amongst the mild chaos I created a little alter to peacefulness. I brought the Daphne in from the doorstep. Its sweet scent seeps from delicate pink petals. A sumptuous aroma has settled upon the air. With any slight disturbance the air currents sweep it up, swirling and whirling the fragrance around the room. Loveliness.

31 July 2009


I'm all abuzz with inspiration and possibilities. The thrill of having my own wall at The Affordable Art show hasn't worn off.


The excitement of opening night: crowds of people, each with glass of wine in hand, music bubbling in the background and art all around.

Seeing the work of my sweet friend A'sha in The Signature Gallery! So proud of her :)

My fist piece being sold before I even arrived - so exciting.

People thanking me for my artwork! Um, hello, can I thank you for liking it?!

Other peoples stories... stories of teaspoons and books and stamp collections...

25 July 2009

Reading in the Rain

The sound of rain against the roof, the night dark and treacherous beyond the window. A pile of soft and squashy cushions upon a chair. An old, well loved woolen blanket. A mug of hot milky tea and a lamp glowing gentle amber. The old red book, its cover faded and worn, rests in my hands. The tale within alive and restless, waiting for release.

Ive started reading this book, although I never intended to. I bought it for the inscription inside knowing I would use it in my artwork. As I was photographing the inscription my eyes glanced across the first few lines and I was hooked.

Between paragraphs of Tess, Ive been madly creating for the art show which opens in less than a week....

21 July 2009


Another teaspoon added itself to my unintentional collection last week. It emerged from the garden, the recent heavy rain washing it free from its confinement beneath the dirt. I know there is some kind of tale to be told regarding its history, but I am yet to imagine it.

Welcome to my new blog, Arty Lovely. A blog about creativity, inspiration, making, dreaming, thinking, doing, tall tales and true ones too. Im Veronica. Glad you came by.