Tuesday 22 December 2020

Merry Christmas 2020

 Christmas is finally here and what a year it has been. I think back to the start of the year and how we had no idea of what was about to happen.

In Melbourne, we had some of the toughest restrictions in the world. From March to November, we could hardly leave our house except for supermarket shopping. We weren't allowed to drive or walk more than 5k from our home and were not allowed to be out after 8pm at night. I remember how quiet it was with no traffic noise.

Luckily, those tough restrictions worked and we have been zero cases for 6 weeks now. After what we have been through, most people have been talking about what a great Christmas they want. The shops have been really busy. We went shopping on the first weekend that they were allowed to open and we couldn't believe how full of toys all the shelves were. When I went shopping last week, there was row after row of empty shelves, people have been shopping!

Christmas is at our place this year and so I bought some new decorations to add to our collection.

I bought a white Santa, trees and reindeers to stand out against the brown wood.

I got out all my nutcrackers.

I went shopping last week with my daughter, Alison and Savannah, who is 6 years old now. She is such a good girl and never complains.

We had to have a photo with Santa, even though it was a socially distanced one. My other daughter, Bec was in the photo this year.

So, Christmas is here and I know that we are very lucky compared to other countries who are in winter and that virus keeps spreading. Stay safe everyone. 

Thank you to the people who read my blog, I don't expect anyone to read it but I do enjoy it when I get some comments.

Merry Christmas,

Bye for now,


Tuesday 15 December 2020

The Sketchbook Challenge

 A couple of months ago as the UK went into lockdown, Laura Kemshall from Design Matters TV announced that she was teaching an on-line sketchbook challenge that would go for 8 lessons.

We were actually just coming out of lockdown as we had no more virus cases and all the shops were opening, but I decided to sign up anyway, just for fun. Laura suggested that we don't use a sketchbook that was spiral bound and of course all mine had that except for one that I had made years ago and had never used.

I had made this sketchbook out of good watercolour paper, so it was perfect for the project.

Week by week, she went through many ideas and examples of what we could do. What a perfect chance to get out my paints, pencils, stamps, stencils and bits and pieces and play around. Laura suggested that we try lots of things and all different media, to discover what we really like to do. Not to worry if something doesn't work out, you just paint over it and try again.

On one page I glued in a magazine picture of some apples.


Then I painted the background green, added some text with some stamps and did some drawing with a black felt tip pen.

Apple page 

I wasn't happy with a page that I had painted orange and black, but I was trying not to be too pretty!

So, I drew some jugs on some white paper and glued them in and added another drawing on the other page.
Jugs and bottles page

Not perfect but I liked it a lot better than before. 

I glued another magazine photo of a rabbit.

I didn't know what I was going to do with this page, so I tried doing some painting around it.

I still wasn't happy, it was far too messy for my taste. When we got up to the text lesson, I tried again.

Time page

I like it better now, but I am just experimenting and trying things out.

I had painted a photocopy of a dead agapanthus flower a few years ago and so I glued that picture down.

I decided to paint blue onto the rest of the paper and then draw some agapanthus flowers in various stages as they were just coming into flower in our garden.

Agapanthus page

I had a mono-printed vase on one page and then drew another on the facing page.

Vase page

I had glued down a photocopy of some red leaves and painted around it. 

Once again, I tried stamping some text and added my own drawings to finish it off.

Leaf page

I'll just show one more page, I had some spare copies of a photo of two of my grandchildren, cousins Jack and Savannah hand in hand doing some Christmas shopping last year.

Laura had taught us to paint some gesso over the outside of the photo so it could accept paint. Then I drew some Christmas pictures around it.

Christmas page

It was a lot of fun to do. Drawing with a felt tip pen can be scary but you just have to be brave and put up with drawings not being perfect.

I guess it is pretty decorative and not really art but it's my book and my chance to play around.

I've done lots of other pages and still have 4 or 5 blank pages to do. I love doing this so much more than I thought I would. The pages can be quite time consuming and I could probably just keep going and do nothing else. 

I think I will make another sketchbook and keep doing some pages every so often next year and see where it takes me.

I already know that I like neat rather than messy, so surprise there! I love text and love drawing with a black pen.

I haven't had a lot of practice mixing paint colours, so I would like to improve on that. I'll have to spend some time doing that.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 8 December 2020

Crazy Quilted Christmas Ornaments

 I belong to an on-line group of Australian Crazy Quilters called the Southern Cross Crazies. This year they decided to have a Christmas ornament swap.

I made my three ornaments and sent them off to 3 different people. I had never made anything like that before and so I made mine double sided, but apparently, they didn't have to be!

My ornaments arrived in the last couple of weeks but we couldn't open them.

This morning we all got together via Zoom and opened them one at a time. It was lovely to meet the other members. Most of them had met before at retreats but I had never met them before.

I received 3 beautiful Christmas ornaments.

The first one was from Alison; she made a Christmas Pear and added a stumpwork leaf.

Ornament from Alison

The middle ornament was from Florence, she did some lovely ribbon work flowers and added a gorgeous lace swag at the bottom

Ornament from Florence

The third ornament was from Patti, in beautiful rich colours of purple, green and gold.

Ornament from Patti

All of them are absolutely beautiful and I feel very lucky to have received them.

I don't do very much crazy quilting these days but because of everything being closed and I was between projects, I decided to participate.

Bye for now,