Monday, 28 February 2011

making a ripple effect blanket

Today was very hot and humid and, call me crazy but, I sat and did some crochet at lunchtime.  Woollens and hot weather don't necessarily go hand-in-hand but I'm trying to get this done before winter (June 1st).

It will be a blanket for Mikayla when finished.

I'm using a ripple stitch and I absolutely LOVE the effect!

After a lot of searching, I found a very easy-to-follow pattern for ripple stitch over at Attic24. All I needed was the basics and it was all systems go from there.  Here's a hot tip...be sure to cast on the initial chain stitches quite loose so that it sits nice and flat when the ripple pattern forms.

I've started rolling the wool I buy into balls after getting a hot tip from Tammy who makes beautiful baby afghans among other things.  Shop-bought wool can unravel when you don't want it to and end up in terrible knots which can be near impossible to undo. I find the wool also rolls out so much easier as I work.

This blanket is sure to keep my little granddaughter cosy and warm throughout the winter months and knowing this makes me feel all cosy and warm inside.

~ Love, light and peace ~

Thursday, 24 February 2011

i have been sketching

Recently, I signed up for, Sketchbook Delight, an online class with Alisa Burke
and I'm loving it!

I set myself various creative challenges at the beginning of the year but I have discovered that my heart keeps going back to plain, simple sketching.  I love keeping a sketch journal! My problem is that I don't sketch often enough because I procrastinate too much about just what to sketch, I am too much of a perfectionist when it comes to sketching, and there are a lot of distractions in my life. Excuses, excuses, excuses....I'm over it! I want to keep a daily sketch journal that's not about creating perfect masterpieces but rather, a record of memories, my days, events, parts of who I am, likes, dislikes and anything else that takes my fancy. I yearn to loosen up and work faster with my sketching and I felt that Alisa Burke's class was just the ticket....I was right!  I like that Alisa loves working with pen a lot!  Alisa's class isn't about formal sketch studies, it's more about finding our muse, developing our own style and creating loose, free-flowing and pleasing sketches. 

At the beginning of 2009 we noticed a tiny two-fronded common fern springing up in our backyard lawn....a gift from nature which I immediately fell in love with.   Beau suggested potting it so I did.  The pic below was taken back in April of 2009 after it had grown a little but...

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

....look at it now!

So thick and dense......I just love it!

So, after being inspired by Alisa's class, out came my sketch book and, working directly with pen, I set about sketching one of the fronds that had broken off the fern.

I then added another sketch in pen, then some watercolour and info to the page.  It's still a little tight for my liking but I'm hoping to loosen up more as time goes on.
Pen and watercolour in A4 sketch journal

Another very quick sketch of the doll I bought from Michelle when she was making and selling dolls a couple of years ago. Her name is Rachel and she lives in my bedroom.
Pen only sketch in A5 sketch journal

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Recently, Michelle and Alex bought a play gym for Mikayla and, judging by the look on little Mikayla's face, it's a winner!  She loves it!

LIFE IS GOOD!

~ Love, light and peace ~

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stranded on a day trip and another self portrait

On Sunday, Beau, Brad, Aaron and I went for a drive out to our favourite spot in the Lamington National Park region - Burgess Park - which is situated beside Christmas Creek.  It was a very hot, humid day with temps of around 35°C/95°F but, due to all the rain last month, the creek was a great height for swimming and perfect for cooling down.  Beau and Aaron couldn't resist going in for a dip shortly after our arrival.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The water looked so refreshing and inviting but, due to a surgical procedure on Friday, I could only watch and envy.

Beau and Aaron LOVED it!

Brad wouldn't have been able to negotiate the rocky creek bed so he stayed with me near the car.

Our dilemma started when Beau realised after his initial swim that his car keys were in the pocket of his board shorts.  His computerised car keys.....and, yes, the water killed them.....YIKES!!   We couldn't get his car to start because its computer couldn't detect a signal from the key.  To add insult to injury, we were in the valley of a national park region and, try as we might, we could not get reception on our mobile phones.

We were stranded an hours drive from home! 

After trying to send several text messages to both Michelle and Reece with 'failed to send' results, Beau said he was going for a walk to see if he could get reception somewhere else along the country road. I didn't like the idea but there wasn't really much choice.  My kids often laugh at me because I go into panic or worry mode when situations like this arise but I tell you it's hard not to when you're a Mum.....especially after I'd had a dream the night before in which Beau was bitten by a venomous snake.

About 15 minutes after Beau left, we heard Aaron's mobile message alarm sound off and we were over the moon to see a text message had reached Michelle.  She was at my house wanting to know where Beau's spare car keys were.  We had no idea so I decided to leave Brad and Aaron at the car and walk a little ways down the road to see if I could call to Beau.  Problem was that, even after my walk down the road, my son was nowhere in sight.....my 'snakebite' dream kept rearing its ugly head in my mind and I started to feel very unsettled.  I walked back to the car in tears and tried to get back to Michelle but the mobile phone reception was nonexistent again.  All we could do was wait.

Thankfully, some time later, Beau made it back...MUCH to my relief.....and, after more attempts to get reception, we were finally able to get onto Michelle and establish where his spare keys were.  Michelle, Mikayla, and Alex then made a mercy dash out to Burgess Park.  Due to the circumstances, we were there for longer than we had intended and we ran out of drinking water so we ended up quenching our thirst with fresh creek water.  To my surprise, it was crystal clear and delicious!

Despite the initial upset over the waterlogged keys, it turned out to be a nice, relaxing day and even Michelle and Alex enjoyed a lovely swim in the creek.  We are already planning another family day out to the same spot very soon and, without doubt, we will all be making very sure that Beau's keys are on dry land before he goes for a swim in the creek next time.

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This is my self portrait for last week which was Week 7 in my '52 Weeks of Me' challenge.  I took this at Burgess Park.  I love all the greenery around me.

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Currently, the New Zealand earthquake death toll is 75 and still expected to climb.  The news footage is heartwrenching and my tears just flow!  After all the emotions I felt with Queensland's severe flooding last month and, now this, it makes me wonder what's next?  It certainly puts life into perspective, that's for sure.

~ Love, light and peace ~

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

UPDATED: Praying for our New Zealand neighbours

I was planning to write a different blog post today but, in light of this horrific situation, I have put my regular posting off until tomorrow.

Photo courtesy here.

My thoughts today are with our neighbours across the Tasman as the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, sustained a level 6.3 earthquake earlier today.   This earthquake was actually an after-shock from the earthquake they had in September of last year, however, it has left much more devastation and destruction in its wake due to it being more shallow. There are 17 65 people now confimed dead and this toll is expected to rise with people still trapped in buildings.  More reports of the situation are here and here.

On a personal note, we are also very concerned for my Son-in-law's Mum who flew into Christchurch with her partner only yesterday and Alex has been unable to find out if she is okay.

UPDATE - I'm happy to report that Alex's Mum managed to post a message on Facebook to let everyone know she was okay. Thankfully, they had left Christchurch only a few hours before the earthquake hit.  We are all so relieved. Thanks so much for your well wishes.

~ Love, Light and Peace ~

Monday, 14 February 2011

meet my student

Barb has been my loyal student for close to 7 years now.  
WOW...time sure flies!

Barb loves to paint and, when schedules permit, we try to squeeze in one lesson a week when we can.  Our lessons over the past few years have been quite spasmodic with so many problems occurring such as house moves, termites and subsequent repairs, health issues, surgeries, trips away etc., but it certainly hasn't dulled Barb's enthusiasm in the least.   Barb does tend to rely heavily on my guidance through every step of a painting but, for classes this year, I plan to encourage her to spread her wings more and go solo as much as possible with only minimal help from me. Barb finished this painting in December 2010 and, as you can see by her thumb's up, she was very happy with the end result. 

Click on any image to enlarge
 
It was painted from a photo of the family home where Barb raised her kids back in New Zealand and she kept it as a surprise from her family until she had completed it.  I'm happy to say that her husband and adult children were absolutely thrilled and all became quite emotional as the painting of their family home evoked stories of the many happy memories shared there.

A job well done, Barb!
Acrylics on 16" x 20" canvas board

~ Love, light and peace ~

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Gems from my week....

Thanks for all the heartfelt comments on Queensland's latest wild weather crisis.  Cyclone Yasi completely levelled areas that took the brunt of it's force and caused a lot of damage in other areas.  It was heart wrenching to see on the news. I felt a depression wash over me knowing the suffering my fellow Queenslanders were facing yet again.  This is part of the reason I haven't been blogging much....I just had no inclination. I'd sit at the computer to post but found myself browsing other blogs instead.  I felt the same with my art....no urge to draw or paint at all. I'd try but wouldn't get very far.  The unbearable humidity didn't help with my asthma either. I think I've picked myself up a bit now and hoping to get back to regular posting. The daily meditations and time with Mikayla have helped greatly.

Your comments of concern, prayer and support were truly appreciated.  Thank you all!
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The other morning, I was totally mesmerised by this 'gem' which sparkled up at me from the lawn. It grabbed my attention because it was huge in comparison to the other dewdrops which you can see spattered around.  Naturally, I ran for the camera.  

We'd had an unbearably hot and humid week and there was a lot of moisture in the air so whether this water drop came from a heavy dew or light, early morning rain, I don't know. The sky was clear, the roads were dry, yet the lawn glistened with gems. 

My infatuation with water drops continued a few days later when we did get some rain and the leaves on my Buddha's Belly plant looked so pretty covered in raindrops. Another photo shoot beckoned.... 
Be sure to click on the images for a closer view.

I love it when I see new growth too
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Speaking of gems and growth, Mikayla is now 9 weeks old and growing!

I was trying not to laugh at Michelle in the pic below. Michelle would laugh every time my camera's Face Detection feature kicked in and then I would burst out laughing too. In case you don't know, Face Detection finds the face in the image, puts a square border around it and then, suddenly, the squared face enlarges and takes up a large part of the viewing screen. It makes me think of those giant bobble heads on the small bodies. But anyways, isn't Mikayla gorgeous in her little purple outfit? I knitted her bootees.

I LOVE being a Grandma!

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Week 6 self-portrait

Here I'm playing with another gem in my life, Cody.  What struck me as odd, apart from the fact that I have no face in the image, is that I had taken a few pictures in the exact same spot for myself AND the camera yet this is the only image that showed an orb on my head.  Camera confusion?.....or something else?  Hmmmmmm...

UPDATE - Some have mentioned being unable to see the orb on my head.....how odd.  It is clearer in the enlarged view so click on the photo below and check where the red arrow is pointing.  I call it an orb because that's what I've seen others call these circles that appear in their photos.  Can you see it?

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 The weekend is here....clear and bright.....full of possibilities!
I'm hoping to get some artwork done.....how about you?
 
~ Love, light and peace ~

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Please keep Northern Queensland in your thoughts tonight.....

.....as the worst cyclone in our history is set to hit our northern coastline in just hours and it's wrath will reach as far inland as Mount Isa.  This is a life-threatening cyclone and is 500km wide! They are warning that it will bring violent storm swells of approx. 7 metres above high tide levels near the eye of the cyclone. Over 10,000 people have been evacuated and there are major fears that lives may be lost.  This seems so unbelievable as it comes fast on the back of all the flooding we've experienced in past weeks.  Thankfully, we live in South East Queensland so are relatively safe although we are sure to catch some chaotic weather in the backlash. Tonight, my heart will be with my fellow Queenslanders up North.  I pray that no lives are lost.

This is really scary stuff!
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Here is a site that compares the size of Cyclone Yasi if it were superimposed in countries around the world.

Here is a news update from today.

Your thoughts and prayers are most welcome. 

----- UPDATE -----
Cyclone Yasi hit land just after midnight and the Mission Beach and Tully areas sustained major damage.  A second storm surge still threatens some areas.
Read more HERE.

I didn't get much sleep at all last night worrying for what my fellow Queenslanders were enduring. I'm so thankful that there was no loss of life.  
Thanks so much for all your well wishes and prayers.

 ~ Love, light and peace ~

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

HELLO February!

February has arrived DownUnder and I'm feeling quite happy that, during January, I managed to art journal daily, sketch weekly, and also take my self-portrait photos each week. Let's hope I can continue that way.

I did this sketch of Mikayla for January's Sketchbook Challenge.  The theme was 'Highly Prized' and Mikayla certainly fits into that category.  Isn't she cute?  It's my very first sketch of her and I'm sure there will be more.
Sketched free-hand using graphite pencils in large Moleskine sketchbook

Below is my art journal spread for the past week.
I used acrylics to paint in the sky for the background. 
I cut the dog image from an advertising pamphlet I received in the mail.  I pictured him in a pool on a very hot day craving a cold soft-serve ice-cream in a cone.  Heck, who wouldn't??!!  YUM!
Acrylics/mixed media in A4 journal

I thought I'd also get in early with this week's self-portrait.
I ADORE gypsy-style earrings....just love 'em!

HEALTH NEWS - Brad is no longer on Tegretol because, after a few days of being on it, he noticed a change in his hearing where music and songs sounded like they were playing back in a lower key. Brad adores his music and this was extremely frustrating for him and driving him nuts! Normally, Bradley can tell you in an instant what key a song is playing in.  I also noticed that Brad didn't seem to be hearing us if we called to him from an adjoining room.   I did some research and, sure enough, changes in hearing is a rare side effect that happens to approx. 1 in 10,000 people taking Tegretol.  It definitely helped to stop his right leg from seizing up but, unfortunately, it mucked up his hearing in the process. Brad is dependent on what hearing he has as he is already hearing impaired so we just couldn't risk the Tegretol causing more, and possibly permanent, damage so he stopped taking it. Thankfully, after 48 hours, his hearing returned to normal and he is a happy camper again.  Of course, the symptoms for which he started taking the Tegretol are back too....it's like a Catch 22, I guess.

Oh, and a weird thing that I've been experiencing - 
For a couple of days now, I've had this annoying sensation of a necklace being pulled tight around my neck but, here's the thing....I wasn't wearing a necklace!  I've lost count of the amount of times I've tried to loosen this imaginary necklace with my hand before I've realised I'm not wearing one. How weird is that??!  I was beginning to think I had a ghost hanging about who was mad at me. I did some research via Google and, surprisingly, I am not alone in this. From what I can gather, this can happen with stress or thyroid conditions.  Hmmmmm, may need to go back to the doctor again.   He is seriously going to think I'm a hypochondriac with all the things I've had going on with my body over the past year or so.

Anywhoo, I hope you all enjoy a beautiful start to February!

~ Love, light and peace ~
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