Friday, December 11, 2009

Moly Exchange update

I've been a bit behind on more than just blog posts I can tell you! Here is my latest entry in a book from Moly_x_25 which is actually nearing completion. This particular moly (affectionate term for Moleskines sketchbooks) had lots of entries about each artists own local environment, a theme that wasn't prescribed by the books owner, but one that evolved never the less. Last time I drew in this book I did a beach and ocean view and this time puzzling on what to draw has meant I've had this book for quite a long time! Finally *bing* and I knew I had to draw my new vegie patch. Yes, I've joined the many who are first time vegie gardeners this year. Well, not really a first time, but it's been ages and I've never been terribly successful. This time I've started with good soil and some good information and I'm powering along harvesting salad greens (and reds!) every day with beans and peas only days away from picking and many other goodies growing well. All organic of course which is the challenge.
I also needed to catch up on my pages for Moly_x_48 - The Exquisite Corpse exchange. These particular books are not the Japanese fold ones like the one above, but the normal small sketchbooks and when they are completed the pages will each be cut into three to create a wonderful mix and match type book filled with drawings from artists all over the world. Here are my latest. Firstly "Liza was inclined to laziness".
"Lloyd knows what he likes" was inspired by the recent gallery drawings of Rick Tulka, a fabulous artist and someone I can now call a friend after meeting him while in Paris. Check out his wonderful drawings of Le Select, the cafe where he draws daily and where we met up. Better still, buy his book Paris Cafe: The Select Crowd

Not sure what I was thinking with this one... think I was still jet lagged... here it is "Squish could touch his toes (if he had any).

Friday, November 27, 2009

What a poor sad neglected blog!

I'll have to admit I came back from Paris and I though "blog schmog" and just let it sit here. Waiting. Oh dear! Enough is enough!

I have lots of stories about how fabulous Paris is including the one about the time we decided to go to a recommended restaurant for dinner later in the week. I phoned up "allo?" "Allo madam." "Parlez vous Anglais?" "Non madam, seulement Fransais" (or something similar). Oh dear. Now I realised I didn't know the first word I needed! Reservation! Luckily the French word for 'reservation' is 'reservation'! I went on to specify the day of the week, the date (to make sure I said the day correctly!), the number of people and the time (with a little help from my now very friendly French friend on the other end of the phone).
Finally we got stumped. I could not understand what he was saying at all. "Oui or Non!?" I said at last. "Oui, Oui!" he said, so we went on. I spelled my name in French as my final triumph and we said "au revoir." Later that week we turned up to the restaurant and they were expecting us!!! Yay!

The real reason I wanted to mention this restaurant is that our walk to it demonstrates why I love Paris so much. It turned out the restaurant was only a block and a half from our apartment. We went down the stairs (at this stage of our trip the elevator was still broken - but that's another whole and long story!), through the courtyard, out the front gates of the building and onto our street. We turned right. Turning right wasn't something we hadn't done before. Far from it really, but we usually went left as left was the direction of the metro, the Seine, I could go on. We turned right, walked to the end of our block and turned left. I don't think we had ever turned left there before. It is quite an unremarkable street. We walked the block and a bit to the restaurant and we were in an area we had never seen before! We loved it. We were early (well, you never know how long a walk it might be!) so we explored, finding a whole street of art galleries, artists cafes and cafes in courtyards filled with interesting types.

I live in regional Australia. We have a lot of space. I found it mind blowing that we had never seen something so close to us. Paris is dense. The buildings, especially in the ancient part we were in, are so close together they do not afford a view to what lies beyond. It is only through exploring that Paris reveals herself to you. I love that about Paris!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Eiffel Tower
Originally uploaded by Jan and Roly
I'm back from Paris and slowly getting back into everything. Haven't done much scanning yet, well, truthfully I've done none! This is just to let you know that I'm alive and that I've had The Most Wonderful Time! This is my favourite photo that I took in the month in Paris. Did you know everything in Paris is beautiful? Well, it is.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do I need to carry a sketchbook when I have an iPhone?

I'm packing to leave for Paris on the weekend. I have made my 'Perfect Journal' and am finally the owner of an iPhone 3GS. Both of these will slide into my shoulder bag and accompany me everywhere. Each has it's uses... but doesn't the iPhone win? (if there was a competition).

My iPhone is my new favourite thing. I will take a photo (at the very least) every where I go and these will be geotagged. T will be carrying a supa-dupa camera (it's his passion) and will be taking his own photos. My geotagged photos will assist him in identifying where he took his photos as he sifts through what will be thousands of shots when he gets back.

My iPhone will tell me where I am. We have a month in Paris and we are by nature wanderers. Last time we were there (which was also our first time) we frequently tossed up whether to go to ___ which is what we planned, or keep wandering because it was beautiful right where we were. (That's the thing about Paris, EVERYTHING is beautiful. You don't really have to see 'the sites' because what you are looking at every second is beautiful.)

The downside of being a wanderer is that you don't really know exactly where you are at any given time. We would get back to our apartment and find we had been just near ___ and not known, missed it completely. So our dilemma became whether to go purposefully back through our wandered territory, or go somewhere new. New always won of course, so there were things we missed. This time we will be able to wander AND to know where we are. But not only that, my iPhone will give us access to our Google Map.

We have created our own Google Map with place markers on it of all the places we would like to go "if we end up near there." We haven't put our must-see's on it, just the addresses of little shops, restaurants, markets and streets that we have read about or been told about. You know, you hear about a place and think "That sounds perfect! I must go there" and when you check the map it is way out to billy-o and it doesn't really warrant a full blown excursion just for the 'cute little ceramic shop'. But should we wander that way, we won't miss it this time!

And then there are the applications. It really is the 'apps' that makes the iPhone a winner over and above other smart phones. I have my translator app, the plan and tour app for the Palace of Versailles, lots of other travel apps. Then there are the photography apps. I was worried about the quality of the 3mpx camera, I would have like more, but the quality is surprisingly good and the sheer fun and pleasure the apps bring to taking photos is quite exhilarating. (I took these photos of my sketchbook with my iPhone!)

Oh and I can use it as a phone too. And email. And blogging and flickr and Facebook and twitter etc etc. Or listen to music. Or play games. (I wouldn't of course. I'd draw in my sketchbook instead!) So, my sexy little piece of hardware reduces the number of things I carry quite substantially; phone, camera, ipod, gps, guide book(s) and maps at the very least. And it weighs less than my ipod alone does.

My sketchbook, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It creates more things I need to carry. I need my pens, my watercolours, water brushes, blotting paper, tissues to clean up with, glue, (and if the world was a different place) scissors or a knife; lucky I don't carry pencils and erasers any more.

The photos I intend to take are different from the ones T will take. They will be shots of patterns, details and reference shots for paintings I intend to do when I come back. I can get a lot of these shots taken in the time it takes to do a single sketch. It was the time it takes to do the sketches that surprised me last time. When you have the possibility of fitting in seeing Place Vendome this afternoon versus finishing the sketch you are doing in Place des Voges instead it actually gets a little stressful. We didn't see Place Vendome last time. It is on our list (and the Google Map) for this time.

This is part of the reason I wanted to stay for so long this time. To ease the pressure around the time it takes to sit and draw and see and experience and even wander. I don't know if we will actually have time to see everything on our list even with a month! But if I didn't take my sketchbook, if I only took my iPhone we could get around it all. I could paint from the photos I take and those photos would take me right back to the spot... or would they?

And I think that is the real difference between my sketchbook and my iPhone. When I look back through my sketchbooks I am truly transported back to that exact moment. I can see, hear, smell it all again. Vividly. When I flip back through my photos of last time I find myself thinking "where was that?"

I'll carry them both. I'll let you know who wins. I suspect there actually won't be a winner, that it will be more of a truce. But I'll let you know.
ps. This time I made my perfect travel journal out of a book with the all-time perfect title. Guess how long I'm going to be in Paris!? I filled it with my favourite paper - all the one kind this time because that is how I wanted it to be. It also has some pages from an old Paris Guide Book scattered throughout. I had another Paris book with beautiful illustrations in it that I was also going to incorporate. The book is in poor condition so a prime candidate for rebinding however I discovered it is a reasonably valuable book and a first edition. I couldn't bring myself to pull it apart. It has an elastic closer and a ribbon place marker, some loose sheets of blotting paper, but that is all this time. I wanted a simple version of my usual rebound journal this time. I love it. It IS perfect!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - I'm going to Paris!

Yes! It's true! In 3 weeks!!!!
So many things have kept me busy of late but there is no denying the terminal velocity of a impending departure date. Those other things are finally beginning to take on less importance and the most important thing *PARIS* is finally winning. I'll tell more later but in the mean time here is a very Parisian Saturday Shopping List.

Belle by linn photography

Dreams of Paris by Shann Spishak

I will tell you more about my plans to turn instantly Parisian, the "Dream" dream apartment in the Marais, the shopping, the art... Sooooon. In the meantime, check out what others are shopping for today by clicking through the list on Fancy Picnic.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Dinner Suit has been selected for the Warwick Art Prize. Yay!
It's surprisingly difficult to photograph. It doesn't look this motley in person. It's on its way to Warwick as I speak. It is in the textiles section. It is a difficult work to classify but 'textiles' seems perfect to me; it adds yet another layer of meaning to the work especially as textiles is traditionally "women's work."
I haven't entered any selected (juried) exhibitions in a long time but I'm getting back into it again and getting accepted into this one is just the boost I needed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moly Exchange update

I've been working in a few Moly's (short for Moleskine) lately. I'm in a few exchanges and I was a bit behind on them. I've also been bitten by the experimentation bug, which often happens when I'm working in someone else's Moleskine! Why is it so?

These three are for Moly_x_48 - The Exquisite Corpse exchange. You may recall that these will be cut into three when the book is finished and the images and words will be able to mix and match.

Jethro doesn't remember the 70's

Dougal doesn't like his job

Philippe speakes all languages

This one is for Moly_x_3 which is an all Australian exchange. This is my own moly and it doesn't have a theme. (Click on it and it should be easier to see.)
Family Ghosts

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - From my Favourites

This bunch of beauties is straight from my own Etsy Favourites! It's Father's Day here very soon and for me it is Birthday season with many presents to buy for some wonderful people. I was thinking of others when I favourited these!

Kawaii Korean Monopoly MP3 ipod Earphone Tidy Wrap by Miss Macau

For more Saturday Shopping List fun check out the list in the sidebar at fancypicnic!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm a winner!

I was lucky enough to be the winner of Anastasia C's blog giveaway! Yay! I'm so happy because I was already a big fan of her retro repurposed paper goodies to be found in her Etsy shop. So to win some was fantastic. A wonderful parcel turned up in my letter box, stuffed full of goodies and even a vintage sewing magazine! Anastasia you know me and what I like, don't you! And yes, I like! Thank you!
I got lots of lovely tags, my favourites being the legs walking on vintage maps. (I really think she was thinking of me making these!!!) And beautiful cards, present toppers and some gorgeous twine. And a vintage Simplicity book!
Check out the glamor! I love this book Anastasia! Thank you again!

I've also been lucky enough to receive two 'one lovely blog awards' and a 'blog lovin' award.'

from Rainbow Revolution - thanks!

from Planettreasures - you are too kind!
And this one from Tif at Owl and Fox - aw shucks!

I must say I do love my blog and I'm deeply touched when I find others do too. I also love lots of other blogs. I recently did a huge panic when my list of blogs I follow disappeared from my Blogger Dashboard. Phew! It came back the next day but I was pleased it is also copied into Google Reader so if they were gone forever I still had access to them.

So how do I choose to award? It is really hard to find a blog that hasn't recently been awarded, not that it should be consideration I guess, however it does seem more reasonable to award those who haven't just posted a similar award!

I've decided to award blogs that are new to me so here they are
OK, so some of them are less new to me than others but it doesn't really matter. Lovely ladies you can feel doubly awarded as I'm giving you both the "One Lovely Blog Award" and the "Blog Lovin Award"!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - Pet Pleasures

Showing Roly here earlier this week made me think about shopping for him on Etsy - something I must admit I've never done. Look at all the fabulous stuff you can get! These elevated bowls are just what Roly has needed all his life (poor deprived dog). If you read the boxer handbook it says to use elevated bowls. I've never seen elevated bowls before!

Roly had a tag with his name and number on it but he lost it. I really like this design. Something a bit arty for my very creative* dog.
* read as "destructive"
Unique Handmade ID Tag from Urban Puppy

You saw how Roly loves his bed, and how he especially loves being wrapped up in a blankie, well how is this for an idea! With this bed Roly could wrap himself!
Eco Pet Bed by Annie's Sweatshop

It didn't really show in the photos this time but Roly has a fabulous coat. I made it for him many years ago. It is faux fur in yellow with black spots. It has a vague 'banana' vibe. Coffs Harbour is well know for bananas and even has The Big Banana. Roly's coat also has a vague 'royal' vibe, kind of ermine only the wrong colours. For a while there we called him the "King of the Bananas." Thankfully it didn't stick. Roly's coat is constructed in pretty much the same style as this one below. It is by far the best dog coat design I've come across. This one looks gorgeous and I love the enthusiasm of it's model!
Chili Dog Coat by Acme Couture

Eh hem. Roly has worn some pretty silly things in his time, but really! I must say however, he prefers it when they are worn by a cat! Roly wouldn't know what to lick first - the cat or the hat!
Pink Fancy Sombrero by To Scarborough Fair

Amelie from To Scarborough Fair says:
The cat items are made for occasional use; they are very lightweight and comfortable, and you would be amazed how, with a little extra TLC and some treats, your cat will get comfortable *wearing* them (on those special, fun occasions), like she/he gets used to wearing a collar.
I really should get Roly a cat to play with...

Friday, August 14, 2009

News Flash! - It's Roly again

Roly is this weeks Weekly Monster on Tilda in the Burbs! Tilda (another Boxer) is a little more clever than Roly. She has her own blog, even her own Twitter account. She also has a weekly series where she shows off other dogs. (I think it was her owner's idea to call them 'monsters.') Tilda's post also features one of Janey's drawings of Roly. Check out the other drawing here. Roly really appreciates all this attention - thank you Tilda and Janey!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meet Maddo and Mairuru

Remember the DUST Christmas In July promotion? Sam (Maddo) won my giveaway in one of the many competitions. I sent her off a little parcel of goodies including a hand printed journal notebook and a pouch to keep it in.
Since then I've found out she has opened her own Etsy shop. Its full of gorgeous jewellery pieces and paper goodies. Check it out. She will be so thrilled to have you visit!
I have Mairuru to thank for the inspiration behind the pouch. It is hand pieced patchwork, hand quilted, even the buttonhole is hand sewn. I've rediscovered my love of hand stitching. Mairuru has a fabulous Etsy shop too and a wonderful blog. I got the pattern for the pouch from her blog. I changed it a bit but I hope it still has Mairuru's spirit in it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jan and Roly

Yep, we're a team, me and my boxer dog Roly. Roly's getting on now. In fact I am surprised he is still with me after the doom and gloom the vet told me about 2 years ago. Roly is nearing 13 now which is quite an age for a boxer especially one with kidney failure, blindness, deafness and allergies to just about everything. I think it is the good diet he has had to have due to his allergies that mean he is still in such good condition. It's only been about the last 12 months people have stopped mistaking him for a puppy!

He doesn't like to face the camera.
Maybe it's because of his single tiny centre tooth.
It means we have lots of mug shots of him.

A couple of years ago I made a video of him one morning when he refused to get up. It happens a lot more frequently these days. He loves his sleep. Some mornings it must be hard for him to motivate himself to get up. After all who doesn't love a lie in all wrapped up in a comfy bed especially if it's in the sunshine!

Of course it's no good if it gets too bright. But he gets by.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - Sketchbooks

As a follow up to my post about Danny Gregory I thought I'd encourage you to start that sketchbook if you haven't already. If you are at all like me, you will be spending the time you could be drawing looking for the 'perfect' sketchbook. I thought I'd make it easy for you. Here are some beauties found by a quick search 'sketchbook' on Etsy.

Or you could even browse my shop for some hand printed Moleskine notebooks. As I don't have many of my rebound journals (my 'perfect' journals!) in stock I suggest you start now with a less than perfect journal and grab one of mine for your next book, when they are back in stock. Ah, I'm full of great suggestions!

Don't forget you can check out other Saturday Shopping Lists by clicking the links at Fancy Picnic.