Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Baby Lorraine Comes Home

Hello Friends,

It's Simply Neutrals Tuesday again. 

Today I thought I'd share some collages I made recently, and the story behind them.

A while ago I visited Dee's Funk 'n'Junk at Ulladulla to browse in her wonderfully eclectic 'vintage seaside meets shabby chic' junk shop. Her FaceBook page is here. I love going there for a chat and for the inspiration packed into such a small area. Dee uses every inch of her display space. 

I've shown Dee photos of things I've made using old laces and pictures and she saves me special bits and pieces. I spied this old photo of a baby hanging high on a wall and asked her how much it was, thinking it would be out of my price range anyway. 

To my surprise Dee looked at me and said, "It's yours. There's a sad story to this picture. I knew this baby when she grew up. She was a local, a teacher who never married. Her name was Lorraine. She used to come into my shop to find treasures. When she passed on at a ripe old age, she left behind no children to share her treasures with. A niece who inherited brought all her stuff to the shop to sell it to me. I felt so sad that those special things Lorraine had delighted in were not appreciated. Not even her baby photo which was really old - maybe 90 years. I didn't know what to do with the photo as I felt too sad to sell it. When you asked, I knew who would appreciate her. So she's yours."

I was absolutely thrilled!

So Baby Lorraine came home with me, and I made three vintage lace collages using copies. Dee was chuffed when I gave one to her in appreciation for her gift.

This one uses a vintage book cover as its base...

 This one uses a worn old LP cover as its base...

A close up of details... some vintage music and avocado dyed cheesecloth...

I scanned a vintage tape measure and printed a copy to add to the collage. Pieces of vintage clothing, doilies and laces were used, as well as scrapbooking papers, beading, found skeleton leaves, feathers and some flower embellishments I had made.

I will feature Dee's shop in a post to come soon.

Come join in for Wen's Simply Neutrals Tuesday party at her blog: 

You can see see more neutral-coloured artworks, collectables and photo art on display. You may like to share some too...

Until next time, may the sun shine on you...


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Sweet Dreams and Fairytale Roses

Hello Friends,

It's so good to make contact again with the Blog World after my long hibernation away to heal. I was sorry to hear that so many of you have had sadness in your lives these past months. I hope that time will help heal, and that you are surrounded by loving support. 

I have spent a lot of time away from my computer, partly because I couldn't drag myself there due to PTSD, but also because I needed to do other things like inspirational reading, counseling, mindfulness, exercising and socialising. Some other things that have helped me feel better are:

1. Creating vignettes to photograph

2. Working hard in my garden

3. Getting more and regular sleep

When my inspiration to create is low, I like to 'play' with various collected treasures to create vignettes, which I then photograph from various angles. Rearranging my displays in various rooms lets me enter 'the flow', where time is meaningless, worries drop away, and I find joy in the simplicity of the present moment. 

I found this gorgeous sheet music (above) and the name 'Jessie's Dream' became a theme. In the above vignette I used some white leather baby shoes, a worn silver try and a bridal floral headpiece.

My garden of many roses is a great source of healing - it gives me physical exercise as well as great pleasure. I love picking flowers and arranging them in vases, which I then  photograph so I can take delight in looking back at the results of my work, savouring each exquisite bloom and vase. Below is 'Climbing Cinderella', one of Kordes' Fairy Tale Collection. This is my favourite rose as it is covered in roses in Spring and continues to bloom for months until almost Winter. It is about 3 metres high and vigorous. The blooms last well in vases, too.

Thanks to Dee of Dee's Funk'nJunk in Ulladulla, I found this amazing old chippy paint door to use as a photography backdrop. My kids were appalled at its state, and that I would use it as an item of home decor!

My darling Mum gave me a gorgeous miniature bush rose and it goes so well with climbing Cinderella...

The roses below are David Austin's Windermere, which again bloom from spring right through until Winter with a stunning old-world light lemony scent.

It's a pity the petals fall after one day in the vase, but they do look so beautiful...

Now for all you Creatives, the latest science on sleep shows that you are more creative if you get proper sleep. Since I've been getting 8 hours of sleep regularly now for a couple of months, I feel much better emotionally and physically, and I'm feeling more creative energy.  

The best scientific book I've read recently is Matthew Walker's "Why We Sleep: the New Science of Sleep and Dreams". I stumbled upon it in a review in The Guardian just before Christmas; it was only released late in 2017. I've been convinced by his presentation of many experiments from around the world over many years, that we all need to prioritise our precious sleep better. This page from the book is a great summary - and it's all backed by scientific rigour...

I've been committing to a regular bedtime, no screen for an hour before and some exercise during the day. When the dawn light wakes me through the chinks in the curtains, I reach for my trusty eye patch, turn over and breathe slowly until I fall asleep again till about 7:00am. That last two hours gives me the dream sleep that is so important to feeling well rested. 

Sleep is a free remedy that improves so many health problems - all you have to do is try it out to see if it helps you feel better. (I'm not getting a commission here - just wanting to share a great benefit we often ignore :) 

You can purchase the book here:

Wishing you a good night's sleep and Sweet Dreams, as my Mum always says.

Love and Hugs, 

Jesse XXX

Monday, 22 January 2018

Simply Neutrals #30 Vintage Lace, Lino and Rusty Iron

Hello Friends,

One of the sweet things I up-cycled last year was this old lamp. It was just plain boring cream, but a gorgeous shape. I hunted for special lace doilies, ribbons and jewellery to decorate it.



My blog was looking drab to me, so I did a bit of an overhaul. I wanted to use my own images for it. On a trip to Braidwood I discovered some vintage wallpaper on the floor of an (you guessed it!) antique shop. The shop is called Born Vintage, and here is a Google maps photo of it., though the pic is messed up by movement. It's the old Maternity Hospital. 

I spent some time gathering images of it (with permission, of course!), as well as gathering a few little treasures. (More about those another time...) The lino image was combined with some images of my vintage laces and an old iron fence using layers in Photoshop Elements. I LOVE textures!! 

Lino by Jesse Rowan


Jesse Rowan

Lace by Jesse rowan

Lace by Jesse Rowan

Lino by Jesse Rowan

A single motif...
Lino motif by Jesse Rowan
The motif on a vintage envelope which I found in a Google search...now I can't even find it again myself!!! OOPS! 


A different lino from another room in the same shop... to be used later.


A section of the blog background...

collage by Jesse rowan

I'm joining Wen's Simply Neutrals party at her blog: 

Why don't you pop across to see all the drool-worthy neutral artworks, collectibles and photo art on display? You may like to share some too...   See you next time,


Monday, 15 January 2018

Simply Neutrals #29 - Cherish

Hello friends, 

A big 'Thank you' to Wen for hosting 'Simply Neutrals Tuesday'. 

Today I'm sharing a card I made a while ago for my sister. I saw it hanging on her cupboard door when I visited her recently just before Christmas, and took this photo.

collage - Sisters by Lace Age Girl

And a card I made for a friend's first baby... I love the word 'cherish' - it calls to mind the precious smell of a baby and all those sweet moments that seem to pass so quickly.

I love the daisy peeping over it here:

Lastly, an angel I picked up on sale because it was broken. I managed to fix her broken wing with plaster of paris - she's as good as new... she's my guardian angel representing peace, along with a beautifully scented candle of tranquility and serenity.

Have a creative and productive week, my friends. Don't forget to check out the other participants of 'Simply Neutrals Tuesday' on Wen's blog here.

Love and hugs,

Jesse XXX

Monday, 8 January 2018

Out of Hibernation...of Cats and Christmas

Card by Lace Age Girl

Hello my friends. Sorry this is late for Christmas and New Year, but I'm on Slow Time. 

Happy New year Lace Age Girl

It's been so long since I've visited my blog, or even anyone else's. I've been in hibernation, recovering from PTSD and depression. The time had come for the past to erupt and be dealt with...I became immobilised with sadness and pain.

It's been a long gradual journey, trying various strategies and medicines. Some medications didn't help, and side effects were a problem, but I found an anti-depressant to lift me up enough to reach the rope so I could pull myself out of the deep well of darkness. After a year and a half I'm feeling much better, with better sleep and exercise, good counselling, life and attitude changes and mindfulness. 

Through it all my dear ginger tabby cat Gypsy was beside me, purring her good vibes into me every day when I sat in my armchair to read or be mindful. 

Gypsy was the second cat we adopted 4 years ago from the RSPCA (animal refuge). We had a few weeks previously adopted Willow, a tiny traumatised kitten (who has remained traumatised despite our love and care), and Gypsy came to us after being abandoned too, but she was a robust and confident trickster who stole our hearts and helped Willow settle down. How could we not keep her???

Willow and Gypsy cats

I still feel teary as I write this. Sadly, Gypsy got cancer (at the age of only 4) and passed away. We had 2 days to say goodbye after I took her to the vet when her breathing seemed laboured. Otherwise she seemed her healthy robust self, jumping up onto our roof to hunt birds in the treetops even the day before.

It was such a shock to learn in November that she had fluid on her lungs and though it was drained, the cancer was everywhere in her body and too advanced to save her. It was so sad to hold her as she was euthenased; I couldn't believe the depth of my feelings for her. I chose a special rose to mark her grave in our garden, an apricot colour. 

As I laid her in her grave and covered her with earth, lastly planting her special rose, I wept for my little friend. The grief I felt was cathartic, and released so much old stored up emotion. In the days after her burial I felt like a load had lifted from my shoulders, that somehow the deep emotional outpouring was cleansing. But there was a hole in my life, and my chair was no longer a happy place to sit. Keeping busy was preferable.

After a month of missing Gypsy's presence (Willow had bonded to our daughter and only tolerated the rest of the family!) I felt the need for another cat to fill the gaping hole in our family. 

So now we have rescued another abandoned kitten - Jasper. His mum and her litter of four were handed in to the Animal Welfare League, and they were looked after beautifully until he was weaned and ready to be adopted. My daughter (12) and I visited to play with all the abandoned kittens to help them be socialised, and we fell in love with Jasper. We hoped that a kitten would have a better chance of being accepted by our poor fearful Willow. 

Jasper my new kitten by Lace Age Girl

Jasper was a wonderful Christmas present...He settled in quickly and was at home with us all, enjoying the refuge of a lap for a snooze, or a romping play with anyone patient enough to endure tiny claws grasping and constant skittling across the floor. He loved the Christmas tree...

Jasper by Lace Age Girl

and the tinsel...
          Jasper by Lace Age Girl
Jasper by Lace Age Girl

Jasper by Lace Age Girl

It will take some time, but the two cats are gradually getting closer. 

This year I only made five Christmas cards. I love how they turned out, but they took me so long! The four below were made in my sister's studio - I spent a wonderful week with her in early December. 

       Card by Lace Age Girl

          Card by Lace Age Girl

    Card by Lace Age Girl

               Card by Lace Age Girl

 The final one I made for my friend Amanda. She has been such an inspirational artist for me,as well as a great conversationalist. Her shop is called Amanda's of Mogo - one of my favourite arty shops...

Christmas collage by Lace Age Girl

Christmas collage by Lace Age Girl

Wishing you all more sleep. more health and more happiness!

New Year by Lace Age Girl

Love and hugs to you all,
Jesse XXX