Sunday, 17 March 2019

A New Perspective on Problems

Hello my friends across the world,

I'm focusing on natural beauty and our precious world today as I join Wen's Simply Neutrals Party # 54. It makes me feel better in the face of all that's happening in my life at the moment. I haven't had a chance to do any arty stuff at all, but I can share some of the beauty I've observed, and an inspiring experience.                                                           

These are some hydrangeas from my garden this Summer just past... I love the gentle pastel shades with their tonal variations.

Below, a single leaf with rain drops I noticed on the ground  - we haven't had rain in so long, and it's raining now. So comforting after a long hot Summer breaking heat records again.

Life has been such a roller coaster lately. It seems everything has been breaking down at once.

After spending two weeks loading software and moving data across, my new computer worked like a dream. Then it died mysteriously after a week. My teenage son built it from hand selected parts, and we are having trouble working out which part has died. It's so frustrating in a house of computer junkies, now I am using a horrible old, slow laptop with a worn out space bar and vowels 'a' and 'e', and I am missing my passwords, my favourite software and photos...

Our household has also been suffering blackouts day and night due to a faulty earth leakage detector, then our air conditioner leaked water all over my favourite vintage books from 1890 ( I almost cried!), our hot water system died (cold showers!), and my car battery left me stranded. It was getting ridiculous, and we were feeling so frustrated.

On Friday it was the day of the world school student strike for climate change. Both our younger teens were sick. We wanted to go to support our local kids but my partner had an urgent medical appointment in Canberra, so we decided I would represent us all and join the march in Canberra. As my partner nobly put it, "My health problem really only affects one person and our family, but climate change affects us all."

So I marched with the school students in Canberra for two hours (my arms are still sore from holding up my sign!). What an uplifting experience it was to be alone in a sea of people all keen for action and democracy. It gave me a fresh perspective...

It made me see most of our problems as "First world" problems - our luxuries letting us down. How lucky we are!

Listening to the students' speeches, reading the signs they carried, and seeing so many standing in support of a clean energy revolution via the media later was heartening. The school students were joined by university students and thousands of adults young and old. Many stopped me and asked to take a photo of my banner, and people congratulated me on my signs. One of the photos taken of me held a surprise  - graffiti angel wings in perfect place!

Some people didn't like that sign as much as the other side:

I think the words "intergenerational theft" are powerful, dark and guilt-inducing. Maybe it was too negative. But I spent all the previous evening trying to hone what I wanted to say so I could add my own voice of support to the students' march. 

I liked this sign in particular:

The media in Australia has been largely very supportive, with many making the point that most of the world's most educated and eminent scientists are in agreement that leaders must take urgent action to try to slow the effects of using fossil fuels or face more floods, bushfires, famines, sea-level rise and hotter temperatures.

Some of the students' signs were funny, some were sad to see, showing their fears. Many young children took the opportunity to express their concerns at the microphones.

It was rewarding to be out of my comfort zone, talking to strangers and making warm connections with them, being part of the action. The School Strike for Climate Change happened in 1769 places in 112 countries around the world. 16 year old Greta Thunberg who inspired the first school strike for climate change last year has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I know these pictures don't all fit the theme of 'Simply Neutrals' (perhaps 'carbon neutral' is stretching it?), but I'm joining Wen on her blog, AppleApricot, as I know she feels a close connection to nature too.

Wishing you time to tread in peace among trees soon.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

One day at a time

Hello Friends,

Recently I made this wall hanging for a friend who is going through a tough time, having experienced domestic violence and psychological abuse for many years by her husband. At last she decided to leave, the best decision she could make for her and her teenage daughter's safety. She is much relieved to be out of the 'cooking pot', and is now embarking on a new job, in a new home, and rebuilding her life.

I wanted to give her some support from far away, something that might help her feel better. It's only a little token, but she was very touched when I gave it to her. I chose her favourite tone, aqua, and the bird nest to symbolise her new safe home. The sentiment 'One day at a time' was one I've found useful in huge upheavals. A few other sentiments appealed to me too, so I made a few extras that she could change depending on what spoke to her, and tucked them into an envelope on the back. They were: 

Be still
Grateful heart
Be brave

The image of birds is a copy of a vintage postcard. The wall hanging was assembled on a blue canvas vintage book cover and hung with seam binding. I used a found feather, gum leaf and skeleton leaf, old sheet music, old pearl beads, blue and gold tissue paper and various scraps of vintage doilies, fabrics and laces to embellish it.

Now to introduce you to my new girls... At last I have a small chook pen and four darling hens who I hope will lay some fresh eggs for us in the next few weeks. They are four different kinds: A Crested Cream Legbar (who lays blue eggs), a Silver Laced Wyandotte, a Silver Pencilled Wyandotte and a mystery (the cream coloured one). They are settling in well and when they are big enough I will try free-ranging them. Hawks can easily take them when they are small.
Here they are:

I look forward to watching them contentedly forage, making those happy chooky noises I remember from my childhood. I'm linking up to Wen's Simply Neutrals Party #53 at her blog, AppleApricot.

Follow the link to find gorgeous glimpses of neutral beauty and art. Wishing you a smiling heart,
and a hug,

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Christmas and New Year Cards

Hello Friends,

Can you believe we are almost through the first month of the new year? With kids back to school, I'm starting to catch up. I sent some Christmas and New Year cards out late - yes, that's typical me! So I thought they deserved a viewing here. (I didn't want to spoil the surprise before they were received!)

A New Year Fairy with embossed butter foil wings, a lace collar, gold star fabric, scrap booking scraps and teabag layers...

Christmas fairy

A special wall hanging for a friend...

Christmas wall hanging

I started in Photoshop, combining several images and adding digital stamps. This was printed, torn and aged using Tim Holtz Distress ink. The base was some old cardboard, torn and tattered.

Christmas wall hanging

I embellished it with some old music, a floral doiley, a gathered silk striped scrap, some dried flowers and leaves, scrap booking paper, a heart scrap,  a used teabag, doiley scraps, a wooden gold painted star, fabric scraps and a seam binding ribbon to hang it.

Christmas wall hanging

Christmas wall hanging

I had fun with the colours on this fairy wall hanging. The crimson and pink laces were from old clothes from opportunity shops. I used an embossed silver butter foil trimmed to shape, some old music, some special tissue paper I'd saved for years,  a gold painted wooden star with crimson glitter, hand-made paper, a crochet doiley scrap and fabric scraps all layered onto a vintage book cover

Christmas wall hanging by Lace Age Girl

 It was fun playing with a different palette of colours. I used the old book scraps as texture, too.

Christmas wall hanging by Lace Age Girl

This fairy was layered onto a gold star fabric scrap, an embossed pattern inked in gold and some vintage paper, lace and fabric scraps. I love how effective the black striped ticking looks here. The bow was a salvaged one from a long-ago gift.

Christmas fairy card by Lace Age Girl

Christmas fairy card by Lace Age Girl

Christmas fairy card by Lace Age Girl

Now I'm showcasing some special cards I received from lovely friends. The first is from Dorthe. It features a gorgeous bird and a vintage Winter dressed child. The leaf has lovely dimension and glitter along the veins, and the scrap of fragile brown lace looks very old. Dorthe has cleverly used many layers and details of text, print, texture and glitter, finished with two pretty orange stars. I love it, Dorthe!

The next one is from Suzy. I am always intrigued by her layers of aged papers, fabric scraps and text stitched on and put together so perfectly with the chosen Christmas image. It looks deceptively simple, but it just works beautifully all together. Thanks, Suzy! I love your card too.

This card is one Suzy sent to me last year, and it deserves showing. It has a gorgeous fine black lace scrap -I don't know how Suzy has the heart to cut into these vintage laces, but what she makes with them is a worthy display. Suzy has layered fabric scraps, vintage music and a sentiment with a beautiful Christmas image stitched on to the card. Beautiful, Suzy!

To finish, a little splash of colour from one of my dahlias, a very old-fashioned flower I planted just last year. They are stunningly gorgeous happy flowers.

Now, on with the year's tasks so I can get to play as well!

Sending love,

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Nature Shadow Box

Happy New Year 2019 to all my dear blogland visitors and friends!

A little natural wonder to start the year...

I decorated this shadow box using scrapbook papers and natural findings including butterflies, feathers, dragon flies, leaves, insect eggs (they didn't hatch) a cicada and some tiny dry crabs and and sea urchins I picked up at the beach.


Before I put away my pink gumleaves from the previous post I couldn't resist one more play... such gorgeous tones and textures. I love the soft pink galah feathers I found on the ground with the leaves too.

These butterflies were found on the side of the road where I was walking one day, probably hit by a car - but not too damaged, so I brought them home.  I'm considering how to save them from being damaged.

The colours don't look so neutral close up!

Walking on our local beaches I often find sea urchin shells and black shark egg shells - usually in rocky areas.

Neil Gaiman's words express the wish I send you for 2019:  

 I'm joining Wen at Appleapricot for Simply Neutrals # 52, where others will be displaying lovely neutral colours for us to appreciate. Come over and see...

Sunday, 23 December 2018

A Christmas Angel and Cards

Hello friends,

As Christmas draws closer I'd like to share with you the few hand-made Christmas cards I managed to complete this year, and most of which will be received after Christmas since I am not a good time planner!

The first card features gold foil I saved from the tops of butter, put through a Cuttlebug with an ornate die cutter.

It's finished with scraps of old music, hand-made paper, lace, a script scrapbook paper, a wedding lace motif, a scrap of lace, some gorgeous striped silk shot with gold and two rusty bells. I put two holes in the top of the card for ribbon so it can be hung. 

 I love this tender image, and used photoshop to make it monochrome with a purple tinge.

The next card uses the same image but in a pinkish tint. I love this pink gumleaf that gives it an Australian feel. I painted the background with shades of pink and mauve watery paints and shimmery gold spray. 

Some frayed open weave fabric, pieces of brown and white lace, some old sheet music and gold leaves to compliment the gold butter foil, again put through a cuttlebug.

The card below on the right is my daughter many years ago as a little angel. The left is a found image, using butter foil wings.

Some baby fairies and a lovely mother and child image feature on the cards below.

What magnificent dahlias have flowered now. I picked them just before it rained.

The card below has a stamped and glitter-embossed angel, on a glitter embossed dark background. I used an old book spine for an aged look, some silver butter foil embossed, a crochet scrap, a striped gold and cream silk scrap, gold leaf trim with a white button.

The angel below right is the same stamp, but embossed with black ink and powder over a dark embossed background. Some starry gold sheer fabric, more embossed butter foil, old sheet music, a scrap from an old red dress belt with a flower petal, crochet scrap and button are layered over a scrap of a grey silk blouse with red stitching and some black ticking stripes.

The baby angel is done in a pink, gold and black theme, with tiny rusty bells on the wooden star.

I experimented with a beige and red theme here. The fabric has red roses on a beige linen, and the angel was stitched on through the layeres, something Suzy showed me to do. The angel is stamped on in brown on coffee-dyed paper. Thanks, Suzy! The gold fake diamantes came on a large roll, so I cut a strip to give it a festive feel.

I also spent time altering a cheap Christmas angel which I purchased at a garage sale. I didn't think to take a photo of her before I started re-dressing her. She was a simple hanging glass heart bauble, with a skimpy skirt at the sides made of white gauze netting, with plastic glitter outlined wings. Definitely an under-dressed angel, so I spent an enjoyable morning giving her a new dress and wings.

I used scraps of mauve lace cut from old clothes, a doiley dyed pinky mauve, and some vintage doilies in cream and white. An ear ring is at her waist, some old broken beads hang down with two small golden bells on the ties.

This flower hat decoration clipped onto her dress with its sweet feathery bits hanging down. 

The feathers to cover the plastic wings were found on a bush walk.

These old bells I had were used on our fire truck for the Christmas Eve Santa Run. I sprayed them pink with mat chalk paint.

Now for a very Australian Christmas ritual...

These large Christmas bells were tied into the front of our local fire truck one year for the annual Christmas Eve 'Santa Run', when we take the trucks out filled with volunteer fire fighters wearing Santa hats. Santa himself sits in the passenger seat, and the volunteers throw lolly bags out for the children as we drive along every street in the neighbourhood, dividing the trucks into different areas.

Santa used to ride up on the back of the trucks, but due to changes in safety regulations he now sits in comfort inside the cabin of the truck. This ritual takes place across Eurobodalla, with many local volunteer fire brigades joining in. It's a time to remind people to donate to their brigade so they can afford various extra equipment such as navigation instruments, electronic hose reels, sunhats, folding chairs, drinks and snacks to pack on the trucks for fire-fighting.

As Santa rides around with sirens blasting out to call the children out excitedly, families gather to wave from their footpaths and driveways. While the children line up with arms outstretched to catch the lolly bags, adults toss their donation envelopes into buckets held out of the truck by the volunteers. Often packs of beer or bottles of wine are put into the bucket as thanks for helping to protect the area from bushfires.

In 2009, I got to be a Santa! I had the fun task of sweating in a Santa suit in the Summer heat as our brigade drove around one Christmas Eve. 

I put on a very deep gruff fake voice and Santa laugh, and totally covered by the Santa outfit, I don't think many recognised Santa's gender change!!! Even my own children, then quite young, didn't recognise my deep 'Ho Ho Ho'. Not even when I saw they'd left their own street without permission and commented gruffly, "Does your mother know you are not in your street?". They high-tailed it home, in time for the fire truck to arrive there, ready to catch their lollies. 

I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas, and hope your 2019 brings you closer to your dreams.