Saturday 24 December 2011

Photography this week

I took the children to the Auckland botanical gardens yesterday.  We had a a wonderful morning strolling through the gardens looking at the sculptures on display and all the lovely plants.  It was interesting to listen to their comments on the sculptures.  They were very critical of them but in a very nice way, which really impressed me.  Many of them were very beautiful and some just very interesting.  One I didn't like at all my daughter told me she love it because it made a very good statement about our environment.  It made me look at the sculpture in a different way and I could see where she was coming from.  It was a lovely morning together what Christmas is all about.

The children's favourite sculpture.  They were soft and squishy (15 year olds explanation) and really fun.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Sketchbook challenge

I have managed 4 pages this week which is much better than my past couple of weeks effort.  For the first 3 pages I tried using white pen on black paper.  This was quite a challenge to work in an opposite way.

An old soda bottle found in a park.  I challenged myself to do this in 10 minutes.

A collection of leaves around the swimming pool

Water patterns on the tiles around the pool.  I thought this could have great potential for a quilt idea.

The last page I did this week was a pen and watercolour page. 

 I don't really like this theme this month and I might just try doing what ever I feel like drawing.  I might actually get more done.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Christmas quilting

"It is almost Christmas....this week it is Christmas...I'll need to get to sleep really fast and every one needs to go to bed at 8 o'clock and get up at seven o'clock  on Christmas day"  I can hear my 7 year old in the background talking in a non stop monologue.  He is so excited about Christmas.  I hope his forecast about a 7 o'clock start on Christmas morning comes true.  It would be bliss but I know it will be more like 5 o'clock with bells on and rearing to go.   

I love this season of secrets, special smells, festive colours and crinkly sounds.  In New Zealand we celebrate Christmas in summer (although you would be excused for thinking it was winter after the weather the last 2 dropped 8 degrees (Celsius)  or 46 degrees (Fahrenheit) over night Brr)  I also love making Christmas things for people and making little quilts.  It is so wonderful to see people opening much loved and thought though gifts. 

This year I made a list and put a lot of thought into special handmade gifts and got none finished.  So my quilting for Christmas this year is in my head tucked away.  This is what I would have made if I had more time and organised myself earlier.

  • A quilt for my boys.  They still don't have one for their beds even though the material has been sitting there for a year.  I did get a quilt top finished though
  • A quilt art piece for my sister-in-law.  She loves my work and really treasures it.  I would have made a violin instead she will be getting a pile of scrapbooking supplies.
  • A Bag for my mother for her felting supplies...instead she got a felting book and and quilting arts book
  • A canvas of Christ for my husband.  He would have loved it but instead he got a subscription to a magazine
  • I would have made a handmade Christmas ornament for each family in my extended family to put on their Christmas trees.
  • I want to make 2 mini Christmas trees for me but I really don't think it is going to happen

So this year it has been a time of ideas which didn't come to fruition.  Maybe if I keep these ideas tucked up in my heart they will grow into something for next year.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Cleaning and sorting my art studio

Isn't it great being able to clean out the house and get it looking good for 5 minutes (no exaggeration :)  I really love my house being ordered and tidy even if it is only for short moments. 

I have had my nearly 20 year old come home from university and had to re order my whole house to fit her back in.  This meant relocating my art studio out of a room into the end of the lounge and moving 3 bedrooms around.  Not an easy thing to do.  I have worked solidly for 5 days.  3 1/2 of those days was spent just doing my studio,  I really didn't realise that I had so much wonderful stuff.  My husband cheekily teases me about my collection sometimes but values my need to create.  I began to wonder how much my 'collection' was worth and gave up after a few minutes when I realised I didn't really want to know. 

These are the before shots of my area

These are the pictures of what my area is like now.

Sewing table

Material storage and art equipment and books

Cutting table and scrapbooking things

Art equipment and art journals

This is my 'doorway' into my area.  The room is partitioned off by 2 book cases and a false wall.

I love the light in the new studio.  The windows are great.  I love the extra floor space too but on the down side I have less wall area to use so my storage is really lacking.  I am actually very surprised to get everything back into this space but I did it and it is so nice to have it finished ready for me to mess up (as you can see I already have started this process!)

Now I need some sleep so I have enough energy for Christmas :)

Time flies

I am sitting here contemplating where this year has gone.  It seems only yesterday that it was last Christmas and it is here again.  The last 2 weeks have gone by in a blur too.  We have had so much happening, a few dramas and very little art work.  (or blogging sorry!)

 I spent last week at school camp.  It was fantastic and I had a blast but it meant very little time doing anything to do with art. The kids were amazing and we had a lot of fun.  I did an art group on one of the days.  I had the kids make a bridge they could stand on out of newspaper and string.  It was a great activity and they did very well.  Most of them got the bridges to work. 

I left a long list of things to do at home while I was away as I had 25 people to dinner on Sunday. When I got home I had a wonderful surprise to find it was mostly completed. They had worked so hard.  I felt so supported and loved.  It was such a relief to know that I had only minor stuff to prepare for Sunday night.  The evening was wonderful.  We had a beautiful meal, shared gifts,  sang carols and spent sometime sharing the wonderful things that had happened to each of us during the year.  I was touched to hear some of the children's expressions of gratitude.  Simple and profound....I am grateful for family,  my friends,  that I have a mum who loves me and that I achieved my highest grades this year.  It was a really special family moment that I wish I had recorded in someway. 

My Beautiful Treasures

They all grow up so fast and these moments seem to melt away into far distance memories.  I found this song by Taylor swift on YouTube about this.  It bought many tears to my eyes as I lose a child to University next year and have another one only home from university for a short time until she finds work. When my children where small it felt like they would never grow out of nappies now it feels like the time has just disappeared into a puff of smoke. I hope you enjoy it.

I am trying to value every moment more so this means sometimes that I have to re prioritise my life to make sure I give value to these important moments in my life.  My art will always still be a huge part of my life but for the past 2 weeks it has had to take a back seat to my family and there special and precious moments.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Photography this week

My camera has had a lot of action this week.  I took a lot of photos at my nephews wedding and at the school athletics.  I also had the opportunity to photograph some of the houses for Christmas in Karaka a major school fundraiser which showcases 14 elite homes in South Auckland.  It was amazing experience to photograph such beautiful homes and displays.  I am going to show you a sneaky look at some of the beautiful ornaments on the trees and in the homes that I photographed.  The challenge with these photographs was that I couldn't identify the house.  To do this I photgraphed close ups of the displays,  blurred backgrounds and chose non identifyable parts of the home. It would be a lovely reminder of our own Chistmas time in our own families to record how we decorate at christmas and what we love around us.


Thursday 1 December 2011

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

Well this week has not gone well in the sketchbook front.  Life has certainly taken over and taken charge.  I am many days 'behind' (if it is really behind) with my goal of drawing every day this year.  Sigh..... but I am pleased that I have done so much drawing even if I didn't quite complete the goal of everyday. 

In the southern hemisphere we celebrate Christmas when we have schools break up,  summer holidays,  work breakups and every party imaginable. It is a very hectic and busy time.  I have not had a full day at home for 3 weeks so unfortunately my art has taken a bit of a back seat.  Next week I am going on school camp for 5 days so I won't be posting for a week.  I am really looking forward to having time out in the bush with 3 classes of kids and I am looking forward to exploring more of the Hunua ranges.  I am hoping to take my camera and sketchbook.  I don't know if I will get much done but I am making a goal to to do a little each day.

Have a neat week.  Happy stitching and sketch booking
Catherine xxxx

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Homemade gifts

As I approach Christmas I think about all of the wonderful presents I would like to make for my loved ones.  I have superb ideas but never the time to get through them all.  I have made many presents in the past and I have really enjoyed watching the delight on peoples faces as the have opened them.  But I have found the older my children have got, the busier my life has become and the less gifts I have had time to make. Even though it is the thought that counts I really feel a bought gift doesn't quite measure up to a homemade gift.

 I have been given many thoughtfully made gifts in my life.  The most precious of these have been made by my children.  I love their handmade cards,  toilet tubes covered in glitter and their hand prints dipped in paint and printed on card.  They are just so priceless and beautiful. When I receive a thoughtfully created gift I love to think about the thought, love and time that has gone into this gift.  The blood seat and tears that have been given to give me this joy. 

My children have all gone through Playcentre for their early childhood education.  This organisation is quite unique to NZ.  It is run by parents who are given education to be early childhood educators.  It's focus is on learning through play and learning about the world around them.  Creativity is really encouraged through many mediums.  My children have made me many gifts at Paycentre.  It is great to encourage our children to give to others and to have their work valued.

My eldest child started a tradition a few years ago in our home.  We each draw a name out of the hat and then we have to make a handmade gift for this person.  My daughter saves all these gifts under the Christmas tree till last and then we each take turns to unwrap our present with everyone watching.  It has become a favourite tradition in our family.  Each year the presents change but the love never does.   I am going to start my gift this week and I am so excited.  I am so looking forward to sharing the christmas season together.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Photography this week

These are some photos of The New Zealand temple.  This is a special building to my religion and to me.  It is set on a hill overlooking lush farmland in the middle of the Waikato in the North Island.  It is one of the most peaceful and tranquil places to visit.

Reflections on glass in the visitors centre. 

Thursday 24 November 2011

Skechbook challenge: 7 days of drawing

This week has found me drawing and painting more animals from photos.  I am slowly finding this subject easier with more and more practice.  I am actually enjoying drawing animals now!

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