Friday, 31 July 2009

Clothes Lines and Artisan Markets

As promised in response to some comments recently, here is my clothes line. Just an ordinary clothesline - although I do believe it folds up - not that it ever has! The bucket is for my pegs - it's tied on, so has to be tipped out when it rains and fills up with water. We are mid-winter here, so no snow, just cold weather some grim looking clouds. Sometimes there are cows over the back fence, but not today.

It appears from comments I received, that having no clothesline is a bit of an American phenomenon. It seems that many people aren't happy with the way clotheslines (full of clothes) look. We Aussies tend to tuck clotheslines out in the back yard, or in higher density areas they might be a retractable set up. So they're not really that obvious in the big picture.

More and more people are thinking 'green' and energy conservation, so the use of a clothes line makes good economic and environmental sense, providing its not raining or snowing outside. I believe this is a driving factor behind the "Right to Dry" groups in the US.

I personally do not and never have owned a dryer. If it's wet for an extended period and I really need what's still dripping on the line, then I get it off, respin it and hang it around the house for a day or so! The wind is pretty strong here since we're situated right atop the Great Dividing Range, so delicates tend to be hung on a rack in the laundry all year round, otherwise they'd either get damaged from the excessive flapping or end up down the paddock where they might get eaten by a cow!

A few of my friends do own a dryer, but they tell me they rarely use them - only on those occasions when they've forgotten to wash something they need for the next day (and its already 10pm) or if something is not quite dry after a day on the line in winter. In my case, I just have to find something else to wear!

When I lived in Sydney (too many years ago to admit) in an apartment, there was a laundry on each floor with a washing machine and dryer that was coin operated. Although they still did have a clothesline tucked away in a corner of the grounds :)

I'm finding this topic rather fascinating, so do let me know what you think about clothes lines, if you have one, if you've ever had one, or even if you want one!


Getting on to other things, I admit to being in a quandary about the lack of good artisan markets anywhere close by.

A few months ago I found that Canberra has Handmade - a quarterly market for artisans, designers and artists to show their wares. I was thrilled to see this - its the closest one yet! Perth is blessed a similar market and Sydney has the established Paddington Markets for new, hip, indie and handmade.

Yesterday while cruising around my blog list, I saw that Margarent of Konstant Kaos is attending her first Sisters Market and she also linked to Made n Thornbury - both handmade markets. How wonderful!

Now I know I live in the middle of nowhere (or everywhere?) so I've been looking at the major nearby towns with reasonable populations. There are plenty of galleries, but they only want 'art' and then at the other end of the spectrum there are general markets that have either imported goods or craft. It seems to be a case of And never the twain shall meet.

I appear to be falling through a gap in the market place. I have a great clientele and many admirers of my work, but I still have to get it out there and be seen to attract new clients.

So, what to do? I can see a need for something in say Mudgee - it's a good size town with wineries that attract a lot tourists all year round. But they very much have the gallery/market divide. As the town isn't that huge I wouldn't see a need for something frequently - but even a Christmas Designer Market would be fantastic. There are some very talented artisans in the district that surely could benefit! Am I the only one that sees this gap, and if so, do I REALLY want to be an events co-ordinator!?

OK, enough with the deep & meaningfuls! Think I'll look for a pretty picture instead to brighten my mood....

Ahhh much better :D Till next week!

(Rose quartz and amethyst sterling silver handmade bracelet with freshwater pearls in pinks and purples!)

Ooops, almost forgot to add - I've got 100 followers - YIPPEE! Thank you to Natalee of Raising Normal Kids for being number 100 :)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Some housekeeping

I've realised I've some blog housekeeping to do that I never seem to get around to in my weekly post - so here's a special post just for those chores ;)

Firstly, thank you to Jennifer of It's A Beauty Filled Life for the Kreativ Blogger Award *mwah* [air kiss ;) ]

Rules for this award:
• Thank the person who nominated you for the award
• Copy the logo and place it on your blog
• Link to the person who nominated you for this award
• List seven things about yourself that people might find interesting
• Nominate and post links to the seven Kreativ Bloggers you nominate
• Leave a comment on each of the blogs, letting them know they have been nominated

OK, seven things you might find interesting (that I haven't mentioned before ... geez its getting hard, you know me so well already!)....

1) I really love amber. It looks awful against my skin (totally the wrong colour for yellow) but that doesn't matter, I love it anyway. In fact, I covet it so much I'm getting a rather large quantity of it because I can't resist it!!! This is starting to cause me some concern LOL. But what the heck ;)

2) I was brought up on diet of show tunes and soft jazz throughout my pre-teens - teenage years.

3) The reason for this is my step mother had been a ballet dancer turned high-speed aerial dancer and singer in nightclubs in the 60s-70s.

4) I spent approximately 8 months travelling around Europe as a pre-teen.

5) When in Morocco we ventured into the medina of one of the cities and by dusk were quite lost in streets becoming increasingly narrow with rather scary looking chaps wearing scitmars standing in doorways!

6) Also when in Morocco my father was offered a camel and assorted other animals for me as a bride to a rather scrawny young man. Luckily my father said no - even though he said in my later teens that he should have taken the offer!

7) I could smell out a patisserie at approximately a kilometre distance when in France! Yum!!

Now, I’d like to nominate these seven blogs:

1. Glitterfelt Felt Stories
2. Piper & Lily
3. Handmade Kids
4. Inspired by Children
5. SquiggleMum
6. Mama Loves to Shop
7. Heavenly Handmades

Next, thank you to Momma Such of Raising My 4 Sons for the One Lovely Blog Award.

I hope she will forgive me for this link to my last 15 newly discovered blogs instead of listing new ones - I haven't had time to find another 15 just yet!

And lastly, I want to share some love - specifically with the following blogs from Bloggin Moms for Technorati Authority on the Mom Bloggers Club :)

Back to normal programming now :D

Ooops, forgot to say, the pic at the top is a pendant of serpentine and sterling silver - I love the unusual shape of this stone with its attractive patterns of black and silvery-grey on the green background. On a shorter length sterling cable chain. Quite eye catching :)


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Paris Couture Week ... and more mundane things!

Earlier this month was Paris Couture Week, when the famous names lit up the runways with their haute couture designs - good and bad (!). Some of the stand out fashions in my book were by Armani Prive, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Dior (I probably wouldn't be game enough to wear most of the Dior collection, but it certainly grabbed my eye!).

I was happy to note that jewellery was quite in evidence on the runways too - particularly statement necklaces with Armani Prive, long (and multiple) necklaces with Jean-Paul Gaultier, very long chain linked earrings (aka 'shoulder dusters') for Chanel, and Dior was into 'bling' and pearls both in necklaces and big drop earrings.

Of course, life down here on the farm is a bit more basic that the wearing of any of these couture fashions, and with three children running rampant, definitely not the place for high fashion. But it is nice to admire and daydream about :)

Term break is still in full swing here and yes, still lots of visitors and jobs to do. Unfortunately the rose garden is now overdue for both a prune and a weed - NOT my favourite job. Yep, it never ends.

By the way, I was interested to note the comments I received on my last post (re: my washing being on the clothes line for days) and found out that clothes lines are a thing of the distant past for many in the USA. This amazes me as of course I don't even have a clothes dryer! Then I found out about "The Right to Dry" group and well... what can I say!? Do YOU have a outside clothes line? What do you think about clothes lines vs dryers?

I have had a tiny amount of time to do some blog surfing and want to mention Mezz of Creative Outlet. I met Mezz in person quite a few years ago at the Sydney Bead & Gem Show and was glad to get re-acquainted with her recently. I have since started to read her blog more regularly -she writes great posts - do check them out!

The other blogger I was glad to see was Hilary from 57 Design Studio. Hilary went off and renovated her house a few months ago and was so busy she didn't get to blog much at all. But she's getting back into the swing of it now and has been creating, not just jewellery, but has branched out into paper crafts as well.

If you are an Aussie blogger, are you a member of any Australian blog groups? Through Anne of The Tall Poppy I have found both Aussie Bloggers and Blog Chicks - do check them out if you don't know of them already and join up! The more the merrier :)

For today's pic I chose a piece where I had a bit of a play with colour - in a subtle way. To add some fun to this unusual shaped agate I added some neon blue apatite. I like how the clasp reflects the shape of the agate too. It's a long strand that can be wrapped around into a two strand short necklace as shown in the picture.

I also had a query that it wasn't too obvious where you could see my other work, so please check out my website at to see more!

Till next week - have a good one!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Rainy days and school holidays

My life this week has been a whirlwind of visitors and cooking, children darting everywhere you turn and a laundry mound that is rapidly becoming Mt. Washmore!

Our school term ended last Friday with a talent show at which two of my children participated. My son, who has been playing the piano for six months got up in the very first spot. He was embarrassed - at 11 remember how you got embarrassed about everything? The realisation that he rushed a bit and made a few small mistakes made him (after it was all over of course) want to do it again - but better this time! We had to explain that life is a lot like that - full of occasions where we wish we could do it over again differently! You've just got to give it your best shot when you have the chance.

One of the twins also played a couple of short pieces on the piano and considering she's only been playing for less than three months, was very brave to get up there in front of the whole school and associated parents!

Since then, the weather has been, whilst not bitterly cold, definitely wintry and drizzly. The washing hung on the line for four days as it just never cleared long enough to dry it. Children on holidays + mud = more dirty clothes, so the piles of laundry have been steadily rising.

We've been inundated with visitors which is fairly unusual. One of the things about living out in the middle of nowhere, is that most people don't visit very often at all. It's just too far out of their way to pop in. Things must have changed, or maybe they're bored with the wet weather too, and we've had people in and out every day this week.

This has also meant mounds of cooking. Over the past few years I've managed to reduce the amount of time in the kitchen (outside of mealtimes) to only cooking a batch of biscuits every so often to keep the children and husband happy. Well this week I've done deserts, roasts, some of my 'special' meals, biscuits, cookies, scones, pancakes..... And just to add to it, hubby brought in a huge bag of grapefruit to make into marmalade.... *sigh*.... so 17 jars later....

Needless to say, there's not been much time for surfing around the web and checking out other blogs and sites. Although I did get time to see the gorgeous work of Gretchen of Chichiboulie. Gretchen lives in the north of France with her family and does some gorgeous design and illustration work. To look at her art makes you feel young and fancy-free (like a child on school holidays perhaps!?) Do have a look at Gretchen's Boulie Blog - it's beautiful!

So the upshot of the past week is that I'm basically feeling over-domesticated. I'm ready to hide my head in the sand to get five minutes peace and my bench is looking very neglected - even though new stones have arrived that are just screaming out to be made into something. Perhaps next week will be quieter?

The picture for today is a necklace I managed to make BEFORE the school holidays - I love the slightly eclectic and rich combination of oranges, yellows with a touch of green and red. Made with carnelian, sardonyx, agate, sunstone, citrine, garnet, prehnite, calcite and freshwater pearls in green, bronze and russet.

Full of impact, life and colour it's perfect for taking my mind off the semi-feral children that come with a term break. Do you agree? :D

Till next!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

A creative burst

Creativity has been flowing since my big pre-spring clean up last week! I'm still feeling refreshed and have energised and consequently I'm starting to see the new pieces for spring come together in soft, muted and pastel colours. A couple of quite bold ones appearing too! I'm glad I'm getting a bit done now as the next two weeks are school holidays. Trying to concentrate with three children rumbling around - playing, fighting, practicing the piano, practicing dance and of course, just being children (AKA sweet but annoying) will be difficult!

There was a great response to my new blog finds list last week - its great to check out new places and people, isn't it!

With my creative rush I haven't had a lot of time for browsing around, however I did venture onto Kelly's blog at Macaroni & Glue. She's a valued member of Creative Bloggers but I haven't looked at her paper goods in a while. Last time I did there was an emphasis on retro style but I'm impressed to see she now has a fresh, modern style going as well under another shopfront on Etsy. Great work Kelly!

I always try to return the favour of a comment if I can and while I was doing so at EP Designs, I notice Elena has a "pink Saturday" feature. What a great idea, particularly if you feel drawn to a colour. Of course, mine would have to be green ;).

Today's pic is a really chic necklace - quite modern yet I think it will fit into any fashion era comfortably. Made with matte black onyx given a lift - subtle yet full of impact - with the addition of sparkling faceted gems - grass green peridot, golden citrine, rich red garnet and deep purple amethyst. Do you like it too?

Back to the workbench before the holidays begin! Till next :)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Winter mistaken for spring - but not for long!

I did it, I did it! I spent two whole days in the most disorganised room in the house (see post last week) and it is now pristine! I threw A LOT of stuff out, re-organised and moved things around and I feel so much lighter in myself!

Hubby is really pleased as he finally has his table back in his possession and although he hasn't finished re-organising that little area it is well on its way.

Of course, the rest of the house is suffering somewhat in comparison now...but I think I'll attack that another day.

The weather has turned very icy here - although the skies are a vivid blue and the grass is green due to rain we've had over the last month. So it is easy to lull yourself into a sense of spring from the warmth inside the house - until you go outside of course! Then you feel the wintry bite and retreat inside very quickly.

The springlike looking weather has inspired me to work with a burst of soft, pretty colours so I thought I would share these delicately coloured earrings that are of new jade (serpentine), freshwater pearl and rose quartz.

I found a great group - Unique Women in Business at the by Earth Expressions blog. I love the idea behind this group - it's fantastic to see women banding together to help each other towards success!

Recently, I received the same award from two fellow bloggers - Miriam from Angelshair and Terry from Magicalbeadstalk gave me this:

The rules of the award are:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award."

So here are my 15 newly discovered 'lovely' blogs!
Theta Mom
Mommy Words
5 kids, 2 labs, 1 lizard and a hermit crab
Piece of Cake Decorating
I'm Still Standing
Shabby Chicks
Paris Couture Antiques
My Insanity
Inca Kids, Fair Trade & Sustainable Living
Keeper of the Cheerios
Click Here
The Crazy Suburban Mom
Sweet Serendipity
Witchetty Art

Gosh, that's a list and half!

Cheers for now,


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