Thursday, 31 January 2013

Miles Franklin

Lately I have had a bit of an obsession with Miles Franklin and all things to do with pioneer Australia.

It started when I picked up a copy of her novel My Brilliant Career, which was first published in 1901 when she was 19. Although the novel is fiction, it has long been speculated that many of the characters in the book closely resemble her family. Born in the Brindabella Ranges (close to Canberra) her family moved when she was little and she grew up in Thornford, approximately 20 kms south west of  Goulburn.

Unfortunately the dwellings on the Thornford property or at Talbingo Station no longer survive so we can only imagine the buildings she grew up in. 

I was interested to learn more about the era in which Miles Franklin grew up (she was born in 1879) so I have visited a couple of dwellings that relate to that time in the region. 

Blundell's Cottage
Blundells Cottage was built in 1860 and pre-dates Canberra. It currently sits in a prime position nestled on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, only a hop skip and jump away from the centre of the city.  When it was built the cottage was close to the Molongolo River (now the lake) and surrounded by paddocks. 

Lounge room in Blundell's Cottage
It is a wonderful example of how life was lived in this tiny cottage, and it contains many  artefacts of the era. Unfortunately though, many of the objects do not relate to the families which lived in the cottage.

If you follow the link it takes you on a virtual tour and you can experience it too. Fun!

The Kitchen at Mugga Mugga Cottage

Next visit was Mugga Mugga Cottage, another stone cottage built in the region in the 1830s. This is wonderfully preserved and all artefacts within the house belong to the Curley family who moved in in 1913, which I think gives greater understanding on how the spaces were used. I love the separate kitchen (kitchens were built separately to prevent kitchen fires burning down the rest of the property) and particularly the 'make do' approach turning fruit crates into shelves which can be seen on the right hand side of the above image. Such innovation. 


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Craft-a-noon High Tea

 A letter arrived in the post late last year.....

It was an invitation to Craft-a-noon tea along with craft instructions and we were advised to bring along an old t-shirt (this was to cut up and shape into chrysanthemum flowers)

When I arrived the table was set with Gran's best crockery. (styling by Leah)

Followed by some flowers artfully arranged in an old jam jar (flowers styled by Sheridan)

Quickly followed by baked treats (there were also freshly cooked scones but they were eaten too quickly to get a photo)

And along came some more delicious goodies, on the left are greek delicacies, right Summer delight peach bites.

After we sampled all the goodies, followed by a good yarn about all things art, craft and design we got stuck into our craft project. 

The above is the result of a fun afternoon shared by all :) Im thinking I will turn my flower into a brooch.

Have a go!
- if you click on the instruction image it will be large enough to read, and you can see they are quite simple. All you need is an old t-shirt, scissors, needle and thread, delicious baked goodies and a group of lovely friends.

oh, and dont forget the champagne.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Special Ceramic Commission

I have been asked to create a series of pots that celebrate and remember special times in a person's life for a private commission.

European Church, porcelain pot approximately 7 x 9 cm

Working directly from images I have translated the pictures by hand onto the porcelain surface.

Beach Scene, porcelain pot approximately 7 x 9 cm

Using etching and water colour techniques, the images are a pretty soft lavender colour before the firing process begins.

Canoe, porcelain pot approximately 7 x 9 cm

 After the firing process, the lavender will turn a beautiful royal blue.

 Lake, porcelain pot approximately 7 x 9 cm

Ill post some more images when the pots are complete.


Monday, 7 January 2013

Keeping Cool

Happy New Year!

Well, the new year has arrived along with summer. After a few 'English' summers in a row (where the temp stays around a perfect 25 degrees with lots of rain i.e my sort of weather) a fair dinkum Aussie summer is here.

Cicadas chrip, the days heat up to about 40 degrees whilst the nights stay warm and balmy. Weather like this makes me think the Spanish got it right with their siestas during the hottest part of the day, which then gives them the energy to stay up all night enjoying the cooler air.

My Paris Balcony print on linen
One way I have been keeping cool is wearing summer shift dresses - I have made some more in fabrics designed and printed by yours truly.

Ive worn the Paris Balcony dress a number of times already and love it. Its received plenty of compliments, including random people on the streets :)

My Red knit print on cotton
The Red Knit dress is almost finished. Im looking forward to wearing it to see what sort of reaction I get from people since the design and colour is quite bold.

Some other great tips to keep cool this summer include:

- soak your feet in a bucket of cold water (this is also a great opportunity to give yourself a pedicure)
- eat some of Jamie Oliver's 1 minute berry icecream - not only cooling, it tastes good and is good for you too!
- get up early and enjoy the cool summer mornings in the garden before the day gets too hot.
- cool down in the evenings by watering the garden and water yourself at the same time :)
- enjoy a movie and air conditioning at the cinema


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