Big News – My New Site!!

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Hello! I have some exciting news. I now have a brand new ‘all-grown-up’ website!!

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It is a lovely Squarespace site which has lots of fancy bells and whistles but still has that clean minimalist look that I love.

The only thing that I wasn’t able to bring across were all my sweet comments from my old posts so Ink Caravan Mark 1 will remain here for the time being – but I will be blogging from my new digs from now on. Please come visit me, a house (even a virtual one) is not a home till its full of lovely friends and family. Can’t wait to see you, I’ll put the kettle on. xx

Why we all need a Soggy Owl

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It’s April, why on earth would anyone write a calendar post in April?! …

Because (A) my hubbie has just complained bitterly about how utterly dumb his smart phone is having lost a whole bunch of info he’d diligently tippety-tapped into it. Notes, addresses, important dates etc. – POOF! – all gone, just like that.
At this point I gloated and pointed to my Owl Lovers Calendar.

Because (B) whilst grinning and pointing I realised I hadn’t told anyone about the very same calendar. Obviously it pays not to gloat.

Because (C) It’s April the very month I had in mind when I illustrated my owl for Shivani’s calendar! Only just April I admit, since it’s nearly over, but April non-the-less in all its wonderful sogginess.

So the moral of the story is always have a pretty paper back-up calendar, you never know which month you might be reaching for it.
And never ever gloat!!

Shivani’s My Owl Barn Owl Lovers Calendar is a free downloadable calendar you can completely customize choosing from an incredible body of work by over 50 international artists. Amongst all that goodness are wonderful submissions by Ina Hattenhauer, Christine Pym, Anna Walker, Flora Chang, Mina BraunRenee Treml … The only problem is choosing just 12!

Swap Goodness

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Lovely snail mail from the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap from my equally lovely swap partner, Sally Cooper. Such a sweet take on the theme and so true to Sally. Her Etsy shop, Jambo Chameleon is brimming with vintage trimmings and handmade goodness. If you love vintage buttons, like I do, getting this in the mail is like ‘Christmas on a stick’…
… And torture all at the same time. Ooh, I badly want to get at those buttons!
Hmmm, a discreet little slice under the lace maybe…?

I love it Sally, thank you! 

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

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Hello, Hello! I’m back in the blogging saddle. Yeehar!

A little while ago I signed up for The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap over at Beth Kempton’s inspiring Do What You Love site. The idea was to create a postcard for your swap partner that included playing with paper (and of course stitching) around the theme ‘CREATE’.

So this is my effort. It was great fun to make having stumbled across a packet of large tissue paper shapes in my kids ‘freaky-scary’ bedroom. I let those tissue pieces dictate my palette and challenged myself to stick with them. An enlightening exercise in itself since these aren’t my normal choices.

Im so glad I signed up, its great to stretch yourself and experiment. Hope my swap partner likes it. Can’t wait to see all the other postcard goodness.

Back to School, Whoo Hoo!

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Guess what?! Just last week I stumbled across this amazing online course run by Lilla Rogers (aka one of the foremost illustration agents known and admired all over the illustration and design universe) and I signed up. Eep! I have to tell you I am more than a little nervous, you should see some of the amazing artists joining me in Lilla’s virtual classroom. But I’m also super excited and looking forward to being pushed in some new directions. Wish me luck! x

Fawns and Folios

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I love the beautiful dappled coat new fawns have and how cleverly they blend into the undergrowth. Nature is amazing isn’t it.  And wonderfully inspiring. Especially when you have a Gocco machine that is hungry for more.

Truth be known my Sleepy Fawn isn’t all that new. You might remember this work-in-progress post. But all finished I figured he might be new to you. And he has an important job to help me point out something else – My shiny new online portfolio which is now sitting happily in the sliding menu. It’s where you can see all four curled up critters in my Sleepy series. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally get that folio online. Lets just say it’s been a long wait. Getting things done, now that calls for a celebration.
That is after I wake everyone up.

Top Image | Spring fawn hiding in the grass by Lewislbi | Such a lovely image and such a lucky photographer!

Liebster Love

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A gorgeous buddy, Michelle of Shelbyville recently nominated me for a Liebster award. They were new to me but Michelle says that Liebster means ‘dearest’ and the ‘award’ was created as a way to show a little love to fellow bloggers for their contribution to the blogosphere. Sounds great! It also turns out that the Liebster rules have been pretty rubbery over the years (how 3-5 questions becomes 11 is a mystery). I’ve been a bit rubbish with honouring awards in the past, I have every good intention but where does time go. However I have an idea. It’ll keep my blog nose clean and its just a tiny little tweak – a ‘Mini Liebster’ option if you will! Continue reading…

Billies and Fairies

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I’ve been stuck in the past for the last few weeks – organising finished projects, ticking off lists, fine tuning stuff. But when this project popped back to mind I had to share it. Childhood is so beautiful and fleeting it’s crazy not to.

A while ago our littlest turned six and had what every six year old girl absolutely, positively needs – a fairy party. It was no surprise. With girls you have dress-up fairy wings and sparkly skirts in the day and wonder filled fairy stories at night. Guess it comes with the territory. It was inevitable that we would have not just ours but a whole year of fairy birthday parties ahead of us…
But I have to say it was all just gorgeous!

We’re big fans of the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies so in consultation with my small ‘client’ we thought it’d be fun to create a native version for her invites. Billy Buttons were perfect. They have such a great architectural shape and sunny colour that they looked like a bunch of balloons in the arms of our fairy. They also happily lent themselves to a pattern for the invitations and to the look of the cookie pop favours.

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I’d never made cookie pops before and was thrilled and relieved when they turned out fine. I used this yummy recipe for the base and made them in both white and yellow. We liberally sprinkled them with edible glitter and packaged them up with little hand-lettered thank you tags. The above shot of the birthday girl biting into hers does make it look a tad tough but her two front teeth are wobbly so she is favouring the more reliable ones. Good thinking really, who wants the tooth fairy gate crashing the party!

It was lovely watching them all in the moment, dancing around in their pretty pastel clouds of tule, giggling and munching away on oversized billy buttons. I’m not sure who was more delighted when the cookie pops left glittery grins, me or them. But for the birthday girl it was magic right up to the very end.

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Check out lots of lovely creative spaces here.

Top Image | Billy Buttons photograph by Rika  | A photographer who’s work is wonderfully ethereal but also embraces abstraction. Just beautiful. | Image used with kind permission.

Eggs-perimenting

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It’s funny how things go.

For instance I have my partner home again after a plodding 7 week contract in Sydney – Yay! 
He’s now taking a couple of weeks off nicely coinciding with the Easter School Holidays – Perfect timing!
Right when I have a tonne of work I need to motor through – Fantastic right?!

Yeah, except my scanner chose this week to ‘give up the ghost’ – Damn!
I spent hours choosing a new one only to discover that they ‘sold the last one a few hours ago’.
And I’ve caught a rubbish virus that makes me sound like an old man who smokes an entire box of cigars, hourly.

Perhaps I was supposed to be doing other things this week.
Like channeling my inner ‘nutty photographer’, munching eggs and hanging out with the little chickens …
Who am I to argue!

Happy Easter Holidays! x

All the fun of the fair

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On Sunday we waded into a effervescent sea of face painting, ice cream licking and bad joke telling at the State Library’s Children’s Book Fair. Without a plan we ended up in the foyer of a small theatrette and found ourselves ushered in, just in time to see … LYNLEY DODD! What luck! There were a lot of great authors and illustrators speaking there but Lynley sits squarely at the top of our list. We are big ‘Hairy/Slinky’ fans. You have to love books that grab your kids so much that they can recite large wads of text off by heart and habitually turn up to dinner in a cat mask.

She was wonderful and warm just how you’d imagine. In fact, I’m sure the gentle Miss Plum is Lynley herself. Anyway – she chatted about the kink in Slinky Malinky‘s tail, how the true owners of Hairy are in fact the Donaldsons and not the Maclarys, and how she doesn’t actually own a dog – shocking the socks off the audience with that one. But the highlight was watching Miss L take the mic and ask a question. Her utterly chuffed grin lit up the whole room for me. I was watching a personal triumph. A wonderful moment of bravery and reaching out into the world. And I couldn’t think of a better person to have that brave moment with than Miss Plum.

There’s a great little article in The Age on Lynley’s appearances at the festival, and a really nice portrait by Luis Enrique Ascui too.

Breaking the Ice

Hello! It’s been a while. I hope you and yours have been well and happy.

Odd post title this, given that we have been having a particularly steamy couple of weeks in Melbourne. Entirely appropriate though. Can I just say if you’ve been following this blog you are the ‘soul of patience’ since I seem to need intermittent sabbaticals and honestly I’m amazed that anyone still shows up here. Thanks for sticking with me and to those lovely peeps who emailed me. You are big sweeties!

I’m looking forward to a fun year ahead in blogland. I’ve tonnes of catching up to do, but for now just a ‘short and sweet’ hello and another super cute author film to share. Oh, I am such a fan!

OliverJeffers2OliverJeffersSketchCredit | Stills from Oliver Jeffers Author film 2013, vimeo.

Weekend Snapshot

Had a go at weaving with Miss L resulting in something super cool for class news and a blanket for a happy mouse.
Watched KungFu Panda with the girls and then had KungFu ‘fights’ with some truly impressive moves.
Went for a walk to the boathouse, fed the ducks and slurped ice cream on a ridiculously beautiful day in Melbourne.

Hope you had a lovely lazy weekend too! x