Thursday, August 25, 2011

Revisiting the seventies and a little bit of art

So Saturday night was our annual progressive street dinner party, but this year we decided to give it a theme...70's - yeah! This is such fun, and if you have fun neighbours like me, you should definitely give it a go. The idea is that you start at someone's house for a course, then work your way through every course at a different! (And no need to drive anywhere, so you can have that extra wine - woops)

I ended up with the main course, and in keeping with the theme, cooked beef stroganoff with noodles, and went with a 70's bohemian vibe with my table setting, and my outfit was inspired by Stevie Nicks, tambourine and all.   I tell ya, throw a few hats and wigs and instruments into the mix, and it makes for a wild night. (That's me rocking out with the tambourine above...)

The Menu...

Prawn cocktail
Lemon Chicken with rice
Beef Stroganoff with noodles
Trifle and Fondue
Cheese and lollies (ooh, and port!)

I have also been inspired lately (I guess with the weather warming up) to begin running again...I have always kept myself fit, but in the last couple of years, ahem, I was exploring other aspects of myself...hmmm, too much head time is definitely not a good thing - I find that now that I am back into my running, and balancing that with yoga (which I have fallen head over heels - literally - in love with - why did I not begin sooner?) I feel fantastic! I loved it the other day when the yoga teacher described the twists we were doing as being like wringing out a dirty dish cloth - releasing all the rotten toxins from our bodies - love that! (Especially as there would have been plenty of toxins after Saturday night - he hee)

I am also trying to eat healthier, which is kind of a given once you start exercising and seeing the results...your body just craves good food. That's not to say I don't indulge, because I definitely do - I am just mindful of when I am eating, and if I choose to eat a piece of cake, I ask myself, "do I really want that?" and if the answer is yes, then I totally enjoy it. (Sometimes we reach for the sweet stuff out of habit, don't you think?)

Organic dark chocolate is my saving grace...if I crave something sweet, a couple of squares of this stops those sugar cravings in their tracks...either on it's on or melted into some low fat hot milk with cinnamon sprinkled on top - yum!

I bought a George Foreman grill and have fallen in love...(I was going to take a picture of me kissing said grill, but thought that may be a bit much...hee hee)

I get bored with sandwiches for lunch, and indeed find bread a bit too 'heavy' for my temperamental stomach (don't start me), so I love to make wraps, but sticking them in the old 'George' takes them to the next level...I love tuna, cream cheese and spinach, but yesterday decided to go vegetarian and first grilled some butternut pumpkin and red capsicum, then filled my wrap with Persian Feta (omg), semi-dried tomatoes, which I always keep in a jar in the fridge - these babies spice up so many things, spinach, pesto and mushroom, then added the pumpkin and capsicum and grilled the wrap - YUM! Healthy and delicious.
And look who I snapped flying out of our pool...every year this duck and it's mate decide to land in our swimming pool...I think they are kind of cute, but the husband shoos them away - it seems he doesn't find them as lovely as me...QUACK...I love the colour beneath it's weeks - hmmm, see inspiration really does strike when you least expect it - I'd love to 'dip' the ends of my hair in this colour, but I don't know if I'm brave enough...

And yes, there have been fits and bursts of creativity too...I admire all you girls out there that are creative every day...just doesn't work that way for me - I always seem to be distracted by something else to do - house to clean, meals to cook, kids to drive to and from wherever. But when I am in the flow, I totally get absorbed in the process, and really enjoy it.

This is another altered book I am making - they are such fun, and cost vitually no dollars. I picked this one up at an op shop for maybe 50 cents, or a dollar. It's one of those old childrens' dictionaries, with the really cute pictures.

I tore out lots of pages (I always keep them for other projects) then began applying Gesso to them. Some white, some black. Some of the little pictures are just too gorgeous to cover, so I paint around them, as you can see below, and inspiration will strike. How sweet is this little poem? It reminded me of Miss Vanessa and her seeds...

The other pages I have just begun to work on...the fairy page above was created by tearing a hole in several pages, then glueing an image on the last page then sticking the pages together, so you can see the fairy through a 'frame'. I then sprinkled some glitter around it - so pretty. The flowers are some I have collected and pressed from my garden. I don't use anything elaborate, just press them between some paper towell in the pages of some telephone books. The other week I picked some little daisies while on a walk, and made a daisy chain which I have pressed and am waiting to dry. I always collect feathers on my walks too (little gifts from the universe, but I shall tell you of that another time), and shall add them too. I have just used paint for the background - keep layering, glueing, painting, whatever, until it looks pleasing to you.

These are such fun, and if you don't draw or paint, you can print off images from the internet, or rip pages from an old book or magazine - as you know I love collecting quotes, and enjoy using them in these books. I think they make lovely gifts for someone, or with the pages left fairly bare, a beautiful journal to write or doodle in.

Here is what the pages looked like before the magic begins...
...and with the Gesso...a blank canvas, just waiting for some magic. (And if blank paper scares you, don't overthink it, just start...I promise you, the magic will happen - there are NO mistakes)

I know this has been a somewhat lengthy post...goodness, I was kinda chatty, wasn't I? But hopefully I have inspired you, if not to host a progressive dinner party, then to perhaps begin altering a little book of your own. Let me know if you do - I'd love to see them.

Have a wonderful weekend friends...remember to enjoy the small things xxx

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Little Secret...shhh

I have a sneaky little confession to make...I have a new is consuming large amounts of my time, and I think I need an intervention! I have discovered pinterest and it is awesome! You know how much I love my magazines, and collecting inspiring photos...well this is all that and more...but, be warned, if you have not yet discovered it, it is highly addictive! Go check out my inspiration if you like.

In the meantime, I have borrowed some images from there to take us on a little adventure, because I am sick of Melbourne's cold, wet weather...we can but let's hitch up our gypsy wagon, to my little friend
isn't she adorable? and let's hit the road...I hope you are dressed for a gypsy adventure? Perhaps something amazing from my new favourite place Spell and the Gypsy...

...and don't forget your cowboy boots - yeehaw!Perhaps some gypsy jewells...
Let's take the path less travelled...
to discover hidden doorways...
in forests of green...then picnic by the ocean, sharing laughter and music

...and paella cooked on the campfire...
and washed down with big glasses of sangria...(oops, getting a bit tipsy...)

Then let's watch the sun set across the ocean, then dance the night away to gypsy sounds...

Feeling sleepy? Rest your head a while inside the little gypsy's cosy and warm
In the morning let's celebrate the new dawn with some yoga on the sand...

Before we head home, how about a tattoo to remember the wonderful time we all had? Go on, I dare you!

I hope you all had fun...I know I did...and remember, if you decide to go and check out pinterest, don't say I didn't warn you...

(All the photos here are taken from the Pinterest site, which lists their origins)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blooming Lovely

 Beautiful muted shades of faded roses, perched upon some tarnished silver...just a few of my favourite things. A cyclamen, plunked into a tattered old silver ice-bucket makes a wonderful alternative to a bunch of fresh flowers in a vase. I love the way the pink pops against the turquoise - two of my favourite colours.
I spoke a little too soon in my last post about the weather, for the cold has come back with a vengeance! I was so happy to see the sunshine, I almost forgot that we have a few weeks left of winter! So, to cheer me up, I have been surrounding myself with fresh flowers. For something different, it's nice to buy cheap plants such as a cyclamen, or perhaps a little pot of daffodils or hyacinths, popped into a beautiful vessel (think outside the box here) - have a look around the house - sometimes the most unlikely containers make wonderful pots to display some pretty seasonal plants. The great thing about this is that when they begin to look a little tired, you can plant them out into the garden - you don't get that with fresh flowers!

Taking a little stroll down my street, I was enchanted by my neighbours beautiful garden - now tell me fairies don't live beneath this gorgeous tree! It is so pretty with its garland-like flowers, cascading down like decorations on a Christmas tree... 

I spent some time here this afternoon, celebrating a friend's birthday...even though it was a little chilly, I found myself enjoying sitting on their porch, the mountains in the distance, and surrounded by their many camellia trees which are all blooming profusely right now...the lawn beneath was strewn with a carpet of petals.

I sipped on champagne, and sampled some of Trish's beautiful home-made goodies...I have to tell you, my neighbour is the most incredible cook. There were little smoked salmon topped frittatas, mini croissants with ham and cheese, bite-size hamburgers, and the most delectable desserts like lemon cheesecake, apple crumble and chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream and strawberries, served in shot glasses - I love this idea, and think I shall steal borrow it for Georgia's 18th birthday. I really wish I had taken some photos to show you, but I was too busy stuffing feeding myself.

She did insist on me bringing home a loaf of her home-baked bread, which was unbelievably good topped with strawberry jam and cream!
It is Saturday night here, and I have a house-ful of teenagers, and I have to tell you, their energy is astounding! It is getting close to 11.00pm and the music blaring through the house is beginning to give me a headache - ohhhhh...I am old! So I have escaped here to spend some time with all of you lovely friends, before I attempt to tell them that it is soon time for slumber - yeah right! Cos that's going to happen any time soon!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Bohemian Bliss in the Garden

Follow me down the garden path to my gypsy's my little version of a gypsy caravan, this little playhouse, long abandoned by my children. I come here to dream and imagine, and sip Moroccan tea and watch the birds in the trees - won't you join me? Today was another beautiful sunshiney day, and the garden was calling me...what better way to enjoy the sunshine than to don this INCREDIBLE HAT which was sent to me by the divine Tricia over at Conversations with the Muses I tell you, this girl is majorly talented - can you believe this beauty? I hit the jackpot, and won it in her Mad Tea Party giveaway!
 Just look at the work in this amazing creation! Can you imagine the happy dance I did when the postman knocked on my door with this? I'm not even joking - Tricia, you made my day, my year! Thankyou, sweet friend.
Birds and butterflies...two of my favourite things...and so fitting for Springtime, don't you think? Just look at that little nest...

I planted a wisteria yesterday, and hope that it will meander up and across my little gypsy home before too long...fingers crossed.

Wanna know something funny? I actually thought it was Spring, because of the beautiful weather we have had the past few days, then the girls reminded me that it is indeed still winter - oops, silly me! Well, anyway, I felt Springy today, especially in this gorgeous hat...

"The cycle of the seasons goes on. So does the cycle of life and so will I" - Christine Lister

Monday, August 01, 2011

A Spring in my Step...

Steve's accident knocked me for six, and I hit a bit of a know how when something bad happens, it tends to set the tone for the following I haven't really felt like coming here.  But that has all changed with the arrival (finally) of Spring downunder - yay! Today was one of those magical days where, when you hop out of bed, you just know it's going to be a good day. I decided that a walk was in order, to soak up the long-awaited sunshine, but also to blow out the cobwebs and start anew...

I felt that my regular walking route just wouldn't cut it today, and felt the call of one of my magic places - the beautiful Yarra River at Pip and I hopped in the car and drove 10 minutes to this beautiful place. Because we have had so much rain lately, the river was flowing quite rapidly, and I could just feel the tension slipping away as I listened to the sound of the running water. For the first time in ages, the sun felt warm on my skin, and as we walked, we listened to the call of the kookaburras and said hello to the other walkers of the human and 4 legged variety...Pip is so very social, and always loves to stop when she meets another dog.

 I love the houses that back onto the river, and admired this little family of chickens, foraging for their food...I miss having my chickens, but have refused to get anymore until Ian builds me a fox-proof house, because it's too sad when they are killed - I really do miss collecting the fresh eggs every day.
 Pip was quite enamoured with the ducks swimming in the river...after our walk, I grabbed a coffee from the bakery, and we sat here and watched them for a while - bliss.
 On the way home, we stopped off at a little nursery, and I couldn't resist buying some pretty spring flowers to spruce up my garden...nothing like a bit of sunshine to really inspire me.  My little cubby-house in the garden was given a makeover, and I hung a little chandelier which I picked up recently from the op shop for $3.00 - bargain!

 I am feeling so much better, and again, I want to thank you all for your well wishes for Steve and his family. Yesterday, he moved to another hospital to begin his rehabilitation, which I think will be around 2 weeks. His recovery truly is a miracle...

What will you do today to nourish yourself, inside and out?

Today I choose JOY