31 March 2011

The Art Of Living - My Creative Space

Hello dear friend, it's been a long time since I've published an 'Art of Living' segment.
In an attempt to help you to get to know me a little better, I thought that it might be nice for you to have a peek at the place where I spend my time working and blogging. Welcome to my office.

When I first moved into Captain V's home, this room was his gym, filled with exercise equipment and blokey stuff. Once I came onto the scene he generously moved his gear to a corner of the garage and voila! I had a space to call my own. Believe me, I do know how very lucky I am and treasure it like gold.

There are lots of sections of this room that I love, but today I think we might just focus on my desk area.
So what can we see? 
Well of course there's the desk itself which I love for both its design and the three deep drawers which hold my regular 'go to' resources.
My new replica Eames rocker with sheepskin rug which my darling brother and SIL gave to me for my birthday! It's really comfy and although not a traditional desk chair, it makes me smile every time I sit in it.
The pinboard filled with my favourite things, lots of inspirational 'bits' and even some of my artwork.
Storage in the form of an old meatsafe which has two shelves inside to keep my 'top shelf' books and some inspiration cards. Asian steamers - the top one holds techy things like USB sticks, cords etc. The middle one - small stationery supplies and the bottom one, lots and lots of mini sticky notes.  I'm not a fan of writing in books but like to make lots of notes, plus I use them a lot in workshop presentations. A woven filing cabinet on the floor and a great big box for all of my 'odds & sods' on top of it.
Flowers - there's always a flower from the garden or even just some succulents or leaves on my desk.
Water glass - I'm aiming to drink 2.5-3 litres of water a day at the moment so this is being filled regularly.
My laptop. An oldy but a goody - she has a name, Sophie and is the ultimate PA.
My treasured water colour pencils which I use regularly.
A gorgeous framed print titled 'Tree of Life' by Catherine Nolin not only inspires me but offers a reflection of the trees and busy wildlife through the glass door behind me.

Hiding behind the laptop you will find. A cluster of my favourite journals, workbooks and other supplies.  
The Matryoshka dolls are filled with paper clips and the art behind them is a little example of my pastel play. Being a procrastinating perfectionist, I need to read the quote on the poster a couple of times a day!
If you've been following me for a while, you would know that I have a deep love of nature and delight in collecting feathers on my daily walks. Here are a few that I've found sitting in their glass nest and the big quills poking out of the string are from my Grandfather. 
Do you like my little globe?  It was the inspiration for our 'Six Senses' tours. I'm still debating about whether I'll put little markers on for the places we've visited.  
The quote below it is "Home...is where your story begins".
To maximise the ways in which I can display my treasures and to protect my desk from paint and glue I have a large plastic mat sitting over some of my favourite pictures, treausures & quotes. 
The scene in the top left is a needlepoint that my Mother did when she was a little girl and was going to throw out - I quickly grabbed it and it's a source of daily delight.  The gap toothed girl is little me and serves as a reminder of a truly wonderful and happy time in my life.  Appropriately the photo of Capt V & I sits beside it.
The house at the top is my dream cottage.  Are you getting a feel for what I treasure?

If we cast our eyes back up to my pinboard you will see something very special that I've wanted to tell you about for the longest time.
In January (or was it December?) Kellie from the amazing project '1000 Homes of Happiness' sent me a tiny parcel filled with paper homes.  Kellie and her girls are making 1000 origami houses and popping them around the country to bring happiness and delight to complete strangers.  She has a blog where lucky recipients can write in to let her know that they've found one of her treasures and you can even request a home to 'drop'.  
It is such a fun project and I love the words that Kellie has chosen so far - lots of happiness indeed.

We have a couple more to deposit around Noosa, but Kellie kindly let me keep this one on my inspiration board. So in the spirit of Kellie's 'game' it would make me really happy if you contacted her to let her know that you found some 'serendipity' in my office today!
Well there it is my friend, the space that surrounds me as I'm writing this for you right now.  
I hope you've enjoyed visiting my creative zone, and feel inspired to share your own. 
Pop on over to Kirsty's place where all sorts of amazing & creative people are sharing their spaces today.

Ooh I almost forgot.  Our 'Six Senses' tour tomorrow is exploring one of my favourite parts of Australia, be sure to jump on board early.

And for more fun, jump on over here...

30 March 2011

Word Of The Week - Inkling

Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing?  Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so what we can all read your work. 
To make it easy for us to find your WW entry, incorporate the button into your post.


[Noun] Not a small bottle of ink as some may think but a slight hint or indication.
A vague idea or notion. A suspicion.
[Probably from inclen to hint at & related to Old English inca]

{Click on Image for original source}

I love it when my dear Gifters suggest words for this segment and this week Georgina at Perpetual suggested 'inkling' and I love it!  The thing that tickles my fancy most is the way that it sounds.
For me it's a playful word, almost musical.  Rhyming with sprinkling, tinkling, wrinkling but with a meaning that validates our intuition or sixth sense. It hints at wispy notions sitting at the edge of our consciousness.

Thank you to those Gifters who have been playing along in the true spirit of this segment by incorporating the words into their posts. I would like to make special mention of Jane and Cate who not only write wonderfully but regularly zhush the vocabulary of their readers.

As for my use of this week's word....

If you would like to learn more about my world, then I have an inkling that you might enjoy what I have to share with you tomorrow.

29 March 2011

Two For Tuesday - Peter Lik

I love Tuesdays, this is the day of the week where I like to share a gift of art with you and to play a game.
With great originality (hmhm) I've titled this activity 'Two For Tuesday'.

Welcome new 'Gifters', & hello to those of you who are just popping in for a peek.  
You might like to have a look at the art which has been showcased on previous Tuesdays, this can be found in the 'Art To Enjoy' section on my sidebar.

Now for the game, this is how we play - I present you with two pieces of art, then in thirty words or less you share a thought about how they relate to each other or to your own life.  Have fun!

I have chosen this week's images in celebration of the changing seasons. This weekend was the first time that we actually felt a cool chill in the air and I knew that finally autumn was trying to do her thing.
The trees in my pocket of the earth are a bit different to my Northern Hemisphere Gifters in that they are putting on a show of blossoms at the moment rather than changing their colours. 
Autumn leaves and a definition of the seasons are things that I truly miss.
So you can imagine my delight when Shelley told me about the amazing photography of Peter Lik, an Aussie bloke who has taken the world by storm with his startling images. 

There is a wonderful painterly quality to Peter's photos and if you ever get to see one in real life they literally pulse with energy.  I'm fortunate to have one of his galleries in my main street but the rest are in the USA.  
If you would like to see more (and I have an inkling that you will) Peter not only has a website but a blog too.

For my reflection today I'm borrowing from John Keats and the opening lines of his poem "To Autumn".

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.

Wherever you are in this great big wonderful world, I hope that you enjoy some colour whether it be autumnal or fresh for srping.  Enjoy playing along with our game and taking in the incredible images on Peter's website.

28 March 2011

My Oh My! Floral Bling

Happy Monday!
As you may know, flowers are one of my greatest delights. Indoors or out, I just love these jewels of the earth and I try to have at least one display in my home at all times. Now to add some fun to the start of your week I thought that I'd give you an extra opportunity to enter my Birthday Bling Giveaway.
All that you have to do is savour each of the following floral arrangements from the extremely talented team at 'Saipua', decide which one you think would be my absolute favourite and tell me why.
All correct answers will go into the 'hat' as a bonus entry - yippeee!

But what's that I hear you ask? How will you know if you've guessed correctly? I'll email you of course!
So be sure to include your email address in your answer if it's not already attached to your ID.
But for now, simply enjoy these bounteous blooms...

Wasn't that a delight for your eyes?
In addition to creating gorgeous floral arrangements 'Saipua' have an online store with the most delicious selection of wrapped soaps. I think 'Rose Geranium' would be my favourite but I love the 'Winter Citrus' too.
I hope that you have a wonderful start to your week and you find moments of serendipity along the way!

25 March 2011

Six Senses Tours - New Hampshire, USA

Hello!  When Felicity contacted me to write a guest blog about one of my favorite places near where I live, I couldn't think of a more amazing place than my own backyard.  
My name is Katie Barnes, and I'd like to introduce to you Snow Pond in New Hampshire, USA.  
Snow Pond has become my permanent vacation home, along with my fiance Max Bittle.  
We are both photographers, and after living here for only a year and a half, we've managed to take thousands of photos documenting this ever changing landscape and the wide variety of creatures that call this pond home.  
I hope you enjoy this six senses tour through our little corner of paradise as much as we enjoy living here!

Summer mornings bring white water lilies with huge blossoms over a mirror like surface on the pond.  Local fishermen from the area gently set silver canoes into the water and set out with hopes of catching a big bass.  
The pond's edges are lush with greenery and the cattails grow taller than me.  
The colors of fall slowly dot the trees in hues of reds and orange, until a metamorphosis of color occurs, and the forested backdrop of the pond turns into a glowing showcase of dazzling warm and rich colors.  
Orange sunsets in the evening cast shimmering versions of themselves in the pond's surface, and pink sunrises splash color on the walls of our bedroom telling us it's time to get up and take pictures!   
Zero degree temperatures turn the pond into glass and strange ice formations are visible just under the surface.  
Snowflakes blanket the pond in white, and suddenly, it feels truly appropriate that the pond's name begins with Snow.  
Tiny cherry tomatoes from our little garden add the perfect tart flavor to egg sandwiches in the morning.  
A trip to the local farmer's market brings back locally roasted coffee beans, and when Max makes them in the french press, it fills the whole cabin with a dank coffee goodness.  
A short trip down dirt roads brings us to fields of blueberry bushes at Hackleboro Orchard.  
I eat one blueberry for every three I pick, but we still manage we fill buckets to the brim with berries, remembering to pet the sweet horse in the barn on our way out.  

Humid air full of life fills our backyard in the spring, replaced by earthy breezes in the summer.  
Crisp nights remind us that fall is on the way, and soon the air will smell of leaves drying in the sun after they've fallen from temporary homes on branches above.  
As the days grow cold, there will be the unmistakeable smell of winter in the air - the smoke from our woodstove that billows in little puffs from our cabin's chimney.

Spring peeper frogs provide a calm chorus around the pond, which is only interrupted by the smacking of the beaver's tail when he is less than happy.  
We wake up to distinct foot steps in the forest next to our cabin, but it's not a person, it's a huge snapping turtle!  
Splashes can be heard from every direction when we have a sauna gathering and our guests dash into the pond to cool down fast.  
Sunday mornings, the radio is always set to National Public Radio, and we listen to the familiar voices that let us know it's time to make waffles and soak in the day.

Every time I leave my house, to photograph a wedding, run errands, even take the dog for a walk, I can't escape the feeling that when I come back down the driveway, I'm returning to my vacation.  
Seeing the millions of stars overhead and breathing in the sweet summer air, I know that I'm in the most perfect place I can be right now.
At the same time, my intense love of this place is always coupled with a sad feeling.  
You see, we're only renting this little red cabin on the edge of Snow Pond, and it's been promised to the landlord's son when we decides to move back "home".  But maybe knowing that makes us appreciate it even more… 
and we'll certainly have a lot of beautiful photographs to remind us of the time we lived on the edge of paradise.

Snow Pond is small, with only about four houses on it.  But, there are lots of other amazing lakes to visit in New Hampshire if you ever find yourself nearby!  
The "Lakes Region" is in Meredith, New Hampshire and is home to the gorgeous, Lake Winnipesaukee.  
No matter what season, there are all sorts of activities to do on the lakes of New Hampshire.  
Ice fishing, swimming, canoeing, and taking advantage of the wonderful fish markets and restaurants nearby are just a few of the lake attractions!

Wow Katie, what a feast for the senses!  Thank you for sharing with us your truly spectacular pocket of the world, it must be a treat at the moment as winter yields to spring and the lake comes alive in a whole new way. 
Katie's transfixing photos are a favourite of mine and yours too going by the comments generated in a past 'Two For Tuesday' segment. If her work is new to you, I'm sure you can see why I love it.
Now dear Gifters, you know the drill.  I'm guessing that you've enjoyed this tour as much as I did so I hope you'll leave some lovely comments for Katie to thank her for being such a wonderful guide.
Of course many of you will be transfixed by the photos of Snow Pond and will want to see more. 
You're in luck dear friend as Katie not only has a blog and wonderful wedding website but Max has a truly outstanding photographic blog too! If you visit, be sure to let them know that you're stopping by after the tour.
Next week, the tour will take us to New England Australia where the season's colours are autumnal and another amazing artist will dazzle us with a peek into her slice of serenity.

PS: If you haven't entered the Birthday Bling Giveaway - it's not too late!

23 March 2011

Word Of The Week - Cahoot

Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing?  Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so what we can all read your work. 
To make it easy for us to find your WW entry, incorporate the button into your post.


[Noun] Partnership; league; agreement on a secret plot; as, to go in cahoot (or in cahoots) with a person
Usually used in the plural (in cahoots), and in modern usage often used to imply that the joint effort is unethical, shady, questionable, or illegal; as, a shill in cahoots with a pickpocket, to serve as a distraction.

I wonder how our masked friends above are 'in cahoots' with each other? 

Although it's meant to have a negative connotation, I actually think that being in cahoots with someone is kind of cheeky, mischievous and fun. Like playing a trick on a friend or planning a surprise for someone special.

Lately I've been working with a friend on a projects and have enjoyed the secrecy and specialness of only the two of us knowing what we're up to. We're in cahoots!

Have you ever been, or are you still 'in cahoots' with someone? How's that working out for you or is it a secret?

22 March 2011

Two For Tuesday - Anna Rubin

I love Tuesdays, this is the day of the week where I like to share a gift of art with you and to play a game.
With great originality (hmhm) I've titled this activity 'Two For Tuesday'.

Welcome new 'Gifters', & hello to those of you who are just popping in for a peek.  
You might like to have a look at the art which has been showcased on previous Tuesdays, this can be found in the 'Art To Enjoy' section on my sidebar.

Now for the game, this is how we play:
I present you with two pieces of art. In thirty words or less, you share a thought about how they relate to each other or to your own life.

Today's images are by the wonderful Sunshine Coast artist Anna Rubin.
Anna has a fascinating story of adventure and intrigue travelling from Moscow all the way to Queensland.
She departed a career in business to embark on her life as fine artist. Anna says:

''My mission is to see and let people see the beauty in everything.  I observe, and encourage others to observe, and find again and again pleasure and something new in the objects in my art.
I have always remained passionately appreciative of high quality and the extra effort that transforms everyday pleasures into extraordinary moments . . .
The violin talents of virtuosos as Vivaldi and Paganini  . . .
The beauty and sophistication of haute couture . . .
An exclusive dinner in good company with hand-picked truffles and Ch√Ęteau Margo. 
Quality and excellence takes time – the most precious of all our resources. Through my life journey, I've developed a deep appreciation for extraordinary commitment, passion and skill, and choose to indulge my senses in the extraordinary whenever possible."

 The first piece this week is titled 'Emperor's Desire', the second 'Mozart's Music Case'.
Anna has many wonderful works in her online gallery which I encourage you to visit after you've played today.

My reflection for this week celebrates the juxtaposition of ancient treasures with seasonal fruit which Anna has captured with such realism that I can almost smell the limes and want to reach out to bite into an apple.

"Captured for millennia the ancient and precious share shadowspace with the fresh and fragrant."

Oh and if you haven't already entered the Birthday Bling giveaway be sure to do so today!

21 March 2011

My Oh My! - Birthday Bling Giveaway!

Happy Monday!  It was my birthday last week but with the events in Japan I didn't feel it was appropriate to start the week with the usual sparkle so held onto the post that I'd written until today.  Enjoy!

We begin with cake - 'Sacred Cake' to be exact. This is the name of the Etsy store where Jennifer Valentine* sells her spectacular jewellery, and it's divine!
I discovered Jennifer a couple of weeks ago as I was putting the finishing touches to a 'WOW' post and spied her glorious gems on the Etsy 'Handpicked Items' page.  What a gift of serendipity!

I spent much time savouring the many amazing jewels and was overwhelmed by the choice.
So, in the spirit of giving and receiving in this birthday 'week', pull the tie and unwrap some bling with me...

I love them all, but especially the gilded fern earrings [#1]. 
Jennifer has a wonderful blog, also titled Sacred Cake which is fabulous, as it's always wonderful for me to learn more about artisans and their lives.

Guess what dear Gifter? As a birthday surprise, Jennifer is giving you the chance to receive either a pair of the aquamarine earrings or the feather hair clips! 
I'm so thrilled to think that two of my bloggy friends might be receiving one of my favourite things aquamarines or feathers - thank you Jennifer.

I'm sure you would love to receive a little parcel in your mailbox, so to give yourself the best chance to own one of these treasures please do the following:
  • Be one of my Gifters - let me know that you follow this blog AND
  • Visit Jennifer's Store 'Sacred Cake' then come back and tell me which treasure caught your eye.
  • For a second entry, include details of this giveaway on your blog & leave a separate comment to let me know that you've done so.
  • For a third chance leave another comment letting me know what your favourite birthday cake would be.
The giveaway will stay open until Sunday April 3rd with the lucky Gifters being announced in the 'My Oh My!' segment on Monday 4th April [Australian Eastern Standard Time]. Mark your calendars & spread the word!

So with sparkle in our ears and feathers in our hair we are ready to meet the brand new week together.
Be sure to pop in tomorrow for my favourite day of the week where we play with art & words.

* If you are a regular reader, you'll know why Jennifer's surname has special significance! 

18 March 2011

Six Senses Tour - Margaret River Western Australia

Hello there! Welcome to Margaret River, a little town with a big reputation for wine and surf.
We are Gill and Nic and today we will be your tour guides.  Pour yourself a glass of wine and join us for a virtual ride down the south west coast of Australia...

It has been over two years now since life, the universe and everything led each of us to make the move to Margs with our respective families. Being WA (West Australian) girls, we were already reasonably familiar with the South West. The phrase "heading down South" is often bandied around in Perth, our state's capital.
Long weekends, uni breaks, family holidays - going down south is about packing up the car and getting out of the big city.  John Butler even wrote a song about how he heads 'down south' for inspiration.

Nowadays, for each of us, this town is so much more than a place to get away to. It is home.
So let's fire up the senses and hopefully we can show you why there is no place like home.
And no place like Margs....

A convoy of Kombi vans, station wagons and camper vans along the main stretch of town.  Backpackers live from their cars in local parks and beach parking lots.  Fields of black and white cows ignore the summer population explosion.
Vineyards and tiny art galleries peep out at you as you take a drive along Caves Road.
Kids play in the street on their skateboards in the late afternoon, and so SO many stars in the black sky at night.

The Cows
Quality local produce, fresh blueberries, local organic cheese and creamy milk.
We take the boys out to the Berry Farm where we eat homemade boysenberry pie with cream.
My little boy is given free range duck and chicken eggs by one of the farm hands - we scramble the eggs when we get home and they are creamy and rich and so yellow.
My partner and I kick back with a glass of local red once the boys are tucked up in bed....bliss!

Autumn Vines and Olive Trees
Seaweed on the beach in summer and salt in the air.
Cigarette smoke as we pass The Tav on the main street, which is packed to the rafters with tourists & locals alike. In winter, you will smell wood fires burning into the crisp cold air and hot roasting coffee beans early on a chilly Saturday morning at the Farmers' Markets.

Farmer's Markets
Insects chirping at night.
Kookaburras calling from the trees.
Frogs croaking in the river and the occasional cow mooing.
In the day the parks are full of Mums chatting and kids playing.
Local musicians busk in the street or play their songs at The Tav.

Forests and Big Trees
Isolation.  This can be both good and bad.
Being three hours south of the most isolated city in the world (Perth) means Margs, as a town, has a really strong sense of community. But it can often feel so very far away from everything.
There is an artistic buzz about this town.  Writers, artists, musicians, chefs, wine makers - you can feel the creativity. And despite a fierce sense of ownership amongst the 'real' locals, there is a strong transient feel.
A whirlpool of movement is created by the comings and goings of backpackers, tourists, newcomers and people who, like us, are just wanting a sea change.

Sensational Surf
Insider Tip:  Head up the road to Fishica in Witchcliffe, a family run business stocking beautiful Eco-friendly products and resources for parents and those aspiring to a greener way of living - it's the most amazing space and so worth a visit.

There you have it - a 'Six Senses' tour of Margaret River!
We hope one day that you are able to go the distance and check it out yourself....

Thanks for having us Felicity!
What a wonderful tour girls, thank you so much! I've learnt lots of new facts about Margs that I didn't know before and even though I've had a trip to WA on my 'Must Do' list for some time, you've given me the incentive to get there sooner.  
Now Gifters you know the drill, be sure to write lots of comments either here or on the girls blog letting them know what you thought of the tour & be sure to have your bags packed early next Friday as we jet off for the U.S of A!