Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Walking in Weston....

Today I found myself with a spare hour between the morning madness of rushing around home to get everything and everyone, dropping the kids at school, and then cruising into another day at the office. In an unusually spontaneous moment (as I faltered in the three lanes of traffic creeping up to Parliament House) I decided to shun the usual round-the-lake walk, and merged off to the left in favour of Yarralumla...Weston Park more specifically. 

I love it there. All green, in all different shapes and sizes planted in 1914 by T C G Weston, Canberras' first Afforestation Officer. What a title! Anyways, I'm glad he planted back then...its a great part of the lake shore now. 

 Blue skys...

foliage and vines...

these Camellias were the size of big saucers, and they really remind me of the type of thing that was in my Nannys' garden in the Blue Mountains.

 blossom everywhere...

and a little patch of violets...

At the end of the walk I still had a few minutes to grab a coffee down in the main street at a new-ish establishment - Farmers Daughter.
I got some funny looks (as I was in my trackies), but the coffee was great. I especially loved the chairs painted bright yellow and the long timber tables and up on the serving bar were macarons* lined up in a rainbow of colours. Next time...

* I dont know wether its macarons or macaroons...but I'm hoping my cous Bron will read and correct me.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

An addition to "People I know"

I have to add this very special wedding to the list of flowers for people I know, on the previous post I made. There were lots of great things about this particular wedding, for Jodie and Ashley.

Firstly, Jo is a "friend of the family"...a funny, generic sort of term - our fathers worked together years ago and our families are all still great friends. Its a bit more special for me though, being the older of the two of us I remember when Jodie was born. In fact, she is the first little person I EVER remember being her Mum's bump, then being born and then watching her grow up!

We actually hardly ever get to see each other any more as life moves on, but I have some lovely and rather funny memories of her growing up ( I dont have a sister) and so it was such a treat - a real honour - to be asked to make up the flowers for her wedding.

Another great thing about it was the weather on the day...just an absolute stunner of a clear blue Sydney day, and an outdoor wedding to enjoy it - breeze whipping over the golf course and off the coastal cliffs.

Also, it was a HUGE challenge. After the event, I can happily confess that when Jo and I met up before the wedding to talk dresses, flowers, colour schemes and the like, I knew with a personality like hers it would be full scale colour, however I was quietly terrified with the prospect of complimenting the gowns her bridesmaids were wearing...I didnt quite know which way to go.  But I must have bluffed my way through, cos I think Jo (and her parents!) had blind confidence in me...and I think we pulled it off! And isn't she gorgeous!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Violets and bird books

Watching the edges of pathways around about, I realise its violet season...little bursts of purple (mostly) when you least expect it in the garden. I think they might nearly be my favourite flower...shades from the deepest purple to a medium, granny sort of shade of mauve, then through to pink and even white. We have a few nice patches here in the backyard and some at work and also on my regular walk to the local shops. This is the only time of year when I shove my hands into patches of low greenery without reserve hoping for a big healthy stash of violet blooms hiding's way too cold for the red back spiders here now isn' it?

Anyway, the beauty of violets is that the more you pick them, the more they bloom. Also, they transplant well and spread out to make a great ground cover. Then there's that thick, sweet and heady scent. I recently read that there is a Jo Malone fragrance based on violets...has anyone tried it?

I have a lovely friend who once set about to collect the many different varieties of violets...she has one of those whimsical old-fashioned style gardens, full of unusual plants and trees and disected by meandering pathways - a really discerning gardener, who has incredible attention to detail and is a very inspiring lady. I haven't been back to visit the garden for many years since moving from the Blue Mountians, but I must try to make the effort.

So, inspired by my foraging efforts in the garden I put together a little posy...all wintery things like camelias, jonquils, snowdrops, paperwhites and the lovely native hardenbergia.

Aside from picking violets, this week I have been trying to meet a deadline to complete an edition of flip books, part of a project initiated by another really inspiring friend. You can read more about her here -

 The idea was to produce a set of handmade flip books - you know the type which give a moving image when you hold them in one hand and flip with the other! Having very little experience in book making, I stuck to the basic template provided by Caren and despite many jibes from her about the overuse of bird imagery in contemporary art and craft (see Etsy!) I worked with some stencils of wrens - I thought the way they hop and jitter about would suit the fast flipping book really well! To my great surprise a few of them sold in the first showing of the Flipping Books project at Megalo, so I found my self having to make a few more for its next incarnation at the Left Hand Gallery in Braidwood. 

Here's the process - 

trimming pages to size, 50 for each book. Yes, whilst watching offspring at tennis coaching.

 screen printing ink stencilled on scanned, found music sheet pages...taking over the dining table.

Binding stitches, flipping for quality control. Now they just need to have their covers and be delivered!

Its nice to be making something!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

People I know...

Its such a lovely thing to be asked by friends or family to help out with their a flowery kind of way. Making for people close to you is a great opportunity because they (usually) trust you and give you freedom to make something amazing...but there's a fair dose of added pressure too because you DO NOT want to mess this up - there are more pictures than usual and these people know where you live! I've been lucky enough to do a few of these - weddings, parties, anything.

When I cast my mind back, I've made the funeral flowers for each of the 3 grandparents I knew growing up - a very special and sentimental honour, like a final parting gesture. I sobbed my way through loads of pinks and blues and pastels like a spring garden for Millicent Thornberry (my Nanny), masses of bright colours, tropical flowers and quirky leaves and things for Colwyn John (my Pappa - the ultimate experimental gardener!) and silvery blues and mauves with warm apricot and coffee roses for Sybil John (my Nanna). It was heart renching at the time, but I am so glad I could do them.

I'm also glad I've been asked by these special people to make their wedding flowers!

Right from the beginning...eye popping orchids for Alison and Tristan - Al was my art school mate and one of my  bridesmaids!

A beautiful, classic wedding for Katrina and Daniel, at Yester Grange - one of the grandest houses in the Blue Mountains.   

Something a bit different for Hanna and my cous Craig

Sister in law 1! Jen and Shanes wedding on a beautiful old paddle steamer on the Nepean River, sunny and relaxed.

Sister in law 2! Marie and Greg in the gorgeous backyard at Marks' parents' place in Mt Victoria, Blue Mountains NSW.


Cousin Bronnie and Cameron...a very stylish affair at the races!

Hopefully there'll be many more celebrations!