Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trouble with forgetful faeries.

Oh dear.  Small five year old person with enormous eyes in downcast face looked at me on Monday morning as I wandered into the family room still half asleep.  "Mummy...the tooth faery didn't come."  OH DEAR!  She showed me her tiny tooth, still sitting in the bottom of the special tooth/trinket box with the violets on top.  Off the top of my head I made some excuse about Sunday having been such a lovely day there were probably lots of people out playing sport and lots of teeth being accidently knocked out, so perhaps the Tooth Faery just got a bit overwhelmed.  And that I was SURE she'd be back on Monday night.  So after the girls were off to school, Monday found the Tooth Faery squinting through her magnifying glasses trying to write a very tiny apology on a small leaf from the Crepe Myrtle in the backyard.  As it turned out, the rather disorganised Tooth Faery then managed to forget AGAIN...until about 12.24am Tuesday morning.  And then she couldn't find a $2 coin, so had to scrounge around for two $1 coins.  Then she came up with the brilliant plan of scattering some glitter around too, just to make sure everyone understood it really and truly WAS the Tooth the girls know how much I HATE glitter because it gets into everything and is impossible to clean up properly!  But to cut a long story short, there was much excited shouting (though mostly from my eight year old) in the morning of "Mummy, come and see, come and SEEEEE!" and a much happier little person.  So I had to go and get my glasses to read the message, and goodness, faeries' spelling is ATROCIOUS, but it turns out she got lost.  By the way, I believe that's 'lerning' not 'lerking', although perhaps Tooth Faeries do 'lerk' (or rather, 'lurk') else do they know when a tooth has dropped out?

While we're on the subject of faeries...the new outfits are coming along slowly but surely.  'Slowly' partly because I have so many ideas in my head and I know I can't do them all, so I faff about trying to decide which one I should go with.  But mostly because my sewing skills are rather BASIC and my ideas are not quite so basic, so there tends to be a discrepancy between the two that is filled with cursing and swearing and a lot of unpicking and re-sewing.  But here's where I'm up to.

Still a bit more embroidery to be done on the front, a couple of spirally swirls.  The headband is finished, with more lovely Autumn leaves, roses and ribbons.  I have a red long sleeved top to go underneath.

Detail on the headband.

This is the 'Forest' Faery as of yesterday.  Headband finished, but lots to do on the jerkin.

Detail on headband.  Green leaves on this one.

Jerkin as of this morning.  Not quite finished, but getting there.  And managed to buy a green top cheap (in the 'boys' section of course, because all you can get in the 'girls' section is pink, black and lilac...aarggh!), but it was a skivvy and miss doesn't like skivvies, so the polo neck had to come off, and the cuffs as well.  Now I need to find/make/dye some leggings to match!

Detail of front.  My sewing skills, or perhaps more my pattern drafting skills, are pretty woeful and this isn't quite sitting right, but I'm trying to be very Zen about it...IT'S JUST A PLAY DRESS-UP!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A mutual love of Scots Gaelic music may have redeemed my Country and Western faux pas!

Over a week this time, oh dear!  But I HAVE been doing something, really, I'll show you in a moment!

I think I mentioned my 'foot-in-mouth' trick at my first guitar lesson?  My teacher asked me what kind of music I liked, and my answer was "everything except Country and Western."  Of course, it turned out that he loves C&W...oh dear, please excuse me while I remove my shoe from between my teeth!  I meant that 50s style, very even rhythm C&W, not ALL C&W.  But anyway...we were chatting today and I mentioned that I used to sing in a group that sang in Scots gaelic (it's one of those things that's great for those "10 weird facts you didn't know about me" lists) and it turns out that he was born in Glasgow (came out to Australia when he was 10, so not a trace of accent) and loves Scots Gaelic music...he even called it 'Garlic' music which is closer to the Scots pronunciation, most people here don't know that.  My grand-dad was also born in Glasgow and...OK, more weird family mum and dad met because they both played in Highland Pipe Bands.  So the lesson was abandoned for the last 10 minutes as we chatted about our favourite pieces of music, singers, soundtracks (both of us have the music to 'Cal' and nobody else ever seems to have heard of it), the connections between Irish fiddle music and Bluegrass, and a mutual love of bagpipes.  He's promised to introduce some Irish and Scots pieces into my lessons, and I promised to bring along a CD of the group I was with.  I'm looking forward to the next lesson!

As for what I've been busy with...well, I have two little people birthday's coming up, a 6th and a 9th, and as they've rather grown out of the faery outfits I made for them in the past, I promised them new ones.  So a little green Forest Faery, and a Russet coloured Autumn Faery are in's some pics of the jerkins so far, with the fingerless gloves I made to match.  Lots still to make, and of course, as usual, my sewing skills aren't up to my grand ideas, so there's a fair amount of cursing and un-picking happening.  I must remember they're JUST dress-ups!

No, I didn't make the leaves...I've been keeping them for years and decided this was a perfect opportunity to use them.

Lots still to do on this one...slightly different design, supposed to look like it's actually made out of leaves.

I'm hoping the leaf 'points' will flair out a bit.

And the same at the back.

And I'll leave you with a beautiful Gaelic song by Capercaillie, from the 'Rob Roy' soundtrack, 'Ailein Duinn'...brings back memories, we used to sing this one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And in contrast to Friday's music...the world's happiest, coolest song!

Well, it's got to be right up there anyway.  Been a favourite of mine for years and years (it was released when I was 2), you can't hear it and not smile.  And perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Not that today was particularly lazy, we spent most of it masking up all the woodwork in the bedroom, ready to paint the walls tomorrow.  We've settled on a soft, mossy green which will be 'colour-washed' on...I'm a wee bit obsessed with colour-washing, I've used it in just about every room in the house, but there's so many things I love about it.  I don't really like flat colour anyway, in my artwork or on my walls, I like texture and layers, and colour-washing means you can use bright or quite dark colours, but they don't dominate or advance on you.  It's great for hiding flaws in walls, and it means you use WAY less paint so much cheaper, it's easy to do, and really will probably only take us an hour to actually paint the whole room.  I can't wait till it's all finished, it's been a LOOONNG time coming!

But we did find time to have a lovely afternoon tea out in the glorious sunshine, the last for a while as it's supposed to be raining all week.  But then we do need some rain.  Homemade ginger biscuits and banana cake...mmmmm.  Why is it that I'm not in the slightest bit interested in shop-bought sweet biscuits (I don't even like Tim Tams), but if I make them myself they disappear immediately?!

I'm also busy making new faery outfits for two little faeries turning 6 and 9 in the next two months...I have BIG ideas, but I do need to remember they're just dress-ups and not get too carried away.  Anyway, I'd better go and do some guitar practice, got my 3rd lesson tomorrow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

2 Songs on a cold night....

These two songs have very close personal meaning for can probably guess why if you know them at all.  Firstly, the always incredible Sinead O'Connor...I love so many of her songs, I think Troy is a masterpiece.  But tonight...Three Babies.

And another great singer, with too many wonderful songs to mention.  Something of a Renaissance Man too, with many strings to his bow.  I played this song at my daughter's funeral.  10 years later and I still cannot hear it without crying.  Perhaps I'm in a melancholy mood tonight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm a bit first Etsy Treasury inclusion!

This little original pen and ink piece has been included among some beautiful drawings chosen by Milatropolis.  You can have a look here!

A wee JUNE SALE over at my Etsy Attic!

I'm having a SALE at my Etsy shop, as it's End of Financial Year time here, and I really need to declutter so some original paintings need to go (not to mention needing a bit of cash with small people birthdays coming up and the like)!  I've also added a couple new prints, and there will be more added in the next few days, as well as more original works.  Prints are 25% off, and some of the paintings are up to 50% off, so please pop over and have a look!

These two are my 'Solar Angel' and 'Lunar Angel', available as A4 prints for $15USD each, or $27.50USD for the 2 together.  I'll be adding the originals to the shop later this week at a reduced price ($125USD each), and again, will be reduced further if sold as a set ($225USD).  They are on 20cm x 20cm x 3.5cm gallery wrapped canvas, painted right round the edges.

Anyway, I REALLY must get off to bed, as it's after 1am and it's FREEZING out here in the studio!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Things that made me what I am....

Eureka! Only because after searching regularly on and off for a couple of years, I've finally found a place online where you can hear something that changed my life, because I'm sure you all know, when something touches you deeply, you want to share it.

If you don't know, the photo is of Robin Williamson (photo from John Haxby Photography).  I won't go into much detail about his musical career here (the link takes you to a Wiki entry on him), because it would take ALL DAY.  Suffice to say, for me, this man is THE bard (as fond of Will as I am).  When I was 16, I happened to catch him singing on a folk radio program.  The track I heard, in its entirety, was Five Denials on Merlin's Grave, an epic song-poem of almost 14 minutes length.  I happened to have a tape in the tape deck, and I pressed 'record' as it started. I can remember standing in the kitchen listening in amazement, it was like nothing I'd heard before, but EXACTLY like something I'd imagined all my life.  I listened to that tape over and over for years, recording onto more and more tapes to try and preserve it as each one wore thinner and started to stretch.  Eventually I managed to get hold of the book of the poem (complete with Robin's notes about all the mythological and historical references)...and finally, about 20 years later, I managed to get a CD of it (and finally hear the few seconds I missed all those years before as I scrambled to turn the tape over and start recording again!)

The poem is a broad history of Britain in five stages, and in it Robin compares the factual "stacked and dried" version with the version of myth and majesty...I probably don't need to tell you which version comes out best!  It is full of knowledge, gorgeous poetry, magical music and it was at 16, and remains to this day, the only way I can imagine a true Bard telling a story.  When I was 24, and backpacking around Britain, I managed to see him in concert.  He performed in what was really just a glorified lecture hall, with no fancy lighting, just a low stage lined with instruments of all kinds.  And Robin himself, alone.  And he sang and played, told stories old and new, both sad and funny, told jokes and recited poems.  And he held the audience spellbound in the palm of his hand.  It was one of the most magical performances I've ever seen.

And I've found a podcast!  This is from 'Druidcast', and contains several of Robin's songs plus a long interview, but finishes with a live version of Five Denials.  It's a long podcast and they waffle on a bit, but I urge you to listen to the end.  Pour yourself a glass of Mead, curl up somewhere cosy, and pretend you're sitting in a great hall somewhere, somewhen, back when magic was real.

And a shorter taste of what to expect.

Other useful Robin links:
Robin's own Website: Pig's Whisker Music
Robin on Amazon

A little later (after tea in fact)....I thought I'd scan the first page of my copy of Five Denials on Merlin's Grave, so you can read his lovely poetry.  There are lines in this poem that are engraved on my mind and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if, forgetting all else, I can still recite them when I'm 99.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Purple and mustard and...nettle?

Is this a nettle? It looks suspiciously like a weed I pulled up last year and instantly regretted, nettles not being exactly thick on the ground in Western Australian suburbia.  I thought they were something you only found in slightly unkempt English country gardens or along the hedgerows.  But I found two of these in my garden this morning and am not game to touch them to be sure.  I'm rather hoping they are, because I like the idea of trying nettle tea, or soup, or sauteed nettle, having romantic notions about English weeds!

As to the purple and mustard...I went out this morning to pick up the 'Vagabond King' wearing a colour combination that was a little unusual for me, and though I rather liked it, I wasn't 100% sure it worked (although, truth to be told, I think pretty much any colour combination works if you wear it with CONVICTION...but I could be wrong!)  The Op Shop white linen skirt is now a rich mustard yellow thanks to a big lot of onion skins and some aluminium foil (and thanks to India for the tip).  And with it I had on a purple tank top with a dark grey long sleeved top over.  I thought the purple with the grey might be a bit dodgy, so following my own advice, I added a purple headband so it didn't look like I made a mistake or got dressed in the dark.  I think it might look better with a warmer colour than the grey, like a dark chocolatey plum...but anyway...I walked into the foyer of the City of Melville to discover...I perfectly matched their decor.  Mustard and purple armchairs on dark grey carpet.  If I'd laid down on the floor no one would have noticed me and I could have got up to all sorts of mischief in there over the long weekend!
Yes, they are the bits of foil strewn around the grass, drying off so I can re-use them, and the lovely big steamer pot that Beloved picked up at the Op shop for me...and our more-than-slightly-unkempt-garden.

I think the staff at our local supermarket are getting used to the weird lady who collects bags of onion skins instead of (or sometimes as well as) onions!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A slightly late song for a northern Spring...

A little something for all those of you who are enjoying summer at the top end of the world...though in many ways, it feels just as appropriate to me for our Autumn, which is a time of renewal and of greening after the long, dry summer. A favourite song by a favourite group, Gjallarhorn, about the Goddess of Spring bringing new life after the long hard winter.  I found a rough translation of the lyrics, so have posted them below.  Best played LOUD, and danced around to if possible!

Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron's corn
So that we may be spared pain
Manutar, matron of the Earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain
Feed us with honey-hearts
Give us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll
You have shining silver
You have glistening gold
Rise up, O maiden
Black from the soil
Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature's daughters
Make the peat shoot forth
And the ground turn over
Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature's daughters
Lift up a thousand seedlings
To reward my efforts.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 'Green Jack' is available as a print!

In case you'd like your very own Green Man, they are now available as A4 and A5 prints in my Etsy shop.  They will look like this (really just an excuse for another pic of him!), with a white border to allow for framing.  Printed on heavy quality (251gsm) semi-gloss Epson paper.
The original has been packaged up and sent off for an exhibition/competition, so we shall see if he catches someone's eye.  I've gotten rather attached to him now though, and almost hope he doesn't!
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