Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yippee, yahooey...Shaun Tan is the 2011 ALMA recipient!

OK, I'm a little overly excited!  This was going to be a simple post to let you all know that I've reopened my Etsy shop...I've pared it down a bit, but I'll be adding more in the next week or so.  After experimenting for a few months with prices that barely broke even and not getting much response, I've decided to put the prices back up to normal, and I'll no longer be offering A5 prints, it's just not worth it.  I'll see what happens.

But the really exciting news is that LOCAL PERTH BOY (oh, I just had to say that...even though I think he's moved to Melbourne now!) Shaun Tan has, hard on the heels of winning an Oscar for Best Animated Short film, just been announced as the winner of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, probably the most important children's literature award in the world.  If you haven't discovered Shaun's amazing work, go go go right now and check it out.  I've been a fan of Shaun's for years, and years ago I used to work with a friend of his (I think he gave Shaun his first illustration job, on a local Sci Fi magazine!) so I've seen his rise to fame and seen his work just blossom so incredibly.  I was also lucky enough back in 2006 to have a sneak preview of 'The Arrival' before it was published...now that is a truly amazing book.  So congratulations to Shaun, he richly deserves it, he really is a master!
From the marvelous 'The Lost Thing', the short film of which won the Oscar.

Eric the exchange student, from 'Tales of Outer Suburbia'.  He's one of my favourite Shaun Tan characters.

The water buffalo from 'Tales of Outer Suburbia'.  Probably one of the reasons I like this book so much is that, despite it's weirdness, the suburbs of Perth are still recognisable in it...makes me think maybe there really could be magic and marvels down the end of my street!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have I mentioned how much I love my new bedroom?

Yes, well, I probably have.  But I really, really do love it.  It's the dream bedroom I would have wanted when I was 14 and it's still my dream bedroom.  I'm not sure what that says about me (immature perhaps?!) but I don't care.  I had fun the other day trying to take some nice photos of it, adding a little window dressing and some flowers to show it off, so I thought I'd share them here.  How could you not love this room (warning: gratuitous artsy fartsy attempts by me to do interior design magazine style pics following)?
View from the door, window made by clever Beloved.

View of Chest of Drawers also made by Beloved, under sleeping loft (which, it goes without saying, was made by Beloved!)

Comfy chair in the corner.  Wow, I can see the floor!  This really is the perfect solution to a small bedroom with no storage space.

Another, entirely unnecessary I know, pic of the comfy chair, with my grandmother's bedside table.

A 'pan' from door round to window, composite of several photos.  You'll have to click on this one to see it bigger to appreciate better.  In the corner you can see my nifty solution to needing some quick, cheap but not too ugly storage space for clothes.  El cheapo basic pine shelving from the local hardware (IKEA has something almost identical), and some 'shipping cartons' from Office Works with seagrass handles added, painted the same colour as the walls.  Worked quite well I think.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love sleeping up in the loft.  There's a little square window to let in light, and it's wonderful being snuggled up there in the cold weather when it (eventually!) arrives, listening to the rain pattering on the tin roof.  I don't know why more people don't do this.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Visiting the UK...

"Primavera" for everyone welcoming Spring in the Northern Hemisphere (now if she could just hurry her chronically late sister Autumn along, that would be wonderful!)

...well I wish I was, but no.  However, my mum and dad are jetting off on Wednesday to spend 2 months travelling around Britain, so I will be spending the next few weeks wearing a peculiar shade of green, and living vicariously through my parents (mum, this means lots of letters, postcards and emails, with photos if at all possible, ok?!)  They have some accommodation booked (particularly around Easter) but didn't want to be too tied down to an itinerary set in concrete...so I may be posting the odd request for accommodation (and eating, sightseeing etc) recommendations from my readers in the areas they are visiting.  They are basically doing a clockwise circuit starting from London, then heading west to Cornwall (with strict instructions to visit Chagford while they are in Devon), then north on up to Scotland and then back down the east side, but I'll post details if/when they need some ideas on places to stay.  So if you know of lovely, but reasonably priced Hostels/B&Bs, good places to eat and wonderful things to see, please let me know, it will be much appreciated...and I'll put them on my 'one day' wish list too!

Meanwhile, it looks like another week of temperatures in the high 30s...*sigh*...I am REALLY looking forward to wearing socks and boots, and jumpers and scarves, and gloves and hats, and going stamping in puddles....ROLL ON AUTUMN...PLEASE!!!

"Blackwoodwife" because I'm feeling nostalgic about the Autumn school holidays my family used to spend camping by the beautiful Blackwood River when I was a child, and the stories my mum told my brother and I about the Blackwood faeries (I really should finish this one!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


...or rather, not.  My house is a mess, my garden is worse, and I don't feel like creating anything at all.  I'm totally disorganised (even more than usual), can't seem to get motivated, and am soooo tired.  I wish I could hibernate at least through the last two months of summer, I'm feeling like one of the poor sad brown things in my backyard...sapped dry and brittle, waiting desperately for rain.  None this week though, more days of high 30s (celsius) and no rain at all.  We had a little equinox celebration and made some 'autumny' decorations to hang on the Apricot tree, just to let it know (because it clearly hasn't realised yet) that it's supposed to be turning yellow...but still there is no sign whatsoever of Autumn.  Spring started in late July last year, so it seems that Winter may well pass us by completely this year.  If anyone up in the North has a surfeit of Spring showers, please send them down our way, we desperately need rain.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nannup #3: Minnie Marks

This is the marvelous Minnie Marks.  She won the Nannup Festival Emerging Artist Award.  It's not hard to see why.  She's 16 years old.  Now that is hard to believe!  Her Myspace page is HERE.  And you can see her HERE doing a 9 minute guitar marathon with Matt Zarb.

Maybe if I practice really hard, when I'm about 90 I'll be able to play this well.  If the arthritis doesn't get me first.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praying for Japan....

...nothing else to say.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nannup #2

OK, here's a little more of what we heard.  The wonderful Julia Rose, also from Queensland.  So lovely, she was there with her big sis (who was in another band) and her mum and dad were there too, selling her CDs...I had a brief word to her mum, and apparently Julia is one of 5 siblings who are all musically talented.  She plays Bass guitar, and wow, she can play.  This particular song doesn't really showcase her skills (compared with what we heard...she does great reggae stuff too), but there isn't much live footage of her on Youtube as yet, and it does give you an idea.  She has a great voice too.  They were so much fun live, she and guitarist Felicity Lawless (aka Flawless...how cool is that?!) just looked liked they were having a ball onstage, so much infectious energy.  She's here in this video with 'Anarchist Duck' but this is the same line-up we saw.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Through the window...

This is where I am so far.  I still don't really know where to go from here, I can't decide whether I should leave the trees in the subtle sepia sketch style, or whether I should put in a dark sky and bring the trees out in white against it (the song does mention the moon, and owls, so I guess that means night-time!).  And I wasn't quite happy with the composition, the line of the window down through the middle of the page, so that's why I tried to break it up a bit by having it 'bleed' into the trees (also, I wanted the trees to be more dominant).  So far it's very understated colour-wise, aside from the red rose...and I'm not happy with the pinkish-red of that so it needs more work.  I want it to stand out, but not that much, so I think it will need to be 'muddied' up a bit.  And I'm really unsure how to do the girl's face...whether I should keep to the sepia palette or colour it naturally, whether I should continue just with pen and ink or work back into it with pencil for more control (and if I do, graphite or colour?)  Hmmm...decisions, decisions!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nannup: wonderful, brilliant, amazing...inspired...and tired!

So we have made our weary way home from the Nannup Music Festival.  A whole weekend (starting Friday afternoon) of live and amazing music in the beautiful old timber town of Nannup, about 3 hours south of Perth (or longer with small children who have to stop on the way home and play at the Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook, and stop again at the roadside 'conveniences' on the Forrest Highway!)

I am soooo tired, but what a wonderful weekend.  The opening concert on Friday was fabtabulous...perfect weather, a warm clear night.  We spread our picnic blanket and cushions out on the lawn under the beautiful stars, the gorgeous gum trees ringing the amphitheatre spreading their pale branches to the sky.  There were kids everywhere, playing and dancing and just running laps around the perimeter...ours disappeared off to run around with the rest and dance down the front, reappearing at regular intervals for hugs and snacks.  The music was brilliant.  I really don't get to see enough live music, and I sometimes forget how amazing it is to see musicians playing live to a real live (and loud) audience.  Beloved and I lazily looked at each other at about 9pm....."so should we take the kids back to your mum?" (this was the original plan)....."well, we'd have to find them first"......"Oh what the heck, they're having fun, it's the weekend."  So 11.30pm found the four of us still dancing down the front to the incredible sounds of a young guitar whiz (who also plays the didgeridoo, and the shakers...at the same time as playing the guitar!), and licking the sugar from fresh, hot, made-while-you-wait doughnuts off our fingers.  Bliss!

Saturday and we were down in town fairly early, to see the Fairy concert (for small people) and wander about popping in to various venues to listen and enjoy.  A Bolivian group in the marquee, some cool reggae, a sweet guitar duo in the town hall, some really pumping blues and lots of great Aussie folk to make you get up and dance (owww, my poor knees).  Later in the evening, the damn fine fiddle and bodhran from a band all the way from Cape Breton, and a singer/songwriter who made me cry then made me snort (I try not to, really) with laughter all in the space of about 10 minutes.

Well, it went on like that all day yesterday too, and even a drop in temperature and a 10 minute rain shower couldn't dampen spirits at the concert last night.  But that cleared and the stars came out and another brilliant night was had!

What sticks in my mind particularly were the number of incredible talented youngsters, 15, 16 and 17 years old, who took the stage like old hands.  And also (being a woman and therefore noticing these things), the number of fabulous female artists.  I don't think there was a single band that had the old 'pretty girl up front and all-male band behind' line-up.  There were a large number of bands that were all, or most, women, and a lot that had a good mix of male and female musicians...great to see a whole bunch of female drummers, bass and lead guitar players.  And MAN, could they play!

So, I've decided to hunt the stand-outs (for me) down on Youtube, and over the next week or so, I'll post a few videos, of live performances if I can find them, so you can get an idea of what I saw this last weekend.  I'll start with The Hussy Hicks, a couple cool gals from Queensland (with a couple guests on base and harmonica).  I really don't know what else to say about them, they were AWESOMENESS personified.  I couldn't decide so I've uploaded two videos, they performed both of these songs this weekend (no Nannup 2011 Vids up yet, but I'm sure there will be soon).  If the amphitheatre had a roof, their closing rendition of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" would have sent it into orbit.

And an original song by Julz Parker, the awesome (yes, I've over used that word, but I can't think of a better one!) guitarist, about a wee brush with the law in the US...with her dad on the harmonica!  There's more on Youtube, go check them out!

We'll definitely be back for more next year!
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