Still obsessed with green stitching

As an artist, I really struggle with working in a series. Too many ideas bursting out, begging to be made. Lately I’ve pushed myself to focus on more limited themes, so I can explore them in more depth. A recurrent one at the moment, is green botanical imagery. Heavily textured, lots of deep greens, beautiful sparkly glass, and natural stones. Some of these are available in my Etsy store.

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It’s not easy being green… Making all the green things, plus Zucchini Brownies!

We’ve had some big changes this year. First my oldest changed schools. A couple of weeks later, after lots of planning and meetings with her medical team, my middle child was able to join him and started her first year of school. So exciting, and plenty scary, but she is so happy about it.

So now, for the first time in a few years (!) I suddenly have a couple of spare hours during the day when the baby is asleep. As any parent knows, there is no time to waste once the baby is sleeping. It’s off to the studio, cup of tea in hand, and straight to work!

At the moment, I am not sure what direction my work will take. There will definitely be some colouring pages. But mainly, I just need to make all the things, and see what comes out of it. I’m focusing on colour, foliage and florals.

For the past two weeks, it’s been all about leafy greens. I can NEVER work on just one piece, so here’s a snap shot of what I’m making…

Since I’m all about green at the moment, I thought I’d throw in a recipe for our latest family favourite – Zucchini Brownies! I got this idea from a friend (thank you Mel), who swore the zucchini was undetectable, and she was right! I usually replace half the sugar with 1/2 a cup of granulated stevia, or you can just stick to regular sugar.

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups of gluten free self raising flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of finely grated zucchini

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of soy milk

1/2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Pour in oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
  3. Add grated zucchini and stir through
  4. Pour mixture into greased baking tray, and bake at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

Its been quite a while since I last posted. Months! As it turns out, I have been rather busy – growing and birthing a human.

The last few months of my pregnancy were pretty brutal. Severe pelvic instability left me almost immobile, and then constant contractions resulted in bed rest for the last few weeks (can’t say i enjoyed the gestational diabetes diet either). In the end, my little boy was determined to arrive early, and he was born at 37 weeks. It’s been a rough recovery from the c section. Multiple post operative infections, and 11 weeks later, my pelvis still hasn’t recovered, so walking is still an issue at times. But, he is a beautiful, happy, smiley little baby, and has settled into our family with ease.

I’ve started baking again and have started a course in nutrition. (first exam is tomorrow, yikes!). I’ve had a little bit of time to play with some new inks, but most of my artistic endeavours are on hold for now. Newborns are somewhat distracting! I have been able to work on some embroidery as I collapse on the lounge watching netflix, so at least there is some creativity happening!

In the interests of easing myself back into the blogging world, I’ve decided to Take Stock of whats been happening lately…

Making – embroideries! I’ve been working on the same ones for a while. I’m liking that I can make things without having to worry about the mess, as I have limited time at the moment. Oh, and a human. I made him too.
Cooking – lots of baking. Banana bread, corn bread, muffins, cookies…
Drinking – lots of dandelion tea
Reading – dodgy cosy mysteries as my brain can’t concentrate on anything too complicated at the moment. And my nutrition textbooks. Studying with a newborn may have been a touch ambitious!
Wanting – a swinging chair for my garden, for cups of tea and baby cuddles
Looking – at my sleeping baby. All the time!
Deciding – on new cupboards for my studio after it was flooded last year
Wishing – that my body would hurry up and heal so I can go on nice long walks.
Enjoying – the gorgeous interactions between my older children and the baby
Watching – Downton Abbey on Netflix (yes, I am a few years behind the rest of the world!)
Wondering – who this new baby will turn out to be
Liking – cups of tea and cake
Listening – to my daughter sing as she goes to sleep each night
Considering – replacing my very tired dining chairs, but with what?
Buying – flowers and herbs for the garden
Hoping – that I can get more active with my children soon
Marvelling – that my body made and is feeding yet another beautiful human
Needing – sleep!!!
Questioning – whether my sons current school is the right choice for him
Smelling – peppermint and tea tree oil, as I try to rid my house of all of the ants that keep appearing
Wearing – soft comfy things
Noticing – that the sunlight is changing as we move into the cooler months
Knowing – that this baby daze will pass very, very quickly, and to appreciate it while it lasts
Thinking – about vegetables! The course I am doing has me thinking about all of the different things I can try to convince my children to eat.
Admiring – clever arty folk on instgram
Getting – better at managing my time with three children
Book marking – more courses to come back and study down the track
Disliking – my sore body
Feeling – tired but content
Hearing – right now, snuffly baby noises, city traffic, trains and birds
Celebrating – my family
Pretending – that I am better at this then I am!
Embracing – chaos

 

 

Strange Dreams and Making Stuff

It’s 4am, and I can’t sleep. I had a strange dream, and that led to lots of thinking, which is never conducive to getting back to sleep. I dreamt about hospitals. Being in one, visiting people I knew who were there, and the trickiest part, dreaming that my dad was visiting me there. That part was the most real. I remember my hand on his arm, feeling the warmth of his skin, and the strangeness of the vibration of his fistula (he was on dialysis for many years).

Last week, I was given the eviction date for my baby boy. I’ll be having a c section at 38.5 weeks. It’s a strange thing to know in advance the exact date your baby will be born. Of course I knew there’d be a c section happening, and let’s face it, there’s not really any fun way for a baby to come out! That said, it’s got me thinking a lot about hospitals, my last two c sections, and wondering what it will be like this time.

My first was born via emergency c section, 26 hours after I had been induced. It was surreal and dramatic, full of fear and confusion (perhaps it is always a bit like that the first time?). I remember the slowness of the induction. Waiting for things to “happen”. Wanting to be shut away alone as the contractions increased. It felt quite primal, despite the medical intervention that got me there. I remember my sister and my husband trying to entertain themselves through the long, and rather boring hours (for them, anyway). No iPhones back then! Arguing with my husband about whether he was allowed to video the event – no bloody way, as far as I was concerned. Then suddenly things got very serious very quickly. A whole bunch of people rushing into the room, strange faces telling me what they were about to do to me, being rushed down a corridor to the operating room, the terrified look on my husbands face, and that painful wait to hear my baby cry, and know that he was ok.

I spent the next few days shell shocked, while I tried to process exactly what had just happened. As I lay there in pain post surgery, doped up on morphine, I thought of my dad, and how brave he was to have so many operations, so many times. Despite what people say about mummies who are “too posh to push”, a c section is really bloody painful. I know it isn’t always like this, but I couldn’t walk upright for weeks. Getting out of bed, out of chairs, pretty much everything, hurt for months. I still have a numb section on my stomach from the nerve damage. After that, I was pretty nervous about the prospect of baby number 2.

My second c section was very different. I had a date booked at 39 weeks. At just over 36 weeks, my daughter decided that was too long to wait, and I went into labour. 10 minutes after I got to the hospital, the spinal was in, and I was off to the operating room. 30 minutes later, she was out. It was all so calm and civilised. While I was in recovery, I chatted to the nurses about their holiday plans. Then up to my room for the first proper cuddle. It was surreal, in that it was so fast and calm, but had none of the terror of the first time around! The recovery was painful, but no where near as bad as the first time.

I am expecting (hoping?) this time will be more like the second. It’s still hard not to feel fearful though. Scared of the procedure, scared of something going wrong, scared of the pain and recovery. I won’t be able to take as many painkillers (I can no longer tolerate NSAIDs), and that makes me nervous.

This time around, I also have two older children. I think they will be helpful, and love their little brother. I also suspect they will be a bit cranky and resentful of the amount of time he takes up.

All of the contemplation and waiting of pregnancy is a great motivator for creativity. When pregnant with my son, I painted about 70 watercolours. With my daughter, I took up knitting and did lots of abstract acrylics.

This time around, I’m making endless flowers. Watercolours, pen drawings, collages and embroideries. It’s like there is a surge of ideas, and an urgency to get it all out NOW, while I still have the chance. I kind of like that while my body is performing the ultimate act of creativity, my artistic self is on such a roll.

Here are some of the things I’ve been making…

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Line Drawing and reigniting my creative spark

Recently I went and did a little course at Longina Phillips Design. The class focused on drawing for fabric design. I had such a lovely time. I was surrounded by some seriously talented artists, gorgeous flowers, not to mention snacks and tea!

We did a series of drawing exercises, and then got down to work on our main drawings. There were some lovely flowers to use as inspiration

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How gorgeous is this enormous rose?

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I had the most fun with this magnolia branch.

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I’m not sure what I will make with my drawings yet. When they are finished, I’ll scan them and have a play on photo shop. Regardless, it was great to do a class for the first time in years. I’m feeling a lot more motivated and inspired! I’ve been working on a lot of detailed roses, and I’m really enjoying the meditative process of all of the detailed line work.

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