Trip to New Zealand in the snow in a campervan!

Recently we went on a long awaited ten day trip to New Zealand’s South island. Taking three of our adult children with us.

Due to accommodation costs we decided to hire a campervan for the duration. Why not. It will be an adventure they said.

The first night we stayed in a motel close to the airport as the flights there and back are at really inconvenient times.

We arrived at the motel after midnight which was rather dated – kind of seventies vibe…cheap and cheerful let’s just say and were greeted by a really friendly cat who decided to wander in our room and after a bite to eat and a quick drink from the toilet (Ack! I gave him a bowl of water immediately) he proceeded to get quite comfortable on one of the beds. He spent the whole night with us… in my daughters bed, snuggled up with her on the electric blanket. No doubt it’s not the first time this smart cat has done so.  A very nice welcome to the place.


We thought by travelling in a campervan that it would be a good way to cut down on costs as it would enable us to cook as well, instead of having to eat out every day, as NZ is expensive!

This was our home on wheels for the ten day period.  By the end of the trip we were glad to see the back end of it!

Campervan  sm

Why you ask?

Why did we develop such an intense loathing for this vehicle?

For a start, it was very cramped with all five of us in there plus all our luggage. Even though it was a six berth van realistically it would have been much better had we have been travelling in summer, where we could have sat outside – we did pay extra for table and chairs but never used them because it was too damn cold to sit outside.

The interior design sucked. We may have argued about many things on this trip but we all agreed that the layout sucked.

It was like playing interior Tetris, my husband kept saying.  I don’t know that game but I do know that it became INFURIATING trying to squeeze past people in that stupidly small space between the “kitchen area” and the “bathroom”.

Speaking of the bathroom, I was BANNED from using the bathroom.

So unfair!  I thought, great, we have a campervan! This trip I won’t have to be crossing my legs and waiting in agony for us to find public restrooms along the way…. Won’t have to get up and go out in the freezing cold at night to pee in a stinking pit toilet somewhere…. or first thing in the morning when it’s brutally cold and I look like something dug up from the grave.

No! I had to do ALL those things! All because nobody wanted to empty the toilet cassette and everyone thought it was gross for me to even PEE in there. I mean…everybody pees! Maybe it’s just my former years as a nurse, but there are far worse things that that! I tried every which way to convince them but nope, not even a little tinkle was I allowed by my family, which made me sulk. Instead, due to lack of space, the bathroom became our luggage storage closet.  We didn’t even use the shower in there, which admittedly would have been quite a feat in itself as it was very small.  My husband is so tall that he would need a sunroof that opens with the shower head sticking out the top!

As a result, we stayed in several caravan parks so we could shower, and they were not cheap. Over $100 a night for the five of us.

The South island is very different to what little we saw on our previous quick trip to the North.

I wanted the kids to be blown away by the scenery the minute we got there but realistically we drove for most of the first day through pretty boring flat farmland before we began to glimpse the snow-capped mountains in the distance.   A bit different from when we arrived in Wellington and began to see rolling green hills pretty much straight away.

The mountains though. How picturesque they were!  I can honestly say that most of the scenery we saw was absolutely postcard perfect.  The beauty was surreal at times.

Here’s just a few photos…


The lone church  sm

The hills Wanaka  sm

Somebodies view 2  sm

The long straight road  sm

The mossy forest  sm

The most awesome part of the trip for us all was seeing snow.

We have been snow chasing for a few years now and every place we have visited where it is likely to snow we have missed it! Instead days later it has snowed where we just were! Infuriating.

I was fully expecting some bizarre phenomena to happen in New Zealand where the snow would magically part on our route leaving us once again with a snowless experience, but it didn’t! Yay!

We didn’t just see snow, but we actually got to experience it SNOWING!

This is my son and daughters first reaction to snow.

Snow first time  sm

They delighted in their first snow experience though, which made me happy.

Snow Keira  smShai snow angel  sm

Jackson snow 2  sm

My husband took this photo on his phone of the kids and I.  We look like we are doing some sort of magical ritual.

Snow ritual

Snow is fascinating. It falls in some places and not others.  Like some hills are just snow repellent or something. Weird.

It feels like ash falling from the sky (our only reference, coming from Australia where bushfires have caused ash to fall like snow)

Walking in it feels like you’re walking on granola. It makes a satisfying crunch.

It plops down from trees.  Really, “plops” describes it.  I’m thankful I didn’t get plopped on.

It melts quickly when it’s actually snowing on you – so I was worried for my camera.

Some snow is wet and other snow you can lie down on the ground on it and your clothes don’t get wet.  Odd.

Snow is extremely slippery at times.  It looks ugly and sloshy by the roadside.

Snow just transforms landscapes into absolutely magical scenes. At dusk it feels like you are viewing the world in greyscale.

Snow is so silent.

Snow is terrifying when you are driving on winding mountain roads with no guard rails.

Snow makes you cry when your fingers get chilblains.  That happened to me once and it was agony. I wasn’t even touching it!  Just removed one glove to take photos .

Snowballs HURT.

This is what someone looks like being hit by a snowball.  The aftermath is not pretty.

shai hit with snowball  sm closeup

I was told off for continuing to take photo’s in the snowball in the face aftermath.

What was I to do? I had the camera in my hands. I was just documenting!

Shai crying snowball.  smalljpg

Some of my favourite snow pics.

Snowy road first pass  sm

snow on trees sm

Snow wood 4 sm

Pine trees snow monochrome  sm

All five of us live together quite happily at home where we spread out and do our own thing, but being cramped so close together in a confined space day and night began to take its toll.

We all began to crave some alone time.

Alone  sm

The kids got tired of me asking them to pose for the camera.

Shai and Jackson looking happy  sm

We made Shai cry seven times during the trip.  I can’t even explain. We didn’t mean to. She just seemed PARTICULARLY sensitive.   I had one argument with her because she accused me of being a camera hog, which made me mad because I was quite aware that this COULD be an issue so I was trying very hard to share nicely.

The argument happened at Wanaka, where I was really looking forward to photographing the most photographed tree in the whole of New Zealand. Why? Because I just had a bee in my bonnet about doing so!
I was surprised when we drove up found the exact spot RIGHT at sunset. I expected to have to walk to find it  So I quickly got out the car but beating me to it Shai took the camera first and went trotting off to take photo’s of the water and reflections.
I was getting panicky because the light was changing and I just wanted to take the opportunity because I knew there was no WAY I’d get everyone up at the crack of dawn to go down there just so I could photograph it.   I was trying to be nice for THEM….avoid the inconvenience of a freezing cold dawn trip.
I was getting quite cranky with Shai. I saw her off in the distance just sitting there seemingly just looking out at the water at the beautiful scenery, which made me REALLY mad!

What the heck was she doing now ? Just meditating while I’m standing there, camera- less, with this beautiful light that was going to disappear at any minute! So I motioned very exaggeratedly at her with my arms in a movement that said “ Come here NOW! “ (Pointing to the ground)
And then there was an awkward moment when I realised that the person I was making this angry motioning to, who was looking right at me – and then looked behind her in confusion….was not Shai at all, but some innocent person who indeed was just sitting there meditating, enjoying the beautiful scenery.

This was the photo I eventually ended up getting.

That Wanaka tree  sm flipped 2

We argued over beds.  See there were three double beds in the campervan.

My son, thankfully volunteered to sleep with my husband up the top – the biggest bed.  I was SO glad, because I can’t sleep with him as he snores. (At home we have separate rooms)

The longest bed was at the back of the camper so Shai (being so tall) and Keira slept there…most of the time.  I got the bed in the middle of the camper, which was the one that converts to a table, and driving seats during the day.  It had a big open space underneath it though which seemed to store up all the cold air so it was a bit like sleeping on top of an open freezer.

Shai who needs complete darkness and silence to sleep was disturbed by Keira who needs to be watching her screen. I need to watch something too or else my mind spins in endless circles but the glare from MY  tablet screen reflected in the shiny grill surface and somehow Keira could see that and this disturbed HER.  The men at the top were happy enough in their snoring and farting bliss. We were glad to be well away from their man smell funkiness.

They only supplied three quilts and three thin blankets, presuming that people sleeping together would share a quilt, but my husband grabbed one, my son the other, Shai took the last one and Keira, as she feels the cold more than I do, took two blankets, which left me with one thin blanket sleeping in a van in a place that snows!  I resorted to wearing three layers of clothing to bed but I was still waking up at dawn with ice blocks for feet.

I must admit. At times it was a bit like living in an igloo. Cramped and cold.

Shai igloo  sm

Then there was the issue of trying not to disturb people in that confined space.

Many a morning I would try to make a cup of tea as quietly as possible, then I’d crawl behind the ladder and over the seat into the cab of the van to try not to disturb people. I’d had these fantasies about getting up really early to get the nice dawn light for photos, but trying to get everyone up and ready for the day was impossible!

Other people had less regard for others who don’t do mornings well.

One time Shai got up early and proceeded to eat rice crackers and dip before anyone woke up.

Well, guess what- people woke up, because rice crackers are extremely noisy.  If you really want to make people fuming mad in the morning, eat loud rice crackers.

It seemed to disturb Keira the most who spent the entire day in a foul mood shooting dagger like looks at Shai and had a REALLY hard time forgiving her for the “loud food” incident.

One night we arrived fairly late at a campground and were happy to have the place all to ourselves.  There was not much there -a very quiet spot next to a lake, a bit secluded really, with nothing more than a pit toilet.

An hour or two after we arrived though, around 8 pm or so, another car pulled up and three people, a girl and two guys got out and began setting up two tents.  I peeked through the curtains out at them and could see that they were sharing a bottle of alcohol.  Fine, as long as the party doesn’t get wild, I thought.

Soon after I began to hear guitar playing and singing.  It was about 9 pm.

I was a little annoyed. They set up camp quite close to us.  A bit inconsiderate but none the less, it’s a free world. In this case – campsite.

Then I began to hear bongo drums accompanying the guitar playing. Sheesh!  Why not just invite the whole band!

10 o clock and they were really getting into it, and by now I was a little bit nervous because another car arrived and although I couldn’t see properly with my peeking, I was sure they knew each other.

I really needed to pee by then, but I was nervous going out there in the dark with the party people going full swing. Luckily Shai was getting up so I took the opportunity and went with her.

We only had one small pocket torch – a huge oversight by us…Really should have packed a decent torch because we knew we would be staying in free campgrounds along the way.

Having spent hours peeking at our noisy neighbours and having all kinds of imaginary scenarios running through my head I was really edgy, so when Shai took the torch and left me standing outside her toilet cubicle in complete pitch black darkness, I freaked a little…imagining someone coming out of the dark at me, so without thinking…(really honestly, a complete brainfart moment) I decided to go into the stall next to Shai to try to just pee in the dark.

Thinking that you can find your way around a totally pitch black PIT TOILET is insane, gah, but at least the door was closed so I felt safe from any potential bogey men.

I was kind of feeling with my foot for the toilet, but as you do, in the dark, your hands are outstretched in front of you, and all of a sudden I got the shock of my life when my hands touched something I instantly recognised to be NOT something I would EVER want to be touching.  It was a urinal.

Blegh! Oh! YUCK! Gross! Contamination overload! I got out of there REAL quick.  Even the scary darkness was better than THAT!

Then there was the bacon frying incident.

Having some leftover bacon my husband decided to cook some potatoes one night with chopped bacon that we would just have with grated cheese for dinner.  He’d already tried to cook egg and bacon for sandwiches the day before and had a traumatic time with the frying pan and oil as it kept popping and spitting – like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before. In the confines of a small van this kind of thing can actually be quite violent and dangerous!  Your food should not hurt you.

The thought did cross my mind that by chopping the bacon up it might cause flying projectiles around the campervan, but we were hungry!

Well, that’s exactly what DID happen…Explosive bits of bacon began popping like out of control popcorn out of the pan and hitting my husband’s glasses, spitting out across the van – one even flying into the pocket of my jacket that was draped across the back of a seat. Everyone literally had to take cover!

We had the loud food incident, and now we were having the dangerous food incident.

Somehow there was enough bacon that stayed in the pan for us to have dinner that night, but we were glad to have that ordeal over and done with. We stuck to food that would not become dangerous missiles after that.

Our biggest disappointment on the trip was driving up the west coast where it was said to be one of the worlds top ten coastal drives.

It was rather disappointing.  Granted, the weather we had then was miserable but still, it seemed like we were driving on roads hedged in with thick rainforest for a lot of the time with very little coast to see and when we did see it it was misty and gloomy and terribly windy.

Here is a nice moody pic of the ocean I took – and was nearly blown away while I tried to take it!

The stormy sea 2  sm

We were also disappointed by the glaciers.  The helicopter flights, which seemed the best way to see the glaciers were ludicrously expensive, and not even flying that day due to poor weather.  We contemplated walking to the glacier but from doing reading it seems that you can’t really walk that close to it anyway – due to many accidents they have prevented this…. It was raining, I had the camera to think about. We opted to give it a miss.

This is what glacial water looks like. It truly is that stunning aqua blue colour. No photoshopping. It’s just the most divine colour caused by the sediments that have been transported through the rivers to the lakes.

blue pool 2  sm

We headed to a beach around there where there was reportedly a colony of seals. None were to be seen. The weather was probably too miserable for them too!

We did however see a Kiwi which was about the most exciting thing we’d seen that day.

The scariest moment on the trip, (besides groping the urinal in the dark) was when we’d travelled up to Arkaroa on our second last day.  What a beautiful place!  But oh…driving around the winding mountain tops on snowy roads really truly made me feel sick to my stomach with anxiety!

Windey snowy roads with view  sm

Windey snowy roads  sm

There are no guard rails, or few anyway, not that they would do much good if your vehicle skidded on the road, very high drops and very winding roads with hairpin bends.  It was spectacular but in a campervan I felt very very nervous!   That is definitely a place though that I’d like to visit again and explore more.

View over Arkaroa

Panorama 2  sm

So the highlights of the trip for us was going through the passes and seeing snow for the first time…being snowed ON… Seeing all the amazing spectacular snow capped mountains, and the cat who slept in our motel room.

The disappointments were that everything is soooo expensive. We saw a cucumber for $6 !  Queenstown was a place I couldn’t wait to get out of as it was SO busy with so many posy yuppie types of people hanging around on corners looking all cool with their snowboards – and there was nowhere to park a campervan there anyway.  We weren’t going to ski, which I suppose is what most people go to the south for in winter…but there seemed to be little else on our chosen route to do except look at amazing scenery.   I expected to see more quaint little towns along the way. More museums or things like that which might not cost an arm and a leg but would be interesting to visit. We did visit Puzzling world in Wanaka which was very reasonable at $20 per person and just a bit of fun.

It seems that the south is for the highly adventurous, bungee jumping and all that kind of heart attack stuff, and those that want to take long hikes and don’t mind getting wet or snowed on.

Next time I want to go back to the North and do more exploring up that way.  I was quite taken by all the rolling green hills of the north which the south replaces with rugged mountains and beautiful glacial lakes.

Either way, New Zealand, so far, in all our travels, is to me the most scenic place I have ever visited – has no dangerous snakes and spiders, and I definitely want to experience more of it, but probably in the warmer months next time, and probably not in a campervan.

The family  sm






Posted in Family, Humour, life experiences, memories, Nature, New Zealand, photography, scenery, snow, Travel, travel blog, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blood, sweat and bohemian tears.

I have been like a mad woman possessed these past few weeks.

I don’t know what has come over me but for some reason I feel compelled to paint, which is something, in the past, that has never really struck my fancy because painting is HARD and messy, and time consuming and quite frankly I suck at it.

Never again will I go to an art gallery and look at a piece of abstract art and think -“Oh that is so simple even I could paint something like that.”

I’ll tell you this now…it is NOT as easy as it looks. Really it is not.

For the past three days I have been working on creating an abstract painting on a vertical canvas.

I have started from scratch SEVEN times on this damn thing.  It’s been shades of red, shades of blue, shades of turquoise,  blue and orange…and…oh, I forget what else, but it’s been EVERYTHING  and I hated them all.  In fact I began to think very violent thoughts towards this canvas.  I ALMOST got a knife and slashed it to pieces at one point.

I tried ALL kinds of techniques, watched many youtube tutorials.  Scrunched plastic in paint on it.  Sanded it back…used my hands to smoosh paint. Spattered paint, used washes of paint, added texture…added MORE texture.

It was driving me absolutely insane!

Why could I not DO this! It’s abstract. Doesn’t actually have to LOOK like anything, right?  Just needs to express a FEELING…or something.

I felt trapped in an eternal painting hell. Honestly I did.

I painted from the time I got up, until the time I went to bed… kidding!

Today, finally the torture has ended.

I am NOT going to change a thing.

I REFUSE to be tempted to add ” just one little bit”….because I know where THAT ends up!

Finally it is done.

My very out there,  “Blood sweat and bohemian tears.”  That’s what I should call it.

And I tell you what, if anyone ever is crazy enough to ask how much it is, I will charge for mental anguish.


Bohemian painting retouched 2 small

Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, I can't paint, life experiences, painting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

The disaster zone.

If I were really pretentious I’d say I have an “art studio” But I’m not a pretentious sort of person, so I could say  “My craft room”, but it’s not really a room, because it’s a garage, and I’ve seen too many neat orderly WHITE, perfectly organised spaces that people call their “craft rooms”.   (They scare me.)

I’ve seen craft rooms where everything is filed away, alphabetically listed, all the storage containers are exactly the same and all slot into their allocated spot perfectly and there is not one spec of glue or paint to be seen anywhere.   These aren’t crafters or artists! They’re aliens!  How can people work like that!

My name is Tracy, I have a garage where I make stuff and it’s a disaster zone.

Feels like some kind of a confession or something.

I AM a compulsive maker of stuff.  Always have been.  It’s just that now I’m making it and I have to sell it because I just can’t keep making it and keeping it!

After having recently moved house I finally cleared a space in the garage for myself.

It’s a nice space. I can have the garage roller door open in summer to let the breeze through and the views outside to the lake are nice and calming.  The only issue are the lights which are on a stupid sensor thingy, so sometimes they have a mind of their own and I have to either do a dance back and forth across a certain point to make them come back on, or else sit in the half dark with the lamp on until somehow it resets itself and allows me to put them back on!  Just one of those quirky things you get used to.

This is what it looked like when it was all new and pristine and orderly and all.  Note that nothing matches at all and things are still in cardboard boxes.  But still….this is NEAT, for me.

Craft space BEFORE

Take a good long look because it will NEVER EVER look that way again.  Not even in a blue moon when all the planets are aligned and a frog sits next to a hare on the road.

This is how it looks today.

Craft space after working in it

I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of my mess.  This is pure delicious inspiration in the makings here…..this is where a piece of ripped cardboard I dropped on the floor would make a PERFECT clock surround…  Where the crumpled ball of tissue paper that rolled under my chair comes in handy just about now!  Where a ball of wool gets flung in the general direction of the wool box, because I can’t be bothered getting up because I just have that one last little piece to paint!

This is where I sit almost every day and listen to the local radio station and just let my mind float.

I do a lot of thinking in here, believe it or not.

I think about the things that are bothering me….the things I’m looking forward to….the things I want to do….to make… But a lot of that time my head is just “free”  and clear  and not really thinking of much at all because I’m too busy trying to solve problems.

A lot of what I do involves problem solving.

“How can I make THIS  look like THAT?”.

“What colours will enhance the rusty look?”

“How do I draw that shape?  How do I cut that out?  How….how….how…?”

My hands are so busy that it quiets my very busy mind, and this is a GOOD thing.


I may not be weaving baskets but I’m certainly keeping myself from going insane.

This mess is ME and where I am the most happiest being ME.


Oh it’s not always like this.  Sometimes it’s worse!

I move in cycles…..create, create, create….ohmygodIcantstandthechaosanymore!

Then I have to stop and restore some order or else I’m likely to become buried like something from an episode of hoarders.

I’m ALMOST at that point now.

This is what birthed from the bloodied loins of my beautiful disaster zone today.


I loved the bottle when I first saw it, but the contents were ghastly.

My husband and I shared it when we stayed in the city one night to see the Vivid Lights show.

I don’t know what exactly the drink was but it was pink and vile and bubbly.  I just needed that bottle!

What you do for your art hey?

Steam punk bottle 1  sm











Posted in Altered bottles, Art, Arty farty, Australia, Craft, Creativity, happiness, health and well being, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The wall.

Sheep doorway Abbey  sm

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”
-khalil gibran

I saw this quote on a fellow bloggers post  last night and the words rang so true for me. -

You KNOW when you are living a life that is not true to your soul- the very core of who you are. When you are trying to make all the puzzle pieces fit to make this perfect picture, but no matter what they just don’t fit?

You just know.

I know you understand the feeling.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Because we THINK we can “make it work”.

We think, because we want something SO much, with every fibre of our being, and with EVERY good intention, that somehow the magic will somehow manifest itself in us and give us superpowers to be able to mould and change things and make them exactly as our souls eye pictured it to be.

The thing is, we DO have superpowers to be able to mould and change OURSELVES…but we are completely powerless to change others around us.

So after waving our magic wands around frantically and futilely, eventually we get trapped…IN THAT WALL.
Stuck in limbo, unable to move forward because we just cannot believe in the garden that logically, intelligently we know is on the other side. Maybe we even forget it’s there?
Maybe it just feels safer to be in the wall? Right here, right now, between the bricks. It’s the only thing you truly can trust.

But this is what being in the wall does to you.

It strips you of joy.
Numbs the senses…
It fills you with anxiety- because when your core being recognises it is living a lie, it manifests as anxiety.
It robs your confidence, steals your sleep, and literally makes you sick!

I saw this happen to my daughter, who was in a relationship that deep deep down, she knew was not “right” for her core happiness. Her spirit…her soul…her inner truth!

She didn’t want to believe that or acknowledge it because she had this vision and believed she had the power to make it all fall into place.

There is nothing wrong with having faith in yourself…having dreams and goals and fighting for something. It’s how good things are born!
But sometimes you’ve got to take a long hard look inward, and ask yourself “Can this truly change to fit my picture? Is this the reality I want?”

I know my daughter could never have imagined that she would end up a single mother to two boys. The thought I know must have filled her with terror.
But you know what? She can now see the garden on the other side of the wall! She’s IN it. The wind on her face, the grass beneath her feet… and SURE it’s scary. Sometimes lonely, and I’m sure she’ll get lost in it many more times before she finally finds the path she is meant to be on…But she is out of that damn stuck place now, where she was- with NO garden at all!

It takes IMMENSE courage to move forward. To be truthful with yourself and find the strength to let go of “the picture” and have the guts to create a new one.
There is ALWAYS a new one, because that is the reality of life.

Fear is stupid. It holds you in handcuffs made of air and puts you inside walls that only exist in your mind.

Go walk in the garden! Discover it! Bask in the sunshine!
Don’t waste another precious second of this fleeting gift of- your LIFE.

Posted in Fear, happiness, Life, life experiences, Musings, relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is that art?

Art, as we all know, is totally subjective.  It all depends on what people make of it, and some people make a hell of a lot out of a simple squiggle.

Reminds me of something I saw on Facebook recently where a bunch of hoity toity art connoisseurs are getting excited by a pair of glasses someone left on the floor during an exhibition.   Obviously the glasses “spoke” to them.

I’ve always wanted to make art, but I cannot paint. Nope…A brush in my hand is about as useful as an extra thumb.  I just don’t know what to DO with it…a paintbrush that is.

Speaking of extra thumbs…I actually had an elderly patient once who had two thumbs. I kid you not.  It was a bit like a crab claw on her hand.  Fascinating.

I’m beginning to explore painting.  I can’t paint recognisable things – not yet. Do I even want to though?  I must admit, just like the imagination involved with cloud watching, I’m a bit more swayed towards abstract art.  Not ALL abstract art though, as some of it just doesn’t appeal to me at all.   Like – simple squiggles.  Or geometric stuff.  Or paintings that are so washed out and simplistic you have to wonder did the artist want to keep it a secret all to him/herself? Some people like that though and “get it”.  I don’t.

But I do love colours and textures.   Textures are great!  Something you can really get your teeth into, if your eyes had teeth.   Nothing better than a textural painting that seems to want to rip its way out of the canvas and devour you.  Ok…I’m getting carried away here, but you know what I mean.

So, I have been messing about with creating some textural paintings.  Acrylic paints with texture paste….and whatever else is handy.   I’ve made two attempts.  I personally think they are still a bit clumsy ….BUT, I’m always SO self critical…and you’ve got to start somewhere.

This was my first attempt at an abstract painting.  I just KNOW I’ll end up modifying the colour….but it is what it is so far.

I used texture paste, wool, glue, tissue paper and paint.  It reminded me of the ocean.

My daughter said she saw a dead fish in it.  Someone else said a tennis racket.  My father saw a wine glass.  Someone else saw the moon rising over reeds…

Abstract sea theme  sm

I like that people saw different things.  I guess that’s a start hey!

Then today I finished a set of three abstract paintings that are probably more of a decorative accent thing than anything else.  These were fun to make and I like the colours and the swirls.  Circles and swirls are my thing.   Squares and lines….not so much, but who knows… A square may “speak to me” one day.

Abstract red set of three.  smjpg



Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, Creativity, I can't paint, mixed media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

It is what it Isn’t!

I’m in this mad creative frenzy at the moment.  Funny how that happens. You go through periods where your inspiration just dries up and it’s like you are trudging through this vast desert of “what the heck am I supposed to do now!”-parched and dry with the vultures circling overhead… and then suddenly your head just explodes and there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things your brain is throwing at you!

Mind exploding

(Wish I could credit the artist who drew this cute little doodle!  Saw it on Facebook.)

This mixed media art stuff is just sooo addictive because anything and everything becomes inspiration.  I just LOVE looking at stuff and seeing it, in my imagination, as something else.

There is something almost childlike about doing that… Ever watched toddlers or even babies explore something new?  They figure out what it’s supposed to do, but then, when they tire of that, they start figuring out other potential uses for it… A bucket becomes a hat, or a seat or a drum… It doesn’t just have to be something you PUT something in. The possibilities are almost endless! We are BORN with this kind of creativity!

I think as we grow up though we lose this ability to look at things from all angles. We become “it is what it is” people.

Boring!  Don’t ever become one of those people – because then you get old, quicker, and before you know it you’ve got doilies on the coffee table and three flying ducks on the wall.   No offense to doily and three flying ducks folk, but I just happen to dislike those things immensely -unless I can turn them into something else!

Dream catchers

The other day I spotted my daughters tea strainer thingy in the kitchen.  You know, the little ball ones that open up? Oh my God…immediately I saw steampunk goggles!  In fact while rummaging in the kitchen drawer, I discovered a spare tea strainer thingy, similar but not quite the same…it must be one my husband bought.  I stood there playing with it,  one that kind of springs open with a scissor type mechanism, and I accidentally broke it.  What a shame hey…. I really didn’t MEAN to, but since it’s broken now…..

Tea goggles

Then, the other evening I had to laugh when my son came home – he is working as a mechanic, so I asked him if at work if there are ever little bits and pieces lying around that look vaguely steam punky?  (Worth asking?)  At the same time I mentioned that I’d found something interesting in the garage (my craft space) that I was excited about because it had “potential”.

Battery bit

Well, his eyes went wide when he saw the bit I was talking about.

“You can’t use that! That is the clip that holds the battery in, in my other car!” he said.

Bwahhahahaha!  Oh my, I found that extremely funny!

I was disappointed, but very amused.

“Don’t leave your bits in here then!” I said.  “They WILL get used!”

Recently my husband began the process of replacing the spring type thingies that close the cupboard doors in the kitchen –or in our case DON’T close the doors.

Even those it seems have potential.  Once he is done I am going to remove all the little spring things in them.  I’m sure they will have a use in my projects.  When I told him this he said  “ Nothing is sacred with you is it?”

Well!  If it’s going in the bin, why not!

We went to Bunnings (big hardware store) – to get the new spring thingies for the doors.   I stood transfixed in the “fixings” aisle…as my husband called it.  The aisle where all the screws and washers and doodads are.  I don’t know what half of them are called, but OH, I could see sooo much potential in some of the stuff!

I ended up getting a bunch of washers and some other things that I have no idea what they are used for but I am using them for steam punk art! Here are some I have already glued together.


I told my husband “ You should think yourself lucky that you have a wife that you can keep happy by buying her a few packets of washers!

This is my latest creation…because in MY world, pigs CAN fly!

The hot air balloon is a slice of Styrofoam ball on cardboard wrapped in packing tape, tissue paper, a piece of webby like scarf, and junk jewellery.  The wings are made from cardboard, glue and tissue paper.   The tractor is a cheap fridge magnet that I doozied up a bit and the pig…oh the dramas with the pig!  The pig is simply a vintage pig from a site called The Graphics Fairy, where you can download and use royalty free vintage images.

flying pig  sm

Originally, for the pig, I wanted to use a toy plastic pig, cut in half so the back part was flat, and just have that suspended from the balloon…I thought I’d buy one of those cheap farmyard animal sets.  Do you think I could FIND one though?  Nope!  Not anywhere!

When I was mumbling about making it, and on the hunt for a suitable pig my husband said “ Why a pig?”   ::::  face palm :::

THAT is because he is an “ it is what it is” person.

I should buy him some doilies and flying ducks.



Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, Children, Craft, crafts, Creativity, Family, Humour, husbands, Life, Marriage, mixed media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Did you see the whales?


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Last night I had a dream that I went walking by the ocean and in the distance I could see a whole pod of Orcas swimming under the water.
I never saw any of them fully breach but I could see them just under the surface swimming playfully, and there must have been hundreds! I was amazed and overjoyed by the sight.

At some point a man came walking past and I exclaimed “Did you see the whales!” We both stopped and watched as once again they rose just below the surface.
I then said to this stranger “It’s weird isn’t it. Here we are, both species living in different dimensions. Different planes of existence, both so contrary to the other and yet both exist. I wonder if they stare up at us humans, out of their world and wonder about us and our lives?”

Yep, just like me to launch into something deep and meaningful with a complete stranger…even in my dreams!

It made me think (in my dream – see, even asleep I never stop thinking!) about my belief that there is MORE to life than we know.  I resonate strongly to the theory that there is not just one plane of existence, but many, and these we cannot humanly fathom. And…maybe we are not meant to?

I googled this morning what the significance of whales are in mythology, just out of curiosity. This is the first thing I found. “Killer whales are considered a particular symbol of power and strength, and catching sight of one is considered a momentous omen.”

I also found on “Whale facts”  this…


Depending on whom you listen to the symbolic meaning of whales in dreams can vary dramatically.



Whales usually represent a big event in your life or a strong feeling of solitude.

Some people believe that whales are associated with peace, serenity, spirituality and tranquility.

The appearance of a whale in a dream can signify that everything is or will be o.k. and is often related to spiritual matters of the mind and heart.

In dreams that focus on a particular individual the appearance of a whale can identify that person as trustworthy and good spirited, and can give you a feeling of connectedness with that individual.

Some people have even interpreted the symbol of a whale as the feeling of a loving mother who protects her child.

Deep feelings and close emotional connections are often associated with these majestic animals.

Whales tend to appear during times of relevance when you are currently facing an issue in your life.

At times whales may also represent power, leadership and strength.

They symbolize that you can accomplish your goals and have the strength and intuition to overcome the obstacles in your life.

They’re a sign of protection and a signal that you need to relax and stop worrying.


Dreaming of the ocean is very much tied to the emotions, so it is said. Maybe that explains all my dreams of giant tidal waves, which I often have. They are particularly frightening dreams. I think they are a symbol of my fear of being out of control.
In fact, I rarely have peaceful pleasant dreams involving the ocean, but last nights was indeed surrounded by a peaceful positive feeling.

I wonder who the stranger was though?

So… perhaps (hopefully!) something momentously positive is about to happen?

Whatever it is, maybe I’ll have a whale of a time 🙂

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Hot pokers,dead trees and Hoar Frost.


I never realised just how lucky I am to have such a patient husband until a recent road trip I took with my daughter and the two grand kids to the snow…where there WAS no snow (Weep- it eluded me yet AGAIN!)

You see, my daughter is the sort of person who wants to get from A to B in the quickest time possible, by the shortest route possible.

I understand.  The five month old has just recently learned how to shriek like a banshee in indignation every time the car slows, even a little bit.  It’s kind of like having hot pokers repeatedly jabbed in your ears.

But I think even without the hot pokers my daughter would still be the same…Lets just GET there!

I’m not used to travelling like that.  I have been spoiled by my dear husband who has always been so accommodating, and whether it be me with a video camera, or a camera, or just me wanting to get out and say hi to the cows…well, he always stops for me, and there IS no great rush.

So there I sat in the car, one lone dead tree after another whizzing by.  How I mourned those trees, because, if you aren’t somehow aware, lone dead trees are simply irresistible to photographers!

Their stoic and stubborn fortitude, their proud victory against wind, rain, drought and all that the elements can throw at them in their beaten gnarly glory! They scream, “ I was here!  I AM still here!”

Lone dead trees are simply visual poetry to the photographer.

Take a look at this one, from our UK trip. It’s quirky…got a sense of humour, a bit of a larrikin tree I’d say, in it’s hey day.

Dead tree field sm

My daughter doesn’t understand.  As I sat grieving the trees, whimpering softly as yet another fine specimen disappeared in a blur she said…

“Do you just like dead trees because you’ve got a black thumb?”

Of course, I couldn’t expect her to stop every five minutes…  Little hot pokers you see.  And besides, we were off to see the SNOW (which didn’t exist).

I resorted to trying to take photo’s from the moving car.  This is never easy, and tinted windows make it even harder.  I did snap this…which was interesting because it was the winter sun, in broad daylight.  The window tinting I think did something to the image and made it look almost like a night time shot.  Strange, but I kind of like it.

winter sun 2  sm

Sometimes I just refused to look out my window.  I entered a state of denial.   “There is NOTHING nice out there to photograph” I told myself and stared straight ahead…  but even that sometimes became interesting. “Oh…look at that nice loooong road ahead!”

Long road  sm

My finger must have become jittery because I even managed to accidentally take a few pictures of my daughters lap.

So… We did have a lovely time, despite the absence of (real) snow.  My three year old grandson got to play in the fake snow, we went on some lovely walks, had far too many fattening treats to eat, saw some of the wildlife (Emu and deer, birds…) and just generally hung out together, which was really nice!

On the last day on the way home though, early in the morning we suddenly drove into thick fog and then a miracle met my eyes.

A winter wonderland suddenly appeared in front of us. It was AMAZING, because I’d never seen anything like it before.  It kind of looked like snow, but I knew it wasn’t!  It was like a really heavy frost that hung off every blade of grass, every wire, every leaf….Like magic this land of ice was suddenly THERE coming out of the fog..and stuff it, hot pokers in the back seat or not I KNEW I just had to take photo’s of this!

Oh be still my heart…Just take a look at what I saw!

Frost and trees  sm

Tree's frost sm

Frost grass  sm

Frost fence cows  sm

I think even my daughter was impressed by the scene. Hot pokers in his car seat?… meh, not so much.

I have now learned that this phenomena is called a Hoar Frost.  It’s when “water vapour goes directly to a solid state, skipping the liquid stage altogether. The frost clings and grows on any type of exposed surface, including trees, wires and bushes. “

Simply magic!

PS….This is Hot Pokers trying carrot for the first time.

Big people food






Posted in Australia, daughters, Family, grandchildren, Humour, husbands, life experiences, Nature, photographers, photography, scenery, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The mental writing of eulogies.


Last night- well, as late as 3 am I lay in bed mentally writing my 17 year sons eulogy.

I imagined him dead in a ditch…car rolled down an embankment, sunk at the bottom of a cold cold lake, smouldering in flames… or some such awful thing.

I envisioned him beat up by a gang of thugs…in hospital, his bloodied face swollen and unrecognisable, with no ID on him – because his wallet was stolen- and this was the reason the police hadn’t come knocking on my door.

I even contemplated washing my hair, just in case the police arrived, and then felt awful for being so vain. (It really needs washing though.)

I imagined that someone had slipped him something….some drug, and maybe he had a catastrophic reaction.

I imagined him hurt, in pain, broken, deceased in all manner of ways…All these terrible things.

You see, he hadn’t contacted me to tell me he wasn’t coming home, from a birthday party he intended to “pop” into.

He ALWAYS messages me! He’s good that way and I’m ok as long as I know WHERE they are and WHO they are with. You have to eventually let go,in tiny painful increments and let them have the chance TO be trusted….and have faith that your morals have somehow been ingrained into their psyche, at least when it REALLY counts.

You know they are going to make mistakes. There is no avoiding that. It is the job of teenagers to make mistakes. You yourself made plenty of mistakes, so it’s no use pretending that somehow you have the power to prevent them from making them, because you just don’t.   It’s how they learn and grow- but you hope the mistakes they make will not be ones that they can’t come back from.

I tried calling him a million times but his phone just made a funny beeping sound. I messaged his friends on facebook – (it was late, I didn’t want to phone anyone) but they didn’t respond.

I went through all the stages of grief until finally I got the shits and thought, well stuff it…dead or not, I need to SLEEP!

This morning he arrived home and after I threw a colourful hissy fit in the front hallway, where he stood and looked down at me, shocked and a bit awkward in the presence of my grand hysteria, he told me he’d SENT me a message on facebook to say he was staying at his friends place and then went to sleep.

Fancy that.  There I am in bed, chewing my arms off with worry,the two sides of my personality in brutal combat, trying to make sense of the situation…calming myself down… freaking myself out, and there he is sleeping like a baby. Snoring and farting in peaceful freaking oblivion.

Obviously there had been a glitch. I didn’t receive the message he apparently sent.

He doesn’t understand. THEY don’t understand. Not until they have their own children will they understand what runs through a mothers (or fathers) mind.

They just cannot understand how much love,blood, sweat and tears (and mental cuss words) have been invested in their existence.

They simply cannot comprehend that the umbilical cord is never severed. It remains invisible to every sense except the soul.

They might scoff at your “over reactions” and roll their eyes at your hysteria, but one day, in all probability, even if only for a fleeting moment, when they have teenagers of their own, in the middle of some dark winters night, they too will learn what it is like to experience the anguish of the mental writing of eulogies.

Posted in Anxiety, Children, death, Family, Fear, Life, life experiences, Love, mothers, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My mechanical heart.

Man, is it raining cats and dogs or what!  (Where on earth did that saying come from anyway?)

So I’ve been glued to the weather stations getting very excited at a predicted East Coast low which was supposed to happen, but didn’t… All we’ve had was a TONNE of rain! Perfect weather for hibernating in my garage and getting stuck into some juicy creating.

I had the biggest hissy fit whilst trying to make a simple heart shape for this.

I’ve had some polymer clay sitting around for um….a few years now..  I thought, well MAYBE I can soften it up?   But anyone who has ever worked with polymer clay (Fimo/Sculpey) knows that there comes a point where no amount of heating or kneading, or bashing, or mineral oil is going to soften that damn stuff up!

I DID try…. EVERYTHING, including getting very VERY angry and bashing it to death with a rolling pin  – more so to relieve my frustration because it didn’t do anything! My hands were SO sore!   I think it is headed for the bin now .

Sooo…how else to make a heart shape that is going to be 3 D-ish yet rigid enough to stick on canvas?

Well….First I cut a heart shape out of some cardboard that I’d saved  and have a look at this…!!!  It delighted me when I turned it over to discover THIS on the back!


I love when life throws you little coincidences like that 🙂  (Because I DO have a fragile heart!)

Anyway, so I blobbed some pillow stuffing onto the heart shape and then proceeded to wrap packing tape around it until it formed a suitable plumpish heart shape….The rest is history… Tissue paper, glue veins and paint and presto I had my meaty looking heart!

Then I raided the tool cupboard and my bits and pieces stash , glue up to my armpits, paint, texture paste….and viola!  – My Mechanical heart!

Loads of steampunkery going on and quite “dark”….  Maybe the Goths will like it?

Oh and look! There are some of my wings I made from my last blog post! 🙂

My mechanical heart LR small

Posted in Art, Arty farty, Australia, crafts, Creativity, mixed media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments