What a lovely time we had in Melbourne! Christmas was simple and quiet, just J, his sister and me. Don't you love our table setting? Nothing like a gold Holy Family and a reindeer with a bit of a feather boa!

The rest of the stay was spent resting, walking about a bit, watching a movie or two, shopping just a little and visiting some places.

I really wanted to visit Heide after reading three-and-a-half books about some of the significant players in it's history. The half a book was Albert Tucker's autobiography. I didn't take to it and/or him but I may try again later. But the other books were The Heart Garden, Sunday Reed's biography; Joy Hester's biography; and Dear Sun, letters between Sunday and Joy. It was interesting to read about the intense relationships between the Reeds, their friends and lovers.

It was fascinating to see the original property Heide I, where Nolan painted 25 of the Kelly paintings, which he left behind with Sunday when their affair ended. And the cow shed where the paintings were stored! I think Nolan's biography might be next on my reading list.

Cubism & Australian Art is being exhibited in Heide II and III. I love a bit of cubism, with some excellent cut-and-paste work. You should see my visual diary! When I don't feel like drawing I cut up all my collected brochures and postcards and do some pasting work.

It turned out to an eventful day, well worth the visit and to walk around the grounds and see the sculpture park. We travelled there by bus, only 10 minutes from where we were staying but we missed the stop. I wasn't exactly sure where to get off so we winged it. We ended up walking in the wrong direction, under the bridge and along the Yarra and found ourselves on the Artists' Trail. So in fact we relived some of the Heidelberg boys favourite spots for painting.

We made it to Heide, though I have to say signage from the main road was poor. And who knew the 'helmet' sculpture was what we were looking for? (Don't worry. I'm big on giving a bit of feedback to public institutions.) We were bemused to find the Heide cafe was booked out (every day!) and the only sustenance we could buy was some 'freshly squeezed juice'. ($4 for a small bottle. Everything was a bit pricey.) We weren't impressed. We bought the bottles home for SA's 10c refund. Cheapskates!) So we didn't have anything to eat.

As the day progressed, I suddenly felt very faint so laid down under a tree. In retrospect (or even at the time), I think it was many things: no breakfast (I know, I know...), no lunch, walking/lost on a warm day, a toothache being heavily controlled with supersonic analgesics, small juice but lots of water. You can see where this is going... I couldn't see myself walking and bussing home, so J called a taxi (champion!) and we got home in time for me to vomit up my empty stomach.

I can highly recommend Heide as a great place to visit with families. It's free if you don't got into the exhibition. Lots of grounds and sculptures to explore. Information boards given some insight into the Reed's life at Heide. Just don't rely on the cafe. Bring your own picnic. The facilities, as we call them, were super-duper! Brand new toilets and there are Aesop products to wash and moisture your hands.

There was the requisite visit to the NGV, where everything we saw was free. Plus we had lunch and afternoon tea there (with 10% discount for interstate gallery membership).

J had the thickest and richest hot chocolate we'd ever seen. I finally got to taste a macaroon. Decadence.

Lot of walks around town, requisite visits to Melbourne lanes.

Two gorgeously cheeky buskers, playing livey, French, gypsy music (assumptions on my part).

It was a lovely, quiet holiday. I took lots of photos as reference material for this year's work. (Ha! My photography skills are crap but handy for other projects. My excuse for not doing any real work!)

The only bad bit was the toothache. Well, I wasn't in pain every minute of the day, but off and on. But, boy, did I swallow a lot of analgesics. Strangely, once we got home the pain was less and less. Who knew!

All of a sudden we were flying back home on a half empty flight, which was good for us. We got ourselves seated way up the back with lots of empty seats (rows of them!). I can recommend it because we were served with drinks first, dinner plus offer of seconds, and the entertainment of the crew chit-chat.

My sky pics are pretty crap but I was interested in the patterns and textures in the landscapes.

And then we were flying into Adelaide.

Awww, look at that dear little town.

Still looks a little bit green too.

Landing in the middle of the suburbs.

We didn't really go wonky, just my camera angle.

There we go.

Ready to touch down. And home.

Christmas Greetings

christmas season, originally uploaded by marqos.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Be easy on yourself. Don't overextend yourself and make yourself miserable. Do something small to make yourself happy. Do something small to make other's happy.

I hope your Christmas is better than expected.

These are my little maxims for Christmas this year.

We're in Melbourne until 6 January. (Tell me if I've said this before? We're so excited that I keep repeating myself! To everyone.)

Something for Nothing

I've just received a free $10 music voucher from a Qantas Frequent Flyer membership. (I know, the frequent flyer tag is ironic but I have it from back in the day when it was free!) If you have a membership, go to the Frequent Flyer website to download a Bandit voucher. It will take about 24 hours to be emailed to you. I have downloaded five tracks by First Aid Kit because they are super cute!

I was also lucky to win a giveaway on Georgia's Puking Pastilles blog where I received an Ankle Biters pattern. Georgia also has a great tutorial for superhero capes. Far too cute!

Giveaway Winner!

Kat, you're a winner! I've sent you an email.

Thanks to everyone who dropped in and joined my giveaway.

It was lovely hearing from you.



In the spirit of Decemberism, I'm having a little giveaway!

Actually, the visit to the market got me into the spirit so Morning Glory notebooks form the basis.

There are four notebooks, some fabric, little tiny chocolates from Haighs and a coupla carry bags (or dilly bags).

One of the bags is made from vintage children's decorator fabric and the other is a funny Buckingham Palace fabric. Both were purchased from a craft stall. Maybe a library bag or shoe bag? (Do people still use shoe bags?)

I chose some nice notebooks, not too twee and cutesy, I hope. They are small, a bit bigger than A5 and compact. Maybe a list book for Christmas or the holidays?

Anyhoo, if you'd like to win this little pack, leave me a comment by Sunday (6 Dec) and I'll randomly draw someone's name. Then I can post it off to you to arrive by Christmas and the Christmas rush.

(Do you get the double post delivery leading up to Christmas? I think it's very exciting!)

I think I've got this burst of energy because we are going to Melbourne on 22 December to spend Christmas with J's sister. (Melbourne twice in a year! Excitement plus!). Sometimes, I get bogged down in Christmas but we are both really, really, really looking forward to it. I'll be cooking for three!

Leave me a message and win (possibly!). Any old message will do.

Edited to add: International visitors welcome. I'll draw on Sunday evening.

Bubble Tea

On impulse, I swung past the Central Market. I had a Bubble Tea! My favourite.

I went to the Central Market specifically for Bubble Tea. I even accosted a woman drinking one and asked where she bought it.

So this is my iced chocolate with mini pearl. Probably a bit short on pearl though.

I love a milky drink with ice that's not creamy. I think it's my age.

And I bought some notebooks from Morning Glory (am I a teenage girl?).

Year's End

I made it. I finished all my work and have completed the first year of my course. It has been the best year. The Best!

It was actually one of the worst years in other ways with family stresses. However, the course and the people I have met have helped make it the best year.

We had our exhibition night yesterday. It took all day to set up and five minutes to take down. Always the way. Even in 43 degree heat, we were all enthused. We have lovely teachers and my class is so supportive towards each other and encouraging. It has been a fantastic introduction to painting, drawing and printmaking. (Ah, printmaking! My favourite!)

The painting above is my first acrylic painting based on a beautiful photograph by Jo. (Jo, you didn't know you had a red chair, did you?)

The second is a an exercise in layers and textures, based on the first painting. I took a small section of the first and made a new painting. Then took another tiny section from the second and made a third painting, above.

Ah round bald heads. An early line drawing exercise.

Then my first ever lino prints. The funny pale one is an embossed print, where the lino block is put through the press uninked.

I loved the printmaking process so much. My prints weren't always great but the doing and thinking and making was the thing.

I'm looking forward to next year so much. I have a different outlook on life, I think, because of this course, beginning to see in a different way. I'm just beginning the learning process and want to increase my technical knowledge and skill. And I want to loosen up and do more drawing and learn more.