Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A fun outing with bags of history

Last Sunday my sister Rachael and I went on a historic tour to a couple of local properties, both of which I had been very keen to investigate :)
We started our tour at Dorset House ( I call it Benjafield House, as do many).
Built in 1840, it is an amazing Georgian homestead and I have to say, we were all so happy to step inside its cool depths on a day that was about 36 degrees Celsius.
Having peered over the fence many times, I was thrilled to be able to wander through the property and grounds at my leisure. Because it was so dark inside my pics are pretty horrible, but I wanted to share them anyway :)

The subtly toned entrance stained glass.

A beautifully painted table top.

I absolutely adored this planter. The owner Val had the most incredible collection of blue and white china. Swoon!

Each room was so ornate and heavily furnished. We didn't know where to look!

It really was like a museum and the owners were most trusting letting us freely wander through the rooms.

Outside, the garden was just beautiful. I just haven't captured it well at all.

Lots of shady spots and nooks and crannies to explore.

Out front are two massive Canary Island Palms. Just beautiful (ha! I keep using that word).

From there we walked a few streets away to the New Town Rivulet and our destination, Greenleas.
Whilst we didn't tour inside the many buildings on this sprawling site, we wandered through the gardens with our host as she talked us through the highly interesting history of the site.
But first, we enjoyed afternoon tea!

Aren't these macaron beautiful? They were quite petite in size, hence me scoffing four of them. Well, someone had to eat them, it would have been rude not to :)

One of the interesting aspects of this property C1821 was the high walled garden, complete with security system aka broken glass bottles concreted into the top of the wall. The reason for this? The courtyard was used to grown crops of tobacco.

Originally a 3 storey home, it suffered considerable fire damage in the 1890's and was restored back to 2 storeys.

Lots of interesting textures...

Funnily enough, the daughter of the owner of Dorset House bought this home with her husband in 1911 (just after our house was built) and their descendants still live there today.

These last few images were taken in an engine room of what was a pioneering cool-store for the refrigeration of export fruit. Well, we are the apple isle, aren't we?

I was very interested to read that famous Australian artists Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin (amongst others) visited the site. A painting of the homestead by McCubbin is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. Fascinating!
Well, I hope you enjoyed our little tour.
Oh my, can believe it's the last day of summer? I'm not very happy about that.
Happy Leap Year day to you all. Surely we should all have the day off work today?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crafty capers

I get asked all the time (mostly at work) what I have been working on in my own art practice. A lot of people know I'm crafty/arty/like making wearable art/jewellery and much of the time I have to answer them with, "not much".
Anyway, I thought I might share a couple of things I have been up to creatively lately.
Above are some fabric swatches I received recently from Spoonflower. They are digitally printed Parisian postcards that I scanned. I'm happy with the samples so have ordered some fabric that I plan on making into little purses.
I've also got some other samples being printed for another little project that I will share soon.

I have also dabbled in a spot of painting.  The above piece is on a smallish canvas. It's not finished and I'm not sure how to finish it! After I took this pic I made some additions but don't like it, so I can see a few more layers of paint to go on yet :)
In fact, it looks better in the pic than in reality. Darn.
By the way, the historic tour I mentioned the other day was fantastic. I took some pics which I will share this week. Did the fellow Aussies notice how hot it was down here in Tassie on the weekend? I think the temp got down to a toasty 26 degrees at midnight last night. Phew!
Have a great week friends!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday flowers - red, orange, yellow

Look at this beautiful mix of flowers I was lucky enough to be given the other day.

It's not often you get thanks for doing your job. They were very gratefully received. There doesn't tend to be much flower giving and receiving between Lyndon and I. Maybe he thinks there are enough flowers in the garden and they will do me just fine?
Just teasing, Lyn :)
I really was rapt to receive these.

And out in the backyard I found some simple nasturtiums creeping through our dodgy fence.

Not a great shot, but I do like the textures here. That darn pesky ivy just wont stop growing. Just about time for another attack at it.
Happy Friday friends. I'm happy to have the weekend off work and am looking forward to a local historic home tour on Sunday. I doubt I'll be able to take pics, but we'll see.
Have a great weekend and if you are in Aus, try to keep cool! It's forecast to be 35 degrees C here both days. Phew!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slow but steady progress

Not surprisingly, it's pretty slow progress out the back with the weatherboard painting.
You can see in these pics the left hand end has been finished and we (mostly Lyndon) have started on the middle section.
The boards have come up really well. Lyn did a great job of filling in all the holes and rotten bits and even filling in underneath every board. Quality takes time people.

Next up is the middle section.
By the way, that funny window on the freshly painted part was the original toilet window. It's now a built in wardrobe, but we decided to leave it as a little bit of history (ie couldn't be bothered ripping out and fixing all those boards). Our current (and very scary) bathroom is that built-in bit of verandah on the right with the 3 windows. Noice. The room in the middle is the spare bedroom.

Here we can see Lyn has made a start with the new heat gun. I made a dick of myself by going back to the store to complain that it had stopped working to be told that it's a safely cut-off system to avoid it melting itself. Whoops. Maybe we should have read the booklet of instructions?

That board at the bottom is beyond repair so will need to be replaced. It's a bit of a bother that the hot water pipes run externally and get in the way a bit. When (if) we've saved up we'll switch this to a gas system with new internal pipes. Ah the joys of old homes :)
I find the whole paint removal process really stressful as it's so easy for it to catch alight. We keep a close eye on it and have the hose ready to go at all times.
Anyway, looks like a bit of window sill stripping is on the agenda for me this weekend.
Fun. Hold me back (yes, that's sarcasm).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday flower + a nice message

A beautiful David Austin Strawberry Hills rose.

It was low light so the pics are super gritty. I kind of don't mind though :)

A received a really lovely email message this week that I wanted to share...

I had sent an email to Arite, the artist who painted "Reunited", my new painting that forms the beautiful backdrop of these images. I thought she might like to see where her artwork was now living.
Arite popped onto the blog to read my post and all of your lovely comments.
She returned my email  and I just wanted to share something she wrote...
"Actually I painted that piece after a recent trip to new york. On the first night I got there I had a dream of my grandmother who had passed on a few months earlier. So I entitled the painting reunited in honour of her memory, so I find it quite amazing that you share a similair experience. As one of your readers mentioned on your fabulous blog , art pieces have a way of finding you..."
(this will make sense if you have read the original post about the artwork earlier in the week where I comment on how the title resonated with me)
Isn't that fantastic? It just completely reinforces that I was meant to own this artwork.
Don't you just love those little moments of serendipity?
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines from Molly

Big licks and smooches from Molly.

How cute does she look in my heart print scarf? Perfect for St. Valentine's Day :)

Look at that face. Precious.
We are off to the vet for another injection today. Not sure they're helping much but we'll wait and see.
Have a lovely day friends :)
ps. Thank you for your lovely comments about my painting (previous post). It really is so great to be able to share these things with you all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New acquisition

Here it is! I mentioned in my last post that I had recently purchased myself something special with some money left to me by my dear Great Auntie Ila.
I present "Reunited" by Melbourne artist Arite Kannavos.

Despite the fact I love art, am an artist myself and also work in the industry I have never really been in a position to acquire much art. I knew that's what I wanted to do with Ila's gift.
Something special to keep forever.

It really was most difficult to photograph!

Some closeups :)
You might be able to see there are many layers of paint, some washy, some thicker and there are even layers of metallic paint.

I just love the blues, greens, mauves and yellows.

Above you can see one of the bronze metallic patches.

It sounds a bit silly but I was also rather drawn to the title, "Reunited".
I haven't mentioned Ila's husband Max before. He passed away around 1988. He was the best! He grew the biggest carrots and didn't mind when my sister and I raided his pea patch. He had false teeth that he'd pop out to give us a laugh and then Ila would give him a telling off. I thought Ila and Max were the most fantastic couple.
Anyway, I suppose I wondered when Ila passed if she reunited with Max, having lost him so long ago. I think that's why the title of the painting resonated with me as well.
I realise not all of you will be enamoured by abstract art, but I like the way you can respond to the colours as opposed to the direct imagery of realistic art. I like the dreamy, emotive aspects of it.
Are you an abstract fan?
ps I should tell you I discovered Arite's work on the Design Files blog  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday flowers...white

This Friday we have a lovely posy of white icebergs picked from the bushes along our front fence. They've flowered so brilliantly this year. We have had nice comments from people in the street so that's lovely.

I actually picked these on Thursday and gave them to Mum who is today travelling up to her hometown in NW Tas to visit her sister and see my Great Auntie Ila's grave plaque.
She wanted to take some flowers from each of our gardens to leave there.

Ila was never one for fuss, or flowers for that matter. I can just hear what she'd say, telling us to stop fussing.
Oh well, it's just a nice, simple gesture.
Speaking of Ila, I have something fab to share in an upcoming post. I bought myself a pressie with a little money Ila left for me. Something to keep for always.
I'll show you all as soon as I can get some decent photographs :)
Have a happy weekend friends.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tomato harvest

Tomatoes from our garden.
The rest of the vegie garden is looking a bit sad but the tomatoes have made up for that.
So many!

I really have to do some cooking. I'm thinking a fresh tomato soup with basil (anyone have a good recipe?) and maybe roast some to make the rice salad that I just love. Do yourselves a favour and try it :)
We have a few different varieties growing, Black Russian, Stupice, a very tasty yellow (I know, who'd have thought?), a small one my mum grows that is also tasty and the perfect size for biscuits and a couple of others that I'm not sure what that are.
I'm about to pull out what remains of the vegie patch and build it up with compost and sheep poop, all ready for some winter plantings.
What have you guys been growing?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday flowers...after the rain

I took these pics yesterday morning. It seems it had been raining the night before, but I don't remember it, despite getting up to Molly twice. Once for fresh water and the other so she could sit on the front verandah and ponder life for a bit. 3.28am is not the best time to do that Molly.

I am quite surprised that my clematis is flowering again. I didn't expect a second flush. These are smaller but still so pretty.

My David Austin roses were full of rain, many with their heads all tipped over. Above is Benjamin Britton, an almost neon pink.

Heavy heads of Lady of Megginch above and below is Jubilee Celebration.

Happy Friday peeps.
Have a good one
ps thank you for your well wishes for Molly and her dicky knee. I have taken your advice and started her on fish oil. Back to the vet on Tuesday for another shot :)