Archive for January, 2010


Been thinking a lot about home.  What it is, where it is, what makes it a home.

And I have come to the conclusion that it is a very fine line between having enough space to do what you feel like, and having things around you that make it your own.

Of course, the most basic thing – the people who share your home (socially or otherwise) affect the dynamic in obvious ways, and home is not home without some of them, but when a room is quiet, what is it that makes it yours?  What is it that makes you feel peaceful and centred?

I’ve been asking this because in the last few weeks there has been a flurry of activity around here.  Clearing the house, in preparation for sale etc.  And one day in particular shook me to the core.

There is a solid brick room in the corner of our yard. It was one of the things that appealed to me most about this house.   It was obviously well suited to the purpose of studio and quickly filled with lawnmowers, boxes, detritus of life to be sorted at some later stage.  Refuse of value (so we thought) that should be stored to let us have more space in the house.  The house that filled over the years with refuse of value to be used one day when we would be grateful for having held on to this or that.  So much that it was congesting our  lives and crowding us body & soul.  A fact I have only come to realise since it has (for the most part) left.

The room was emptied.  Completely.  All over the back lawn, while the room and roof was painted white by two lovely gentlemen.

I have to say that it came as a shock to see it all over the grass.  to see what was in there, out and spread for perusal.  And (because mother nature has en excellent sense of humour) of course it rained a deluge overnight.  All over everything.  So that things that might have been saved, which were now ruined were made easier to get rid of, and not much remained after that.

A 4 cubic metre skip (that’s pretty big) was hired, and filled quickly with stuff that was not really important.

As it was hoisted into the back of the truck and removed, I felt a weight lift from my chest.  The most extraordinary experience, which spiralled into other de-cluttering exercises.  Bags of clothes in storage went to charity.  Shoes and suits, baby clothes, linen, fabric saved for future needs have been sent out into the universe.  There is still more to do.  It is exciting to be moving energy around in this way.

It is enormously freeing and left me feeling raw and exposed.  I was glad for company.

The room has been claimed as a studio, and I can’t wait to get seriously going in there once the kids are back at school (4 days and counting down).  And the house is now a much nicer place with sparkling windows, clear tables and a lot more calm after the storm.  It feels much more like home, and it’s reassuring to know that the space that is home, will move with us, when we go to our next address, whenever and wherever that will be.

The decluttering (thanks for the big push Mum) has been so thorough, and set so much in motion that we passed a garage sale on Sunday, and I felt no call to attend.  Saying I still had to get rid of stuff before I could look at adding anything, and imagining more things leaving in bags and the flood of relief that follows.  The visualisation was too strong, and, hilariously my car was stolen.  A cosmic joke, that I thankfully get and while inconvenient, it is not the end of the world. Insurance will hopefully sort it out sooner than later, and bring me replacement wheels of some kind to move forward with a new view to the world.

I am, to be honest more upset about the loss of the jeans that were in the back seat, and the vintage dominoes that were in a metal tin in the back than the car.  It’s just a car after all, and I probably drive more than I should.

In a marvellous distraction, the man and I attended 66a Church Rd, a new play by Daniel Kitson.  A magnificently poignant and beautifully rendered monologue, with superb dioramas illuminated in suitcases that peppered the show with visual interest.

We loved it, and his words keep coming back to me.  He described his search for the perfect home and how we may be looking for a 2 bedroom house, close to public transport and amenities, but what we really wanted was ‘something lovely’.  True.  He went on to describe the feelings one has for ones home.  The swelling of the heart as the front door was sighted.  The familiarity and love one feels for the eccentricities of ones own space – no matter how strange they may be.  True.

And the fact that it is just four walls, and it is what is contained within that makes it a home.  The memories that are attached to particular things, not the bricks themselves. Home is where we invest ourselves and allow ourselves to just be.

Which I found intensely comforting at this point in my life. Thank you Mr Kitson, I am a fan.

My home is my home.  Not my house.  And letting go of this house, no matter that it feels like home today will be fine.  Home will follow and home will be home wherever it is.


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Lamingtons, are an Aussie favourite and I’d forgotten how easy and fun they are to make.

We scoffed the lot in an afternoon.

Of course, you could make a sponge cake – cook it in a slab tin and wait for it to get a tiny bit stale, but I opted for the supermarket ready-made sponge and cut it into squares.

Mix up a bowl of fairly runny chocolate icing.  It has to be runny so that it soaks into the cake a little.  I used half quantity of cocoa powder and icing sugar with enough water to get the consistency I was after (like loose pouring cream).

Get a bowl of desiccated coconut ready.

Put your square of sponge cake into the icing mix, turning carefully with a couple of forks to coat evenly.

Then drop your chocolately square into the bowl of desiccated coconut and pat gently so that it sticks to the icing.

Happy Australia Day!

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Alexander Beetle (A A Milne/Melanie Safka)

I had a little beetle
So that beetle was his name
And I called him Alexander
And he answered just the same
And I put him in a matchbox
And I kept him all the day
But nanny let my beetle out
Yes nanny let my beetle out
She went and let my beetle out

And beetle ran away

She said she didn’t mean it
And I never said she did
She said she wanted matches
And she just took off the lid
She said I mustn’t worry
And I really mustn’t mind
That there’s lots and lots of beetles
The she’s certain we could find
She said I mustn’t worry
But it’s difficult to catch
An excited sort of beetle
You’ve mistaken for a match

If we looked in all the places
That a beetle might be near
And we made the kind of noises
That a beetle likes to hear
And I heard a kind of something
And I gave a sort of shout
It was a beetle house
And Alexander beetle coming out
It was Alexander beetle
I’m as certain as can be
And he had that kind of look as though
He thought it might be me

And he had that kind of look as though
He thought he ought to say
“I’m really very sorry that I tried to run away”
And nanny’s very sorry too
Cause you know what she did
And she’s writing Alexander
Very blackly on the lid
So nan and me are friends because
It’s difficult to catch
An excited Alexander
You’ve misstaken for a match

Our little (BIG) beetle was found flailing on it’s back, spent 24 hours in a bug catcher, was cooed and oohed over and released with a thrill and a little sadness into the garden to bury its way under lawn clippings.

And we felt so lucky. 🙂

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I confess these school holidays have gone by in a blur.

We have done so much, seen so much and spent a lot of quality time together and with family which has left me blessed and grateful for sunshine, smiles and freedom.

I am feeling very loved and have enjoyed watching my little people blossom.

We saw ‘The whale’s tale’ – a free event at the Melbourne Arts centre (which was totally delightful and sadly finished now) on a day that was sunny and amazingly quiet for Melbourne.  Sushi at Southgate.  Buskers that were good bad and kind of terrifying (we really thought an ambulance may be needed if the trick went wrong – they did not look confident), and finished off with a trip to the Melbourne Aquarium, which is one of my favourite places to be on a hot day and worth a post on it’s own.

There has been no space for painting.  Which is driving me slightly bonkers, but will be remedied soon, but the camera collection is growing, and spilling out in all directions.  Loving this TTV. More adventures to follow. 🙂

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Fantastic Mr Fox

Last night we saw the most wonderful, wonderful film.

Fantastic Mr Fox.

I confess, lately 3D computer animation has been leaving me a bit cold.  There is something that is a bit too perfect about a lot of it (spoiled arn’t I).  Natural hair movement, perfect lighting, seamless colours.  I have been enjoying watching re-runs of cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s and loving how obvious it is that Fred Flinstone’s head is a slightly different colour to his arms, and how his head is obviously a different animated sequence to his body because it doesn’t fit quite right.

I digress….  back to Mr Fox.   I love the way the hairs are a bit bristly and that the legs bend in a soft way.  In the same way art that is perfectly imperfect with a balance between beautiful technique and the obvious hand of the artist appeals to my sensibility, this film walks a tightrope between beautifully handcrafted and obvious animation and pure vision.  It is a moving diorama, a marvellous story (though not true to the book), and thoroughly, thoroughly engaging.

And the knitted jumpers were beautiful.

Fantastic Mr Fox.

A must see.  I think I must see it again….

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the boys

The boys, 2009, 60cm sq, oil on linen.

New one from me. A commission, and a lot of fun.

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So we’re back from the beach.  Back from a few days of relaxing, reconnecting and reviewing the year that was.  Back to reality and revolution and facing the brand new decade with big grins and hopeful hearts.

Ready to leap in and move forward.

Ready for school

Ready for change and with no new year’s resolutions for the first time ever.

2010 bring it on!

Happy New Year to you. 🙂

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