Saturday, November 23, 2013

Making Tea With Rosehip and Mint

I drink a lot of tea. Peppermint is my favourite. Since I work from home a lot of the time, I decided to buy a peppermint plant so I could just nip outside and pick off a handful of fresh leaves to brew. A few months ago, I noticed a lot of rosehips on the rose bushes, and decided to pick them off to make tea.

Rose hip

First I chopped and deseeded them, and left them to dry. I googled how to make it, and most of the recipes seemed too involved for me for tea (boiling in a saucepan for 15 minutes?) so I decided to take the cheats way and just pour boiling water over the dried rosehips and let it steep.

Rose hip Dried rose hips Dried peppermint leaves
I'm guessing it was because I took the lazy way, or they were dried for too long, but I didn't much like the taste of the tea, so I added some dried chocolate mint leaves, as well as a handful of fresh peppermint.

Rose hip and peppermint tea

Peppermint made it all better. If you want to make your own mint tea, simply pick a good handful of mint leaves, put them in a glass and use a spoon to muddle and crush them. This helps to release the flavour. I generally don't even bother to rinse the leaves first, but I do check them for insects because it is just so sad seeing them floating, and also I don't like to drink bugs. Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for a few minutes. Easy peasy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas Cards

I know things have been super quiet around here for a while (I promise to try harder), but I have been so busy with freelance design work and designing new products that I haven't had time for much else!

I have a few exciting bits and pieces to share next week but in the meantime here is a peek of my new Christmas card designs. They are now available in the shop, individually and as a set.

Christmas Card Set Christmas Card Joy Christmas Card Polka Dots Christmas Card Ornaments

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Products and a Spring Sale

Hello Card Birthday Card Bouquet Print Floral Gift Tags Vase Card Set

I've been busy busy over the last few weeks with new card designs and gift tags for spring. I've just stocked the shop with the new range, if you would like to take a look.

Spring is my favourite time of the year, so to celebrate I'm having a sale! Head to my facebook page for more details. (Update: Sale is now finished - keep and eye out on my facebook page for upcoming sales).

Monday, August 12, 2013

The weekend

Bonsai training Bonsai training Baby's Tears Gum Ceramic and glass insulators

Some photos from my weekend...
1 + 2). My parents have practiced the art of bonsai for many years. They use this wire to train the branches to grow in the direction they want.

3). Baby's tears growing in a big tray to be used as 'grass' beneath the bonsais.

4). A blurry shot of a Flowering Gum blossom.

5). Ceramic (or porcelain) and glass insulators that were once used on telegraph wires. My brother collected these along the railway near our house when he was a little boy. These are just beautiful objects by themselves but they look great in this group. They come in so many shapes, sizes and colours!   It's such a shame that things aren't made like this anymore.

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Monday, August 5, 2013


Hellebores  Hellebores Hellebores in the golden hour of late afternoon.

This season I am in love with Hellebores. There are so many different varieties in the garden this year.
I took a break and tried to paint one quickly as a study, I am hoping to do a more detailed study this week. It is amazing how much intricate detail you can find in one tiny flower if you take the time to look.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A walk through Cook Park

Cook Park
Cook Park Guildry
Japanese Anemone Seed Window sill

We've been lucky enough to have some beautiful sunny winter weather over the last few days. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood and I took a few photos along the way.

1. The duck pond at Cook Park, Orange
2. The Cook Park Guildry
3. A Japanese Anemone seed
4. Witch hazel on the window sill

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Painting cumquats

Painting Cumquats
Painting Cumquats

Living in this house with its beautiful gardens, I am able to just go outside and pick flowers and leaves to draw and paint. It's such a nice change from using books and google as a reference for sketches.

I painted these cumquats on the weekend. There are two beautiful cumquat bushes in pots right outside my studio. (I even got to eat the cumquats once I had finished painting them, I love their sour citrus flavour!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flower arranging

Flower arranging Flower arranging Flower arranging
I just had to snap a few photos of the gorgeous flower arrangement Mum made on the weekend. Hellebores, camellia, jonquils... It's so nice to live in a house with a garden, and have fresh cut flowers on my desk every day!

I love jonquils, their scent takes me back to my childhood. As soon as I smell them I am transported straight back to the big, leafy backyard of the house I grew up in. It reminds me of jumping on the trampoline after school with my little sister, and judging her cartwheels and handstands and generally bossing her about.

This beautiful crown vase is made up of nine balls made of glass, which are all connected. It's so lovely, and the best thing is that you only need a small amount of flowers and foliage. My sister and I bought this for Mum from Jumbled, a gorgeous homewares store here in Orange, NSW where I live. (The Jumbled pinterest page is also definitely worth a look for some beautiful bright colourful inspiration!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A quick painting

Yellow Vase and Flowers
I painted this vase of flora in about five minutes after breakfast today before beginning my (boring) work for the day. I like how it turned out, kind of messy and organic. Sometimes it's fun to forget about planning and not worry about messing up and just see what happens.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Hamamellis Mollis "Pallida" Bonsai Hamamellis Mollis "Pallida" Bonsai Posy Today Work in progress

Lately I have been so busy moving house and setting up my new studio that I haven't had time to post. On the weekend, I took time off to read, pick flowers from the garden, take some photos and eat good food.

1 + 2. Gorgeous yellow blooms on Mum and Dads Witch Hazel bonsai. I love the scent of witch hazel.
3. A posy of violets in a tiny vase my lovely Mum left on my desk.
4. My Dad made the best lamb pie I have ever tasted, even the gluten free pastry was delicious!
5. A sneak peek at a painting I have been working on.

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Floral Cards and Learning Product Photography

Floral Greeting Card Set Floral Greeting Card Set Floral Greeting Card Set

I'm in the process of re-photographing all my cards and prints for my etsy shop, which would seem like a fun thing to do but it can be so frustrating! I look back at photos from when I first started and can see that I have improved SO much, but I wish it was easier.

The whole long process of setting up my photography "area" (the small space on the floor, between my bed and a window) and then the editing and at the end of it all seeing photos that I'm not happy with can be a tad disheartening. Basically I lay a piece of paper on the floor, and place whatever I'm photographing on this. Then I have a big piece of foamcore that I use to reflect the light from the window. I try to prop it against the bed but I usually just end up letting it lean/fall on me while I crouch down to take the photo.

Todays effort was ok, I photographed this new greeting card set (although I'm sure I'll look back at these photos next year and cringe). I'm not quite sure why it took me about three years to realise a plain white background is your best friend when it comes to product photography.

If you need help with your product shots, I have found this tutorial by the very talented bomobob to be very helpful, as well as these posts by him also.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New artwork - Silvereye birds in Wisteria Bonsai

Silvereye birds taking a bath

As I have mentioned before, my parents have a beautiful garden that they spend every weekend working in. For Mothers Day, I painted one of Mums favourite bonsais, a wisteria, with some silvereye birds sitting on the branches.

A family of silvereyes live in their garden. They are one of my favourite type of birds, with yellow and grey colourings and a beautiful ring of silvery white tiny feathers around their eyes.  At the same time each day, they will fly down to the fountain two at a time to have a bath, while the others keep watch in the branches of the magnolia tree.

Wisteria bonsai Silvereye birds in Wisteria bonsai

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Propogating succulents

My collection of succulents has grown so much that Harley has gently suggested that maybe I stop buying them now (I have a habit of impulse-shopping for succulents). I just love how there are so many different varieties, and I like how easy they are to propagate with cuttings. Half of my collection is made up of succulents propagated from cuttings Mum has taken from hers.

a small part of my collection
Propogating succulents Propogating succulents
Succulent cuttings
Propogating succulentsphoto-(20)
Attempting to deter birds

Last weekend I took some cuttings to make a large pot of mixed succulents as a gift for someone. I’m not sure if they will survive as they weren’t very established so I’ve got some back up cuttings planted in a seed tray just in case.

I noticed that a very bold bird has taken to pulling them out of the soil, and leaving them there. I guess he thinks they are food because there are snip marks all over them from his beak. I was told that leaving a fake rubber snake nearby is a deterrent for birds, so I gave it a try and it worked. I would have thought the bird would eventually wise up to the trick but it hasn’t tried pulling them out again. Maybe he’s just learned the succulents aren’t food and has moved on.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In the Studio: Learning to paint

Painting flowers

Working late tonight illustrating these diamond fire tail finches. Diamond Firetails
I have been painting a lot lately. It's been so nice to have a change from drawing like this, with all the detail. I've been using watercolours and gouache, and tiny paintbrushes. I'm fairly new to painting, so a lot of these artworks have ended up in the bin but I guess that's the only way to learn something new.

Sometimes though, artists are blessed with a brief moment of magic, which is what happened to me when I painted these diamond firetail finches. I didn't plan it, no sketches, I just started painting and this is what happened in a few hours. It makes up for all those times when I have sat at my desk struggling to create and trying to force it.

I had a lecturer at uni who is an artist, and I remember her telling us "work when it is working" meaning make the most of those magic moments of inspiration. When it is not working, she told us never to force it. Tidy the studio, sharpen pencils, go for a walk. Clear your work space and your head to be ready for the next time the magic happens.

Great advice. Have a wonderful week!