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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Finding Inspiration

We had a young English family member visiting last week and she was telling me that she would like to paint, but can never think what to paint. I laughed and pointed out to her what she had just been photographing - a cool shot of ducks swimming around mangrove trees and suggested she should look among her photos. Inspiration is everywhere, we just have to grab it.

I've just finished reading Think Like An Artist...and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life, by Will Gompertz, where I found the above quote (the one on the mossy tree). The author talked about how we all steal ideas, but a real artist twists that idea to make it unique.
One artist he includes is Luc Tuymans, who photgraphed paintings by Henry Raeburn, but then painted the faces very close up to make unique paintings - you can see them here.
He profiles many great artists, with how they got to their point of greatness, what made their point of difference. Interesting stuff.
There was another quote in there that I liked...
             "Creativity is contagious, pass it on"
                                                              Albert Einstein.

More Inspiration
If you have a spare 30 minutes to get inspired have a look at the talks and podcasts on Creative Mornings - fabulous for starting the day, especially if it's raining. These are by some creative, interesting people - I love them!

Inspiring Blooms?
Derek brought home these gorgeous dried blooms the other day, that grow at the side of the road. We've put them in a bowl to admire - love the colours.

They are Rewarewa, an evergreen New Zealand native tree which grows to 30 metres. It was known as New Zealand honeysuckle by the early settlers as it's flowers are a great source for honey production.

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Power of the Mind

So, I've been a little distracted lately preparing for an event that our band played at last weekend - the It! Festival in Paihia. We were on just before The Black Seeds, a top New Zealand band.

The wet weather didn't dampen any spirits

My point is - what you imagine often comes true, in sometimes strange ways.
Since I was young, I have always thought that being able to do what you love - and make a living from it has got to be the epitome of a good life. I thought that being a paid singer or musician would be just the coolest thing.
I didn't have this in mind at all when I decided to learn to play the saxophone at age 42, it was just that I loved it.

Then sometime around age 52, I found myself playing in a classic rock band. It has taken me quite some time to get comfortable with that - but then the boys wanted me to start adding backing vocals in there... and that is how I found myself playing and singing in front of a crowd of about 2,000 people last weekend. Oh, and we got paid to do it.

What you form in your mind can come to be. So you might as well make it something great.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

I Have Always Aspired To Be....

A hippie! Right from when I was a teenager, but not your weed smoking type out of the 70's. I just wanted to live in the country, grow things, make things and not have to go to work. Tick.

So this week as I was out working in the garden on yet another beautiful morning, I reflected on how perfect it all is. I'm out there in my swimsuit top and shorts, working gently on a healthy tan to suit my outfit for this weekend coming, when our band will play at a wine and food festival in the Bay of Islands - for about 2,000 people. 

I'm not the young thing I once was however, and was thinking I need a better swimsuit - one with a bit more, ahem, support.
I found this idea somewhere under refashioned clothes, and it has worked perfectly. I've just sewn a previously unused strapless bra to the lining. Huge improvement!
Sorry, not modelling this one - too shy

Back to the garden - I love how the flowers work in there. I've grown alssyum and lavender, calendulars and geranium, and they bring in the bees. 
We had visitors from Auckland last week, and I'm proud to say the 14 year old boy got his first ever bee sting here. It looked really red, and I wondered out loud if maybe he was allergic to bees, but he said it was because his Dad told him to slap it, it would help. I've never heard of that before (chuckles to self), so I got out the lavender oil, which takes the sting away almost immediately.

The rhubarb and peas have grown back nicely since we caught all the possums, and there is barely any evidence of other pests in there at the moment.

I'm about to be feeding courgettes to hundreds of people soon as all four plants start producing - but I am prepared. I've bought myself one of those gizmos that turn courgettes into healthy spaghetti - will keep you posted. 

This is our other overflow garden - not so pretty and needs more work on the soil, but it's getting there. That's my garlic crop.
Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Makin' Bacon - Vegan Style

 Some posts back, I shared the recipe for this Raw Broccoli Salad which is totally delicious. I am always looking for ways to make recipes healthier, and in this instance cheaper and better for the environment too.
One of the changes I now make to that recipe is to leave the sugar out of the dressing altogether. The other change is using ....

Vegan Bacon

Crispy and bacon-tasting! Made from coconut.

This is simple to make, and there are a few different recipes around - some using maple syrup, oils, and others with smoke flavouring, but mine just uses

1 cup of coconut flakes
1 tsp of tamari soy
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
salt to taste

Mix these ingredients together, spread it on a tray and bake at 180 Celsius for approx 10 minutes.
Watch that it doesn't burn!
Cool and store in a glass jar. 
Add to salads, sandwiches, and other places where you would use some crispy bacon. 

And a shot of our apple tree - so hoping for another good crop in autumn.

Apple blossom - love Spring!

Last year's apples lasted for months and months, individually wrapped in paper and stored in the studio fridge.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!

As I mentioned in my last post, Derek's work has moved office and has cast out lots of old office equipment, which they have auctioned off to staff, or donated to charities, and then what was left unwanted has gone to the dump.
We have scored several new shelves, which has finally prompted a tidy up of the studio store room. Bliss, I can find things again. I have a lot of art and sewing supplies in there!
The little paintings? - the old house is a copy of one done by Derek, the other is one of mine

As someone who has pledged not to buy more giftwrap, I badly needed a place to sort all of my collected paper. I now have this really ugly pigeon-hole cabinet, which I will be covering up with a vintage tablecloth.

Organization of sorts for my stash of papers

The new paper section is for those among us who struggle to use recycled paper and were freebies from magazines.

One of the stranger things to come home was this out of date surveyors instrument. Derek has great vision for such things, and one day in the future this will become part of a sculpture of some sort. (Hopefully). Along with a big pile of the bits of ply, which are great for painting on, or making signs.

And my latest find, from the Habitat for Humanity shop - a great little stainless steel container with lid for $5 - perfect for storing leftovers in the fridge.

Reuse, reuse, reuse - it's actually much more fun don't you think? I think it requires far more creativity.