Friday, 5 June 2015

Some sketches...

I have been crocheting like mad on the ripple blanket 
for Granddaughter number 3 
but I have also managed a few sketches here and there.

I've not long completed the Sketchbook Skool course called 'Stretching'. 
One of the teachers, Lapin, enjoys sketching in old ledgers. 
Vehicles and people with big heads and small bodies 
are his speciality and our homework 
naturally involved these things.

I was happy with the way it turned out 
considering I used only pen and sketched 
super-fast while looking at my image in the mirror.
It has a quirkiness that I like.
It was loads of fun to do and no, 
it does not reflect a personality trait.

Another sketchbook spread from May 

Another Sketchbook Skool teacher was Jason Das 
who is big into Urban Sketching. 
I found his klass to be very informative.
I sketched him while watching his klass video.

He was part of a bigger spread

And a couple more from May

Brad and I visit the Mater Hospital each week to practise for choir. 
I did a couple of sketches whilst waiting in the hospital grounds. 
Many years ago, I used to do nursing at Aubigny Place which, 
in those days, was the Mater Private Hospital.
A new Mater Private Hospital was opened in 1993
and Aubigny Place is now a Heritage Centre for the Mater Hospital.

An old tree in the Mater Hospital grounds.

Cody signed up for a campaign! 
We are hoping to help bring an end to Puppy Factories/farms.
It is an incredibly cruel and callous industry. 
Visit Know Your Best Friend to add your fur-kid's voice
to this worthy campaign.
That's Cody in the photo below.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

I'm back with some exciting news!

It's been a while 
but I'm hoping to be back on a more regular basis. 
I do miss my blog.

Firstly, I want to say THANKS
 for all the beautiful and supportive comments
on my previous post about my Dad's passing in April.
Your caring words have been a real comfort to me
at a very sad and emotional time.

I miss Dad like crazy but
the reality is that life goes on,
albeit with that missing piece.  
I like to think that I now have a special Angel
watching over me and my family.


I do have some exciting news!

Granddaughter No.3 is on the way!

She due at the end of September 
and I can hardly wait!!
I have started to crochet a blanket throw 
as I did for Mikayla and Madelyn.
These blankets fit a single bed
so time is of the essence with lots to do.

Michelle also wants me to crochet another white jacket for baby
so I'll be a VERY busy bee for the next few months.
 I'll be sure to show some progress pics here.


And even more news....

The Mater 'Sing for Health' Choir 
which Bradley and I belong to
are practising each week for
an upcoming performance in June.

Who knew I would love choir so much?!
It is so much fun
and there is a wonderful sense
of belonging.


I will leave you with a pic
of the adorable Cody
who I swear would be able to sleep
in any position at all.
I love this little guy SO much!

Stay tuned for some sketch posts soon....

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Missing you every day....

I lost my beautiful Dad
on Friday, April 10th, 2015 at the age of 82.
He was my rock! 

Dad was born  in September of 1932,
in the County of Cavan,
in the Irish Republic.

He was the second eldest in his family
and had six sisters and two brothers.

Dad joined the British Army just before he turned 18.
He was on active duty during the Malayan Emergency.

Dad pictured here in the Cameron Highlands 
when he was stationed in Malaya (which included 
only the States of the Malay Peninsula).  
He would have been around 21 years old in the photo.

In 1963, Malaya joined up with Singapore, Sarawak,
and Northern Borneo (renamed Sabah) to form the
Federation of Malaysia.

Dad was a jungle scout for the army 
and would sometimes guard the food convoys (as above), 
Raub District, Malaya, now Malaysia. 
He would have been around 19 in the photo above.

Dad met my Mum in Malaya
as her Father also served in the British Army.

 Pictured in August of 1955, on their wedding day in 
Port Dickson, Malaya (now Malaysia).

In 1959, the year I was born, Dad left the army
and they lived in England for a while.
In 1963, Mum and Dad immigrated to Australia
with their four young children,
Caroline, Serena (me), Billy, and Angela.
My youngest brother, Wayne, came along later in 1967.

Dad adored his wife and kids.
He was a very hard worker.
At times, shuffling two full-time jobs,
one was a day job; one was a night job,
all to make a better life for his family.

In his late thirties, Dad took up a keen interest in photography.

I remember helping him develop photos
in his Dark-Room at times.
On one such occasion,
Dad asked me to pass him scissors so, out of reflex,
I switched on the overhead light to find the scissors.
Ooooops....sorry, Dad.
After much panic,
I think he managed to save those photos from ruin.

Mum and Dad - approx. 1989

Dad loved dancing the Waltz and the Fox Trot.
 Everybody loved to watch my Mum and Dad dance.

And even in later years (2012)

He enjoyed a good laugh too. hehe

Dad always liked regular fishing but, after he retired,
fly-fishing became his main hobby interest.

Above - Fly-fishing in a stream in New South Wales. 

He even made his own flies for lures.

Above, Dad teaching Beau, my son, how to cast...

Dad was always there to support his Grand-kids
in any endeavours they undertook and
he was so proud of each and every one of them.
He was very much a father figure to my own five kids,
as their father did not play a big role in their lives.
They have many happy memories to go on with.

Dad and Mum at Bradley's (my eldest) graduation in 2002

Mum and Dad in 2008

Flanked by my wonderful parents at my surprise 50th birthday party!

With their first Great-Granddaughter, Mikayla.

Dad had been a fit and healthy man all his life but,
around the age of 78,
his health started to decline.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and,
in 2013, we nearly lost him to life-threatening surgery
when his gallbladder turned septic and burst.
He suffered a couple of strokes around the same time
which left significant paralysis down the right side of his body,
also affecting his speech.
As his physical dependency and medical needs worsened,
we made the heartbreaking decision to place
Dad in an Aged Care Home in September 2014.

The two lovebirds! hehe

The Aged Care home became like
a home away from home for us
as we visited Dad frequently.

My beautiful granddaughters, Mikayla and Madelyn,
enjoying a treat while their Poppy sleeps peacefully in the bed beside them.

The staff at the Aged Care home were wonderful
and they developed quite a bond with Dad.
They loved that he always
gave them 'high-fives' and hugs.
Even they cried on the day of his passing.
We couldn't have asked for better care for Dad.
We will miss the staff as well as
some of the Dementia pod residents.

It's impossible to give a concise story
of my Father's life in just one post.
There is so much more to this amazing man....

but what stands out to me
is the undying love Dad had for his family.
I felt safe and protected
  when my Dad was around.
He was so proud of us all, his family.
He was always there for us and
I just can't imagine life without him in it. 

I will always be grateful that I was able to spend 
a very special and love-filled day with him 
before he passed away peacefully.

Early in the day,
 Mum, my brothers, sister, spouses, Bradley, and I reminisced
about the good, old days with Dad.
We played his favourite oldies via our mobile phones,
One of Dad's favourites.
'After all these Years' by Foster and Allen.

linked from YouTube - After all these Years

We shed many tears.
Dad was surrounded by love.

Our family came together, 
united in our love for Dad
and then, our grief at his passing.
My heart continues to ache...
but I know Dad is now at peace
and no longer suffering.
I know he is with us, his family, in spirit.
I feel him around me even now.


Don't worry about Mum...
I will be there for her always.
THANK YOU for being such an amazing Dad!
 You will be missed deeply and
you will forever hold a special place in my heart.

 'til we meet again...
May you rest in peace. xo

Anthony Eaton  
Born: September 19th, 1932
Died: April 10th, 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sketches, a spider, and a couple of roos...

 Has it really been over two weeks since I last posted?!

Doctors, specialist visits, medical tests,
and family birthdays, including my own, were in there somewhere. 
My niece also gave birth to a beautiful 9lb baby girl 
who now shares the same birthday as my own daughter.
Doctors, specialist visits, and tests were more to do with my Mum 
who is dealing with some health concerns right now. 
Life can sure get busy fast around here.

I have managed a few sketches here and there.

One of my favourite cereals is the Be Natural range.
It's low in sugar and has no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives
 unlike so many of the supposed healthy cereals out there. 
I love mine best with soy added sweetener!

 I decided to use up the blue water-soluble ink that came with
my Lamy Safari fountain pen by doing some pen and wash sketches.
I didn't think I would but I like the variations with the LAMY blue ink.
I added some definition to Jack with some permanent black ink.
Sadly, for Jack, his skin condition persists
and I am now trying a natural, home-made pest repellent that
includes five aromatherapy oils mixed with water.
I spray it on him every morning before he goes outside to go toilet.
I'll keep you posted on how effective it is.

For the selfie sketch, I sat in front of a mirror
and sketched directly in pen (LAMY Safari; EF nib),
then used a water brush to wet and shade.
You might notice that my hair is now much shorter...
Yep, one morning, the scissors found their way magically into my hands
and, before I knew it, I was chopping away at my hair.
A whole 10" or 12" gone over a spur of the moment decision.
That's how I roll when it comes to my hair.

I didn't intend to go that heavy with the lip outline
but hey, when working directly with pen,
you have to accept and love the mistakes too.


OH, and for those wondering how things went with Charlotte
I did go out to look for her the next morning
and was very happy to see her and her web
glistening in the sun.

The view from side-on in the shade...

And just to show that spiders aren't the only creatures lurking around these parts,
I spotted these kangaroos grazing at dusk on a street two suburbs over.
The photos aren't great but I didn't want to get too close
and frighten them off.

 Nature is painting for us, day after day, 
pictures of infinite beauty 
if only we have the eyes to see them.
--- John Ruskin

Sunday, 8 March 2015

For the love of spiders

I like spiders...

and they seem to like me. 
I think spiders are handy to have around because
they help to keep the bug population down. 

In some Native American cultures, 
 A 'Spider' is seen as a symbol of Creativity. 
No surprise there considering the magnificent webs they weave. 


As for me, I can't bear the thought of killing a spider and,
if I do so accidentally, I can feel very guilty about it for hours afterwards.
Normally, I will safely relocate them to our pergola outside.
Growing up, my kids always knew to call for me
if they spotted a spider indoors.
Killing spiders is a taboo in my household.
That said, if a Red-back Spider crosses my path, 
I do help them get to spider Heaven quickly,
considering they are venomous.
After all, I also have an affinity with wolves
and a she-wolf fiercely protects her cubs and pack.

I have been seeing a few different spiders over the past two weeks.
A Golden Orb Weaver took up residence 
not far from my bedroom window under the house eaves.
I named her 'Charlotte'! 
No guessing required to know
where that name came from. hehe
Every morning, when I let the dogs out to do their business,
I'd pop on over to her web for a visit.
Yes, I sketched her too.
I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches HERE.

The real Charlotte, pictured below, in all her glory.
Note that she is missing a leg, poor thing.
I have no idea how it happened.

 A partial profile view of Charlotte, below.
She has quite a bulbous body in full profile.
You can see my bedroom window in the background.

And, below, a close-up of her trail of debris...
Yes, these spiders actually keep a graveyard for their victims in their web.
No, it is NOT a deterrent to other unsuspecting bugs,
unfortunately for them.
Note the yellow colour of her webbing,
hence the name Golden Orb Weaver.

 This morning, I had to carefully relocate Charlotte to our corner garden
because Aaron wanted to Gerni the eaves
and was quite cavalier about poor Charlotte's possible demise.
Believe me, I was not impressed with him!
I hope Charlotte will be happier and more safe in her new place.
She has moved out of sight for now but
I will be checking first thing tomorrow
hoping to see her radiant, golden web on display once more.

At our other back door where we pop out to the clothesline,
there are a group of St. Andrews Cross spiders.
I snapped a picture of this one yesterday.

This group lives happily among the snake plants.


Then, two nights ago, Bradley woke me up close to midnight
to inform me that 'a big, black bug' was on his bedroom wall.
Bradley is legally blind and didn't realise it was actually a Huntsman spider.
I was very relieved that it wasn't a nasty cockroach.
Being night time, and considering my sleepy state,
I didn't get a photo but this night-time 'visitor' was about 4½" across.
My biggest concern was whether, or not, I'd be able to house him
inside the disposable container without harming any of his legs.
My heart was aflutter I can tell you!
Lucky for me and him,
he cooperated and, once housed,
I was able to slide a Manila folder
underneath to form a rather loose seal.
Then I took him out to the pergola
where I hope he will be much happier....
considering there are way more bugs to feast on out there.


I've relocated a few different, but smaller, spiders over the past two weeks
Ones which had found themselves lost indoors.
In a way, I'm kinda relieved they find their way to our house
because, at least, they are given a second chance at survival.

Many may classify me as some weird Spider Lady but hey,
that's the way I roll....
or should I say 'weave'? 
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