Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas to all

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas. 

As my regular readers know, my eldest son and I are members of the Mater Hospital Sing for Health choir which recently gave two Christmas performances on December 21st. I thought you might like to see some of the footage taken of us singing. Our choir is made up of Mater staff, patients, and volunteers who come together twice a year to perform in the Mater Mothers Hospital foyer. We are not professionals by any means but we have a lot of fun and have become like a big, happy family. It's known that singing helps to promote a sense of well being and our intent is to spread peace, love, and joy at the hospital. This year we also did a Flash Mob performance beside the Hudsons cafe which provides indoor and outdoor dining and is situated on the ground floor. The cafe faces onto Stanley Street which is always heavy with traffic throughout the day. We were all a little nervous as we'd never done a Flash Mob before but it all came together and we had a lot of fun.

This video is of the first song in our flash mob performance but, unfortunately, it's missing the very start of the song. We also sang White Christmas but, as yet, there is no video uploaded on YouTube.

Winter Wonderland
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

The Little Drummer Boy
(Bing Crosby and David Bowie version)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
(Mater Mothers Hospital foyer)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Jingle Bell Rock
(part of our Flash Mob performance)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE

Winter Wonderland
(Mater Mothers Hospital foyer)
Watch larger version on YouTube HERE


Bradley and I are already looking forward to getting together again mid-2017 for another performance with the choir.


On another note,  Christmas is a bittersweet time of year for vegans as we see the high cost that other sentient beings pay for the human festivities. My thoughts are with those animals today and I pray that, one day, times will change where people make kinder choices.  

Personally, this is the only way I would have a turkey for Christmas dinner 

Edgar's Mission is one of the sanctuaries I support so, in light of their most recent rescue, I thought it fitting to share their video here too. Such a beautiful rescue.


Love, Light, and Peace to all and may you stay safe this holiday season.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Happy 18th Birthday, Aaron!

Eighteen years ago, in the small town of Kemmerer, Wyoming, I gave birth to my youngest child, Aaron. What an amazing journey it has been since.  I've included some snapshots of Aaron over the years since his birth. My apologies that the quality in some of the images is not that great.

Here he is at two months old 
I crocheted the blanket he is sitting on

My little beachcomber at around 2½ years of age

Around 3 years old 

His first day at Preschool

Poolside at around 4 years of age

His first day of Grade 1

Aaron loved going on nature walks with me 
We would always have our cameras at the ready

It has been an amazing journey and it has been a blast to watch him grow up. 
I'm so very proud of the wonderful young man that Aaron has become. 

Aaron and I at one of our many day trips,
This one was to Mount Tamborine

Aaron graduated high school last month. 
I'm SO, so proud! 

Here he is with his older brother, Bradley, on his school formal evening.

And with his Grandma.

Today, Aaron drove us to Wynnum at the bayside
to get out of the house for his birthday.

Afterwards, Aaron goofed around with Snapchat 


 Bradley was in on the fun too

It's been a fun day with pizza planned for dinner 
and also a toast to Aaron's 18th as he can legally drink alcohol now. 

And especially for you, Aaron, my beautiful boy. May your future be filled with many amazing opportunities, blessings, and much love. This song — one of my favourites — by The Pretenders says it all. The lyrics were written by the legendary Bob Dylan.   Click HERE to watch on YouTube if the video below does not work. 

Enjoy the rest of your special day, my son. Love you always. xo

And love, light, and peace to all.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Trees, teas, and butterflies

This time of year is always extra busy for me as I'm sure it is for everyone else too. Lots to organise and do. Bradley and I will perform in the 'Sing for Health' choir this Wednesday. We only had one hour of practice per week for five weeks with our choir master. We also practise at home when we are able. We will have a quick run-through of our songs just before the performance. Exciting and fun!

We will be singing five Christmas songs this year —
  • The Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth 
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel 
  • White Christmas 
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Jingle Bell Rock
I can't believe that Christmas is almost upon us. I confess that I'm not really in the Christmas mood yet. I find I get more into the Christmas mood after I've done all the Christmas food shopping and all the stresses that come with Christmas are out of the way. We no longer have our huge fiber-optic Christmas tree but I absolutely adore our little tabletop tree. I think it's SO cute!  

A few weeks ago, I was very excited to learn that I'd won a prize in a competition I didn't even know I was in. How about that?! Apparently, my Woollies Rewards card automatically put my name into the Twinings Tea Promotion when I'd bought some tea in my regular grocery shop. I was very surprised when they rang to congratulate me. A couple of weeks later, this Twinings Tea Chest came by courier. YAY!


I was then able to go to Woollies and select my own teas for FREE. Gotta love that! I do love the Twinings green tea and we have the camomile tea very night before bed. It really does help me to sleep better.  I don't mind a mint-flavoured tea either. Nice and refreshing.


I haven't been doing too much in the way of sketching. I did a quick pencil sketch of one of the Christmas trees on display at the Mater Hospital when we were there for choir practice which I've yet to put a splash of watercolour on.


I also added another butterfly — the one on the right — to the double-page spread I was working on a few weeks ago. This one is called 'The Redspot Sawtooth' and it's not quite finished yet.



I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches this week.  To see the work of other participants, please click HERE.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Butterfly sketches completed

We've been having incredibly hot, muggy days here in Brissie. We had another violent electrical storm come through last night and more are forecast for the coming week. Two people have been struck by lightning so far from two separate storms.  I do not like our summers at all. See yesterday's post to read about our own ordeal when caught in a violent storm last Wednesday.

Just a quick post today 

I finished off the butterflies I started last weekend.

They went from this 
a work in progress sketch of two butterflies

To this
one black brown butterfly with a bright yellow green design called Rajah Brooke's Birdwing. Also, a dark brown butterfly with some yellowish markings on the lower wings. This one is called The Red Helen
I was pleased with how they turned out. 
They are done with a mix of watercolours, coloured pencils, 
coloured ballpoint pens and ink pens.

I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches again this week. 
To see the work of other participants, click HERE.

Happy Sunday to all!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Being caught outside in a wild, electrical storm

After heading home from choir practice earlier this week, we were waiting at the bus stop when a storm started to move in.  It looked quite menacing and daylight began turning to dark.  That said, I was hoping we would make it home before the worst of it hit — BIG mistake!

Dark clouds approaching bus depot

I snapped the photo below just before we boarded the bus. 
It was 3 pm in the afternoon and, yes, it WAS that bad!

side view of huge, dark storm clouds

The wild storm hit a few minutes after the bus pulled out of the depot.  It pelted us relentlessly on the ten minute ride to our stop. The other passengers were looking just as nervous as we were. It was eerily dark. The wind was very strong and gusty! The rain was unforgiving and we had no umbrella — charming!  To be honest, an umbrella would have been a hindrance for me considering I was carrying my own — very full — tote bag, as well as, Bradley's heavy back-pack.  I also had the task of guiding Bradley because his white cane was not going to be of much help in the hazardous conditions.  

When we stepped off the bus at our stop, we were soaked through in literally seconds.  It was a 10 minute walk home and I had to take my sandals off because my feet were sliding and slipping all over the place inside my sandals.   Thankfully, I'd made sure Brad's hearing aids had been packed away safely before boarding the bus. 

If you can imagine it, the walk home was quite scary for poor Bradley considering his blindness and hearing impairment, not to mention the fact that he has a fear of water.  It was slow-going but, about four minutes from home, I spotted our knight in shining armour.  Okay, he wasn't wearing armour but my wonderful son, Aaron, was running towards us with a large umbrella. Our hero! He took the heavy back-pack from me so I could manage with the umbrella which did help protect our heads at least. 

I was so relieved when we reached the shelter of the entrance to our house...our sanctuary!   

I learned a valuable lesson — 

Next time, DON'T trust my own judgement when it comes to approaching storms.  They can be unpredictable and some of them move extremely fast. We learned later that one woman was struck by lightning during that very same storm.  Thankfully, she survived.  Also, a 13 year old boy was taken to hospital after sustaining injuries when a large tree branch snapped and fell on top of him. You can read about both incidents HERE.

On top of that, I ended up with a sore foot which was twisted from all the slipping and sliding inside my soaked sandals.

We took a little while to calm down after our experience but I'm feeling very grateful that we made it home safely and in tact.

On a happier note —

Bradley and I just finished week three of the 'Mater Sing for Health' choir practice. Three more to go before our Christmas performance day. We always look forward to singing with the Mater choir as all the members are so nice and friendly.  Our choir master is amazing too!  The Mater choir performs twice a year and is made up of patients, volunteers, and hospital staff. It is now on its third year and we still have some of the original members,  including myself and Bradley.

We both hope the choir will continue for years to come.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Graduation, formal, and some sketches

Aaron's Graduation ceremony went very well. I was quite emotional and will admit that more than a few tears were shed. Aaron is my last of five children to graduate and leave school and I'm so very proud of him. 

For the ceremony, Bradley and I were sitting beside a Religious Studies teacher who visits the school once a week. She had been invited by several of her students to attend the ceremony.  She was so nice and we had a lovely chat.  I was quite touched when she gave Aaron  a garland of chocolates, even though he wasn't one of her students.

Aaron, in school uniform, with his Graduation certificate
After his Graduation Ceremony 

an photo of Aaron with his best mate, Travis, wearing formal suits, at the local wetlands
Here he is with his best mate, Travis.  
They are suited up for School Formal photos. 

I feel like I blinked and my baby grew into this amazing young man overnight. 
Where did all those years go? Sniff—sniff—

He is now on a much deserved break before hitting the work-force.


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Bradley and I are currently watching the Crowded House concert which is being aired LIVE from Sydney.  Crowded House is one of my favourite groups from the 80's.  Don't Dream It's Over was my favourite song by them and I still use it as my mobile phone ringtone.  Click HERE to watch/listen on YouTube if the video doesn't work for you.


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I have only managed one sketch this past week with another in progress.

sketch of my blood pressure reader

I am thrilled that my blood pressure readings are coming down and I hope to be off the medication before too long.  All thanks to a vegan diet — more on that in another post.

And here is my work in progress
a work in progress sketch of two butterflies
I am sketching a variety of butterflies —
will post when completed.

I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches this week.
To see the work of other participants, click HERE

Happy Sunday to all!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes....


It's been a busy couple of weeks since I last posted...

Aaron, my baby is graduating his final Senior year this Friday and I've been feeling emotional and so very proud. Needless to say, there have been lots of errands with suit shopping being at the forefront. It's hard to believe that my baby also turns 18 in December.

Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum)
This beautiful succulent sits just outside my front door and it is currently in full bloom. Beautiful, isn't it?

As you may notice in the top picture, the only down-side to this plant is that it seems to attract mealybugs at certain times of the year. They cover the underside of the leaves which end up turning blotchy yellow and fall off. Any tips on natural ways to deal with mealybugs would be greatly appreciated. Thankfully, these periodic insect attacks haven't stopped it from looking magnificent when in bloom.


As to the title of this post?

I've been mulling over some ideas lately and I've made the decision to bring some changes to my blog. I feel like I've neglected my blog, here and there, over the past four years and I really want to change that.

I was sucked into the realm of social media for a while but, in an effort to simplify my life, I now see some of the social media platforms as big time-wasters. Twitter was the first to go and Facebook may well be next. I'm finding Facebook harder to let go of because of the art, animal welfare, and vegan groups I belong to. It's also a way for me to keep in touch with family and friends who I don't often see in person. I guess they can always message or follow my Instagram account. I do love Instagram so I will keep that.

Admittedly, social media hasn't been the only thing to keep me from my blog over the past four years
but it has been the one thing that wasn't a necessity in my life.

As my regular readers know, my Dad's rapid decline in health and his eventual passing from Parkinson's and Stroke in 2015 was a big part of my life focus for a couple of those years. I certainly don't regret that time. I dearly miss my beautiful Dad every day.

This past year or so has brought a few changes to my life and I plan to share more on my personal path here.

So, you can expect to see more posts, each covering a specific topic to make it easier for my readers. However, my art/illustrated journals will still be my main focus. 

Stay tuned...

Sunday, 30 October 2016

INKtober: the last sketches I managed

I tried and failed but I enjoyed taking part. I had an emotional week which got in the way unfortunately.  So these are the last two I managed to get done for the INKtober challenge. Both are on a somber note but the reasons for sketching them are very close to my heart.

I sketched this greyhound in support for a protest rally held in Sydney last Sunday. The rally was to voice opposition against the overturning of the greyhound racing ban in NSW. Thousands of these beautiful greyhounds are killed every year because  they don't make the cut in training or they don't do well on the track. 

On top of that there is the horrific live-baiting scandal that was uncovered last year, where several greyhound trainers were found to be using possums (a protected species), kittens, piglets, and rabbits as live bait in training. This despicable treatment of innocent animals was exposed via hidden video taken by animal activists. Live baiting is illegal so you'd think it would be enough to warrant an immediate shutdown but, yet again, it's a battle because the almighty dollar always seems to take priority. 

Greyhound racing is a cruel industry that should be stopped and we will not give up the fight! 

And the last one I managed to do. 
Day 24 - A chicken who doesn't have a great life either in yet another cruel industry. 

"Humanity is accruing an enormous debt of karma by its treatment of animals."~ Eckhart Tolle


Linking up with Sunday Sketches this week. 
You can see the work of other participants HERE.

Monday, 24 October 2016

INKtober: More daily sketches from week 3

Oooooops, running a little late....no excuses 
apart from the fact that I completely forgot to do my blog post yesterday.  

So a recap on the past week of INKtober sketches. 
I post these daily on my Instagram feed is you are interested in seeing them earlier. 

I recently purchased Season 11 of Supernatural so, before I watch it, 
I am doing a recap of all the previous seasons again as a refresher. 
You may guess that I'm a huge fan! 
So I thought it fitting to sketch some of the cast for INKtober.

Jared Palecki who plays Sam Winchester. 
Sketched entirely with ballpoint pen. 

Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester
Sketched entirely with ballpoint pen


Jim Beaver who plays Bobby Singer
I didn't quite get his squint right but we live, we learn, right?
Done entirely with ballpoint pen

Felicia Day who plays Charlie Bradbury 
Charlie was one of my favourite characters on the show
I loved her quirkiness!
I was disappointed that I lost the likeness with this one 
but when sketching directly with pen, 
you have to learn to live with it. 

Then I decided to sketch a little robin with coloured ballpoint pens 
and a 005 ZIG Millennium ink pen (it's extra fine). 

A quick ink sketch of a fake succulent plant I have. 
Trying to loosen things up a bit here. 
Sketched with Platinum Carbon and Lamy Joy fountain pens. 
I LOVE my fountain pens!

Another loose sketch of my left hand this time. 
This was sketched with a Platinum Carbon pen 
followed up with Sumi black ink applied with a brush.

Speaking of my left hand, 
I will be making a doctor's appointment today 
as it's been over three weeks and I'm still dealing 
with a lot of pain issues. 
It's strange because I can use it normally 
apart from certain positions.

Linking up with Sunday Sketches (a little late). 
To see the work of other participants for this week, click HERE.

Monday, 17 October 2016

INKtober: More daily sketches

It's been quite a challenge but I have been managing to keep up 
with the INKtober daily sketching this past week. 

All inked up
Thanks to Marcelo Cunha over at Sktchy for the reference image.

Splashes of colour with Dr Ph Martins inks


Sketched with Platinum Carbon and Pentel pocket brush pens, 
then a light wash here and there with Sumi ink.
Thanks to Gustavo Romano over at Sktchy for the reference image.


Sketched with Platinum Carbon and Pentel pocket brush pens, 
plus a light wash of Sumi ink.
Thanks to Jordan Shelton over at Sktchy for the reference image.

I couldn't help but smile when I saw the reference image so just had to sketch him.
Sketched with ballpoint, Platinum Carbon, and Pentel pocket brush pens. 
Thanks to Vincent Cuevas over at Sktchy for the reference image.

Sketched with ballpoint, Platinum Carbon, and Pentel pocket brush pens. 
Also some Sumi ink. 
Thanks to Hannah Chaffee over at Sktchy for the reference image.

Sketched with ballpoint pens in various colours plus a little white ink.
Oh, and some SUMI ink for the black.
The green base is watercolours. 
My own reference image.

Sketched entirely with a Staedtler brown ballpoint pen. 
I like the softer look of this one. 
Thanks to Marcelle C over at Sktchy for the reference image.

I'm linking up a little late with Sunday Sketches this week.
It's actually 6:30 on Monday morning here.
To see the work of the other participants, click HERE,

Aaron, my son, graciously passed his Spring flu over to me
 so I woke up feeling miserable with a clogged head and
a sore throat that is very painful when I swallow.
I'm still dealing with hand pain from my fall.
It could be worse but maybe
I should see about trading myself in
for a newer model?

Life goes on.....

Sunday, 9 October 2016

More Inktober sketches

Hi everyone. Thanks for all the well wishes regarding my fall last week. My foot is pretty much better now and, in hindsight, my daughter and I believe it was actually a pinched nerve causing the severe foot pain that night. A couple of days rest and it was fine...so it could have been back/hip related after all.  My hand is still in a fair bit of pain when I try to carry out heavy tasks but that is to be expected with nerve and soft tissue damage.

Over the past week, I have been busy with daily sketching for Inktober.  I have been posting my sketches over on my Instagram feed if you want to see them daily as I don't get time to post here every day.

A meerkat sketched with water-soluble ink and then a water wash was applied.

This emu was sketched with permanent ink, then washed with water-soluble ink.
The eyes are done with ballpoint pens.
Getting the beak to look right was quite challenging.


This little cutie is called Teenie.
She is my Mum's pomeranian.
I sketched her with a Platinum Carbon pen and
ballpoint pens in suitable colours.
Then some white ink and a light wash of watercolour to finish.

A mirror selfie, sans-wrinkles.
Sketched with a Lamy Safari fountain pen
containing water-soluble ink.

Then a water wash applied with a brush.

I adore all animals but I admit to having a soft spot for pigs. This mother and baby sketch was prompted by my utter disgust at how the pigs were treated in Burlington, Ontario, recently when the truck taking them to slaughter rolled over.  The treatment of the injured pigs was nothing short of cruel and apathetic on the company's part.  Pleas from a local animal sanctuary's owner to take the injured pigs into sanctuary care went ignored and was even laughed at.  The poor, injured pigs were left to suffer for hours before being callously killed where they lay and then were unceremoniously dumped in a dumpster at the site. I hate how apathetic the human race has become. Did you know that pigs have the intelligence of a four year old child?  They are smarter than dogs and yet we get away with committing such atrocities against them.  It is so very wrong!


This is the initial pen sketch of a reference image on Sktchy.

I finished her with ballpoint pens in various colours
and a touch of white ink and watercolour to finish.

Yesterday, I was visiting with my Mum so didn't have a lot of time to sketch. 
I managed a quick, loose pen sketch of some new inks I bought recently. 
I used the ink colours to paint and spatter them with a brush.
Fun, fun, fun! 

I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches again. 
To see the sketches of other participants, click HERE.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!
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