Thursday 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015

What a year it has been 
with probably more downs than ups. 
I won't list them all here 
but two big ones do stand out to me. 

Of course, my father's passing in April 
was a HUGE down for me and
still feels so surreal.
I still miss him everyday. 

A huge UP for me was the September birth 
of my third grandchild/granddaughter. 
.....Mackenzie Eve Hallmond.....
Oh, SO precious!

Here is my own precious baby - Cody.
He brings so much love and light to my life.


Another 2015 downer was that I barely managed 
any time to work on my sketchbooks. 
Life really did get that crazy!

I find myself eager for 2016 to begin
as I have so many ideas and plans 
floating around in my head. 

I will make another attempt at the 
365 daily challenge.


I will try to post my daily sketch here
but I am mostly aiming for 2 to 3 posts a week
 to show my sketches and keep myself motivated.
Some days will be fast, crappy sketches,
some may be a bit better than that.
My main purpose is to develop
a lifelong habit of daily sketching.
I've tried and failed before but
I am feeling very optimistic for 2016.

At this stage, I'm thinking 
a monthly sketch theme might be a good idea 
but I don't want to limit myself too much. 
I'll play it by ear.

I plan to get back into my art in a bigger way.
More on that in the new year...

SO, I hope you will follow along 
with me in 2016 
for some sketching and artistic adventures, 
plus some snippets of my life in general.

Wishing all my readers a very HAPPY NEW YEAR
and all the best for 2016!


Saturday 26 December 2015

Christmas ornaments, Christmas day, and our choir

I finished my Granddaughters' Christmas ornaments 
just two days before Christmas. PHEW!

They are recycled lightbulbs.

Mackenzie's 1st Christmas

Madelyn's 4th Christmas

Mikayla's 6th Christmas


Regular readers will know that my son, Bradley, and I 
joined the Mater 'Sing for Health' Choir back in 2014. 
We come together for six weeks, twice a year, 
and practise for our main performance 
in the Mater Mothers' Hospital Foyer. 

For our Christmas carols this year,
we had SIX performances all up.
Two performances on the 14th 
for the Mater staff Christmas party. 
Three performances on the 16th... 
one for the Mater Volunteers' Christmas party,
our main performance in the Mater Mothers' foyer, 
and one at the Mater Child Care Centre. 
Our last performance was on the 17th at the
2nd Mater Volunteers' Christmas party.

Photo is courtesy of Mater Queensland

Bradley and I had so much fun 
and it is always a pleasure to sing 
with such a great bunch of people. 
Our choirmaster, Ruani, is simply the best! 
Her choir assistant, Mairead, 
helps us Alto's stay on track with our harmony. 
Mary, Brad's Occupational Therapist, is 
the one who started the choir. 
We are very grateful to her for inviting us to join.


On Christmas morning,
Bradley, Aaron, and I went to
Michelle's (daughter) and Alex's place.
My granddaughters were so excited
that Santa had visited them. hehe
We had a yummy brunch there.
I made my own style of baked beans
and also took along some
Linda McCartney sausages
to fry up for us vegans.
We had a lovely time!

For Christmas dinner, I made a vegan roast
and roasted veggies, drizzled with mint sauce,
and vegan stuffing.
It was so yummy!

Photo courtesy of my son, Bradley.

For Christmas dessert, I made a parfait style of vegan mango 'cheesecake',
with fresh mango puree and loosely crumbled gingernut biscuits.
I didn't have proper parfait glasses so settled for some regular glasses.

It tasted divine!
Even Aaron enjoyed his and he isn't vegan.

All in all, we had a beautiful Christmas!


It is now Boxing Day afternoon here in Australia.
I steered clear of the stores today
with the Boxing Day Sales on.
Businesses were expecting huge crowds.

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas!

Enjoy the holiday season and stay safe.

Love, light, and peace to all.

Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas to all!

Wishing all my wonderful readers 
a very Merry Christmas, 
Happy Holidays, 
Happy Hanukkah,
or whatever you celebrate 
at this time of year. 
Stay safe through the holiday season!

Love, Light, and Peace

Wednesday 23 December 2015

a day trip to the mountain and a birthday

A few weeks ago, 
Beau, Aaron, and I went on a day trip 
to Mount Tamborine. 
Beau had heard there was a 
Local Artisan Fayre 
and wanted to go along for some inspiration. 
We did connect with one lovely artist,
Sharon McLeod,
a Bohemian faery artist. 
I bought a set of Sharon's Animal Tarot cards

as well as some of her gift cards. 
I liked her style.

Afterwards, we had veggie burgers 
and hot chips at a local eatery. 
SO yummy!

Then we decided to take a walk 
through the rainforest.

Aaron (youngest son) was such a sweetie,
he kept looking back to see if I was okay.

A downed tree still clutching a big boulder in its roots.

This is a male Australian Scrub/Brush Turkey
I was SO close to him but all he was focused on
was building his mound (the slope behind him).
The males build huge mounds of leaf litter and debris
to attract a female scrub turkey.
The female will then dig a hole in her chosen mound,
lay the eggs,
and the male will cover it over
and maintain the mound until the chicks hatch.
The mound also acts as a safe haven for the chicks as they grow.

We walked to Curtis Falls

Aaron and Beau

The rainforest has LOTS of tall trees
which act as a canopy and protection
keeping the temperature within the rainforest
much lower than outside.
Perfect for a hot day!

the tree below made me think of Celtic knots

and this tree had formed a ring with its above ground root system

a perfect place to nestle in for the night

here I am
sitting on the edge


Today, December 23rd, is Aaron's 17th birthday!


You make me very proud to be your Mum.
Love you heaps, my son. xoxo

Sunday 20 December 2015

The activist in me...and a sketch.

There was a protest rally
in Brisbane, on October 17th,
calling on our government to
ban the live export of animals.
Live Export is an unnecessary, barbaric, and evil trade
that is literally a hell on earth for animals.
Those beautiful, innocent beings suffer tremendously
and we need to speak out against such atrocities.

Profit should NEVER come above the well-being of the innocent.

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

Moleskine A5 watercolour sketchbook 
Platinum carbon fountain pen 
LAMY Joy fountain pen 
Derwent watercolour pencils

This was my first ever protest rally
and I was determined to go
despite being a little nervous.
I made up my poster the day before.

I headed off early Saturday morning by bus
with plans to sketch before the rally
but that never happened.
Time just got away from me.

For lunch, I enjoyed a delicious vegan all-you-can-eat 'Feast' meal
at Govinda's, a vegetarian restaurant, in Elizabeth Street.
It was my first time there and the food was divine!
Their vegan chocolate mousse was the best I've ever tasted.
I met a few other vegans whilst eating lunch there
and one has been a patron of Govinda's for 25 years.
I'm not surprised.

I intend to take Bradley there when
we are in the city next.

It was a blistering hot day
but hundreds of protesters still showed up.
 I found myself sitting beside
a few more vegans which felt great!
We chatted, shared info, and discussed future dates
for more animal causes.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress 
can be judged by the way it treats its animals.
--- Ghandi

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures 
from the shelter of compassion and pity, 
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."
~St. Francis of Assisi

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, 
man will not himself find peace.
--- Albert Schweitzer

I made a sketchbook entry about the rally.

The soul is the same in all living creatures 
although the body of each is different.

All in all,
I am so glad I went along to the rally.
It felt right!
It felt good to be a voice for the animals
and I plan to take part in more events
to help animals.

I already have the T-shirt for one coming up in January 2016.

Sunday 22 November 2015

A blog change and some sketches

You have probably noticed the HUGE change 
in my blog's current appearance. 

It was a spur of the moment thing. 
I came across a website that used the
brown toned background
with a pale font and
I found it a pleasant change to 
the dark font on glaring white backgrounds. 
So, I instantly started playing with my blog. 

I chose a font colour that I feel 
is easier on the eyes.
I do think the images stand out better 
and I'm happy with how it is for now. 

It could just be a passing phase 
and I may change it again 
when the novelty wears off. 

Please tell me whether you find it 
easy or difficult to read. 
Your feedback is appreciated. 


I just thought I'd share a few quick sketches 
that I fitted in here and there 
over the past few months.

I registered with Sktchy after installing their app on my ipad.
It's a place where artists can put up photographic images, mostly portraits, 
and other artists are free to use them to sketch/paint.

The Sktchy app is only available for Apple IOS products.

If you're on Sktchy,
my profile name is - Serena Lewis

This is a sketch of Ashley Goeltz,
a Sktchy member/artist.

I used a Platinum Carbon pen, a Lamy Joy,
and a Pentel pocket brush pen
in an A5 Moleskine sketchbook.

And a couple of quick sketches.
I'm trying to grab moments where I can
even if it's just for simple sketches.

This year has been so hectic
and it doesn't seem to have slowed down much at all.

I have three Christmas ornaments to paint this year
as it will be little Mackenzie's first Christmas.
She is growing so fast already and very alert!

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday 16 November 2015

To the Strawberry Farm we go and a sketch

At the end of October, 
Michelle thought it would be nice 
to visit the local strawberry farm 
being that it was a week before 
they would be closing for the summer. 
Strawberries would not like 
our hot, humid summers at all. 

So, off we went....

It was an overcast day 
with possible rain forecast 
however it stayed clear just for us. 

Maddy and Mikayla (on right) love picking strawberries!

Michelle with Mackenzie snuggled nice and cosy

I helped Maddy mostly 
but also collected my own punnet of strawberries

The girls enjoyed some fresh strawberry ice-cream afterwards

I've never been a huge fan of strawberries 
but, I discovered that strawberries 
direct from the farm 
are sweet, juicy, and delicious! 

I just had to do a strawberry sketch to mark our special day out.

Sketched directly with Platinum Carbon and Lamy fountain pens, 
followed by Prismacolour pencils, in my Moleskine A5 sketchbook. 
© Serena Lewis

Our freshly picked strawberries did not last long and, 
as I decided to sketch the subject a month after the fact, 
so a quick trip to Flickr Creative Commons was in order.

Thanks to HJL at Flickr 
for his lovely reference image found HERE.

This was the final sketch in this particular sketchbook.
It only took me FIVE years to complete it. 
I got sidetracked with other sketchbooks. 


Last week, Bradley and I had our first choir practise 
for our upcoming Christmas performance. 
It was so lovely to see everyone again. 
We have some new members too. 

Stay tuned for more sketch updates....

Thursday 5 November 2015

100 days of 'I Love That' - Part 2

Photography is a great way to express one's creativity. 
When I can't sketch for one reason or another, 
I'm often using my phone camera or iPad to take photos.
I love pottering with digital images 
and the new WordSwag app is so much fun to play with!

Over the past three years, 
I had gained weight much to my disappointment. 
I blamed the fact that I had introduced dairy back into my diet. 
Big mistake!

Not to mention the very real fact that
there is a massive amount of cruelty 
in the dairy and meat industries and, 
after seeing some horrific footage on Facebook, 
I realised that I needed to be vegan again. 
It's always been about the animals for me. 
It's an ethical choice but the added benefit is 
that I have been losing all that excess fat 
so it's a win for the animals and a win for me.

I haven't eaten meat for nine years. 
Occasionally, I would eat a bit of seafood 
but had cut that out too over the past year. 
It was just the dairy that needed to be ditched. 

I now feel fantastic! 

I had tried the vegan lifestyle once before and 
felt healthier than I had ever been, 
however, my family stressed  and complained
about what to feed me when I visited, 
so I eventually caved and allowed
seafood and dairy back into my diet. 
I regretted that move as
I felt guilty any time I consumed it,
on top of my upset at the noticeable weight gain.

I KNOW that we can live happy and healthy lives 
without harming others and I will NEVER go back.

We bought a treadmill a few months ago as Bradley (my son) 
and I wanted to get fit from an aerobics aspect. 
Walking is great for Bradley because his weight just drops off. 
Unfortunately, it's never worked that way for me  
but it has helped my stamina and endurance.

I LOVE the treadmill!
At this point in time, 
I'm lucky if I use the treadmill twice a week
but when I do manage a session
I feel great afterwards.

I love nature! 

I loved that we had a lot of bushland areas very close to where we live 
but recently, a lot of it has been cleared away to make way for housing developments. 
It truly breaks my heart because kangaroos, possums, and other wildlife 
lived in those bushland tracts and I worry over what will eventually become of them. 
We used to have bushland right behind us until that was cleared too. 
We had two majestic trees just behind our back fence and they were cut down. 
I cried the day that happened and I also did a sketchbook entry 
and a blog post expressing my sadness. 
You can read that post HERE.
I think I need to go for some long, country drives
or visit a rainforest. 
I love sketching in nature too,
so relaxing.

You would have seen this image a couple of posts back 
but it was part of the daily challenge so 
here it is again....
Previous post HERE.
I am a very proud Grandma indeed! 
I can't get enough of these little munchkins!

And last but not least...
If you have been following my blog for some time, 
you will know how much I love the colour combo of -

Blues, greens, and purples!

My home is very much a reflection of that. 
Not a great photo but you get the gist....

And that is as far as I got with the challenge, 
 however, I do plan to make another attempt in 2016. 

Love, Light and Peace

Monday 2 November 2015

100 days of 'I love that' - Part 1

During September, I participated in a Facebook challenge 
where we posted something daily 
that we loved.
Sadly, it didn't last long.
I just picked the wrong time to take it on 
with my life being very, very hectic 
for one reason or another
and I had particularly wanted to do it in photo format
to make it more visually pleasing.
I do hope to give it another try in 2016. 

I thought I'd share some of the images
from the challenge here. 
I'll spread them over a couple of days.

I discovered hommus when I went vegan a few years back 
but only discovered the Obela Spicy Harissa type in recent months. 


Luckily, some bakeries make their Vienna bread without milk solids. 

I absolutely adore spending time with my Granddaughters. 
We have so much fun together and
I'm thrilled to see how much they love to sketch and paint.

I love this particular variety of Agave plant!
I think it has a stunning, architectural appearance. 

Yes, I love my sketchbooks! 
I use them very much like a journal.

And last one for today....

One of my favourite breakfasts. 
Vegan and yummy!

Stay tuned for another lot soon....