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.